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Unformatted text preview: Properties of Language • What is Language? o Communication by means of sound or patterned movement • What is human Language? o A conventional system of signs that allows for the creative communication of meaning o Conventional = no direct link between words and meaning ARBITRARY o System = it is rule governed o Creative Communication = you can make up a sentence never said before • When did human language start? o Biblically- Adam and Eve o Hindu – Sarasvati o UNKNOWN • The Bow Wow Theory o Language began by imitating natural sounds o Onomatopoeia – bang/boom/buzz o Human Physiology Teeth- upright and even / used to make f, z Lips – muscle structure – used to make vowels p,b Mouth – can open and close rapidly and make shapes Tongue – flexible / makes 90% of sounds in English Larynx – vocal chords / where the sounds comes from Pharynx – where the sound resonates so you can project Brain – lateralized (split in 2 hemispheres), language is on both sides / motor control on one and sounds and words on the other • Genetic Source (where we think language may or may not come from) o Innateness Hypothesis – because the larynx drops creating the pharynx, people believe that humans are born to talk • Interactional vs. Transactional o Interactional – 90% of language used (looks, gestures, talking, feeling, jokes…) o Transactiona l – used to convey information • Writing o Pictograms – where symbol represents object or concept take pill orally o Ideograms – where symbol represents concept or idea danger of fire its hot o Logograms – where symbols represent words or morphemes(smallest part of language that has meaning) i.e. Chinese, Japanese, Egyptian o Rebus writing –pictures represent words or parts of words o Alphabetic writing – symbols that represent sounds • Why aren’t English words spelled how they sound? o English is a combination of many languages o English decided to write language down and French hired dutch to write stuff down and they didn’t care o England was invaded so many times o Alcohol – Arabic canoe – tribe of Indians • Communicative vs. Informative o Communicative – intentional (i.e. wink or wave) o Informative – non intentional (i.e. cough, yawn)\ • Properties of Language o Reciprocity – speaker is also the listener of the conversation o Specialization – the sounds that we make are for no other purpose except to communicate o Non Directionality – the sounds we make can be picked up by anyone that can hear o Rapid Fade – sounds go away fast • Properties unique to human language o Displacement – can talk in all tenses (past/future) o Arbitrariness – the words we use have no inherent meaning, we’ve assigned meaning o Productivity – can create a sentence never spoken before o Cultural Transmission – you learn your language based on culture o Discreteness – the sounds of language are meaningfully distinct o Duality – we have layers upon layers of stuff we do to create language...
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2008 for the course COMD 2050 taught by Professor Collins during the Spring '08 term at LSU.
- Spring '08