Biology Lecture Slides

Biology Lecture Slides - LING001 1 Who has a more...

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Unformatted text preview: 9/5/2009 LING001 1 Who has a more sophisticated communication system, molluscs or monkeys? • frequency and length of communicative interactions? • role of communication in social life? • number of distinct communicative displays? • information content (entropy) of communicative exchanges? • complexity of psychological states resulting from communication? • ??? 9/5/2009 LING001 2 After 450 million years… Cephelopods: 15-35 distinct displays Non-human primates: 15-35 distinct displays 9/5/2009 LING001 3 Primates are “more evolved” than molluscs • More complex bodies and brains • More complex social structures • More complex and flexible behavior • Longer lived • Better at learning and problem solving • BUT no real change in “vocabulary size” 9/5/2009 LING001 4 Evolution in action? (it‟s not just squid and monkeys...) For most relatively social adult fishes, birds and mammals, the range or repertoire size [of communicative displays] for different species varies from 15 to 35 displays. -Encyclopedia Britannica, “Animal Communication ” 9/5/2009 LING001 5 3 unique things about human language • Big, discrete vocabulary 10,000-100,000 “words”… or more • Recursive compositionality making bigger messages by combining smaller ones, more complex meanings by combining simpler ones • Action to “change others‟ minds” we know others may have different knowledge and beliefs we communicate to inform, persuade, etc. 9/5/2009 LING001 6 Many other “little” things... • Displaced reference • “Doubly digital” vocabulary words are discrete and well individuated words are patterns of digital sound elements (“phonemes”) • Variability in sound system and word meanings constant spontaneous social change -- new dialects adults have trouble adapting -- shibboleths • Singing/chanting stylization of pitch and time in ratios of small integers • Various specific formal properties – e.g. morphological “blocking” 9/5/2009 LING001 7 Language is weird • Quantitatively and qualitatively unique – like elephants‟ trunks • No similar evolutionary trends in other species – other species don‟t “want” to pick up peanuts with their noses • all mammals have flexible noses, some use them as manipulators • no general trend to develop anything like trunks – other species don‟t “want” to exchange very complex messages • (nearly) all mammals make noises, some use them to communicate • no general trend to develop anything like human speech 9/5/2009 LING001 8 Human linguistic progress? • No “primitive” languages – in terms of sound structure – in terms of word structure – in terms of sentence structure (?) • There is variation in linguistic complexity – but no clear correlation with social structure or “cultural stage” – e.g. simpler versus more complex syllable structures • but French & Japanese aren‟t more “primitive” languages than English – maybe civilization leads to more syntax, less morphology?maybe civilization leads to more syntax, less morphology?...
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This note was uploaded on 11/04/2009 for the course MUSIC 021 taught by Professor Gray during the Spring '09 term at UPenn.

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Biology Lecture Slides - LING001 1 Who has a more...

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