ANT 253 CHAPTER 1 SUMMARY - ANT 253 Study Notes Chapter 1...

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ANT 253 Study Notes Chapter 1 What is Language? The ancient Greek philosophers defined language as part of logos The faculty of the brain that has transformed the human being from an insentient brute into a rational, sentient creature Language is viewed by people as both a tool for gaining and preserving knowledge and as a source of misunderstanding and conflict Defining Language The origin of language comes from the Latin word Lingua, which means tongue Language can be defined as the use of the tongue to create meaning- bearing sings A system of signs constructed with the tongue All languages have five basic things in common 1. A system of distinctive sounds 2. Units known as words 3. Grammatical structure 4. Strategies for using language in various personal and social ways 5. Resources for making new words and new meanings Most languages use 20-60 vocal sounds Words are units of sounds that have meaning, standing for objects, actions, or ideas Grammatical structure is the manner in which words are related to each other to form larger units of meaning such as sentences Strategies for using language for various purposes like communication and representation, results from traditions that are deemed important by a speech community Language provides the means through which people can adapt creatively to new situations and experiences Language And Speech Difference between and language and speech Language is a mental sign system, consisting of certain specific types of signs and of the structural principles for asking, understanding and using them Speech is the use of language to form and transmit messages can be vocal and non- vocal Lowered position of the larynx permits vocal speech by producing a chamber above the vocal folds that can modify sound. Starts to happen on the third month of life Two views of the language system One is that the universal grammar is innate, which is part and parcel of out biological endowment
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The other is the empiricist one where language is a constructed system relying on other capacities of the mind, that children construct language on the basis of the speech patterns to which that are exposed and which they assimilate through imitation The Poverty of Stimulus argument is based on a logical inference about the way humans learn Learning To Speak For anthropological linguistics (AL) both dimensions of language and speech are seen as essential and dynamically intertwined Chomsky put forwards the UG universal where all language grammars are built but also to explain why children learn to speak so naturally Also LAD the language acquisition device, which is present in the brain that makes the rule making principle of the UG available to all children Differences in language grammars are thus explainable as choices of rule types or “ parameters” Several problems with the UG theory 1.
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