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Unformatted text preview: What is Language?
Lecture 1 What is Language?
• A language is a dynamic set of visual, auditory, or tactile symbols of communication and the elements used to manipulate them. (http://www.wikipedia.org/). The words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community. (http://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/language) A systematic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, sounds, gestures, or marks having understood meanings (http://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/language) Communication – a social event. We have a great deal of knowledge about language. • • • • Speech Communication Chain 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) Formulation of message Pick out word that express the idea (Semantic) Put word together in a certain order (Syntax, Morphology) Figure out hot to pronounce these words (Phonology) Send those pronunciations to you vocal articulators (Articulatory Phonetic) Send the sound thru the air Perceive/hear the sounds Decode: listener interprets sound as language Connect: Listener received communicated idea Sign Communication Chain 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) Formulation of message Pick out word that express the idea (Semantic) Put word together in a certain order (Syntax, Morphology) Figure out hot to pronounce these words (Phonology) Send those pronunciations to you vocal articulators (Articulatory Phonetic) Send the sound thru the air Perceive/hear the sounds Decode: listener interprets sound as language Connect: Listener received communicated idea Knowledge of Language
– Underlying knowledge of language – What we know
• “hidden”, “tacit” • Performance
– The way you produce and comprehend language. – How we use this knowledge – A demonstration of your knowledge
• Many systems like this:
– Walking – Performance errors Knowledge of Language
• • Linguists seek t uncover this hidden knowledge. Phonology
pterodactyl, Ptolemy *pteng, ptoop but captive (don’t confuse written form with sound form !) • Morphology
• Ben Bernanke -Chairman of the Federal Reserve System., • Hank Paulson -U.S. Treasure Secretary • Bernankied • UnBernankied Words
• Form and Meaning
– Relationship between speech-sound and meaning they represent.
• Largely arbitrary • • • • Hand Mano Main Nsa English Spanish French Twi Arbitrary Relations of Form and Meaning
• Example of non-arbitrary relations • “onomatopoeia” • Example of Iconicity and Arbitrariness in Signed Languages Knowledge of Language
• Syntax -Knowledge of how words combine to form phrases and sentences
I will pick the package up at eight o’clock At eight o’clock I will pick up the package Package up pick at o'clock will the right I I will picks the package up at eight o’clock Side Bar: Yoda Speech
• Yoda speaks "Galactic Basic". A typical example of this pattern is from Return of the Jedi: • "When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not.“
– The government is in a lot of trouble – In much trouble, the government is.
http://www.yodaspeak.co.uk/ Knowledge of Language
• Syntax cont. I have a cup of pebbles I have a cup of pebble I have a cup of gravels I have a cup of gravel Knowledge of Language
– Cat, green – Sofa, couch – Bush • Pragmatics
Can you pass the salt ? Where is this knowledge ?
• Mind of the speaker • Internalized knowledge:
Two parts: – Lexicon – Mental Grammar Lexicon
Lexicon-, • Collection of all the words you know, what functions they serve, what they refer to, how they are pronounced and how they are related to other words. • “Mental dictionary” Mental Grammar
• Rules you know about your language • Grammar is a language system. • The set of all linguistic elements and rules about (phonetic, Phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics) that make up a language. • A rule is a statement of some pattern that occurs in language. Important Side Note on Grammar
• Mental Grammar • Descriptive Grammar • Prescriptive Grammar Descriptive Grammar
• Yoda places verbs (V) at the end of a clause, and inverts the object (O) and subject (S). • Compare: • English : The boy went to sleep. Word Order S, V, O • Galactic Basic: To sleep the boy went. O, S, V Descriptive Grammar
• Value-free descriptions of what happens in a language. • Can be expressed as “rules”
– Some English speakers end a sentence with a preposition. – Some English speakers use double negatives for negation. – The goal is to describe the a speakers competence – Uncover the lawfulness of the mental grammar. Prescriptive Grammar
• Statements about language rules that should be followed • “Don’t use double negatives” • Don’t use the words “ain’t, ya’ll” • Don’t split an infinitive
– To boldly go where no one has gone before – To go boldly go where no one has gone before English Prescriptive Grammar Rules
• 1762 Bishop Lowth
– Prestige dialect
• A Short Introduction to English Grammar with Critical Notes: * I don’t have none * Bill is fatter than me. • John Dryden (1631 – 1700)
• Never end a sentence with a preposition • Never split an infinitive Prescriptive Grammar Teaching Grammar
• A description of rules used to learn another language or dialect. • Galatic Basic we put the verb (V) at the end of a clause, and invert the object (O) and subject (S). ...
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This note was uploaded on 01/21/2009 for the course LIN 173 taught by Professor Yushikoshi during the Fall '08 term at UC Davis.
- Fall '08