Chapter 2: Linguistic Principles
All languages possess a grammar which is characterized by a
duality of patterning
and also possesses specific rules
for determining the
of words and the
Sentences in any language have both a
which can be
accounted for by a grammar which specifies how linguistic constituents can be
Do linguistic principles, transformational grammar, etc. have “psychological
Is our grammatical knowledge better described in structural or lexical terms?
Is (implicit) linguistic knowledge innate?
How Languages Are Different:
Word-order (English-SVO, Japanese-SOV, Russian,
Latin, Turkish etc. much more flexible), degree of affix use (suffix/prefix/infix/circumfix),
inclusion of tense, gender, intentionality etc.
How Languages Are Alike (central concepts):
duality of patterning,
morphology, phrase structure, linguistic productivity.
These concepts are central to any
grammatical (grammar-based) description of language
1. Duality of patterning:
the idea that human language is unique from other
communication forms b/c it is composed of a large number of meaningful/semantic
units: words, composed of a small number of meaningless/asemantic units: speech
sounds/phonemes in spoken language, sign parameters in American Sign Language
The system of rules that governs how different semantic components
can be combined into words. Certain components can stand alone while others must
be affixed. Bound (affixed) morphemes can convey many types of meaning, depending
on the language: tense, aspect, gender, etc. In sign language, variations in sign motion
convey the difference between first/second person, number, aspect, reciprocity, etc.