lang&linguistics

lang&linguistics - Language and Language and...

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Unformatted text preview: Language and Language and Communication Chapter 7 How did Language Begin? How did Language Begin? As a system of gesture and rudimentary syntax? s Bow­wow theory: imitating sounds of the environment s Pooh­pooh theory: instinctive sounds cause by pain, anger, and emotions s La­la theory: language initiated from love, play, poetic feeling, & song s In 1866 the Linguistic Society of In 1866 the Linguistic Society of Paris banned discussion of language origins at their meetings... Human Language Human Language – Only humans have the linguistic capacity to discuss the past, future, and present – Use of abstract and complex symbols – Includes verbal and non­verbal communication – Enables “advanced” adaptation (?) Semantics ­ refers to a language’s meaning system: rules for combining words to produce meaning s Ethnolinguistics­ field analyzing relation language + culture s Words ­> Things Words ­> Things s In this view words simply refer to things – London (Proper name) s BUT, Most words cannot be CLEARLY related to things, e.g., – popular (adjectives) – culture (noun) Words­>Concepts­>Things Words­>Concepts­>Things view denies a direct link between words & things: the relation can only be made in mind s For every word there is an associated concept s Criticism: difficulty identifying ‘concepts’ s – e.g., concept behind ‘tradition’ ? – Is this easier to define than the thing of tradition? Prescriptivism Prescriptivism s one variety of language has higher value than others, and this should be imposed on the whole of the speech community – grammar, vocab., pronunciation – creation of a ‘standard’; – standard speech or writing ‘correctly’ Descriptivism Descriptivism s s s Concerned with facts of language task of grammarians to describe not prescribe To record diversity, not evaluate variation or halt change Detailed descriptions may be Detailed descriptions may be used to: s s s Generalize about the structure and function of human language E.g., structural features that languages have in common = universals Noam Chomsky (1950’s) Universals: Universals: s 1) Substantive ­ all languages have categories needed to analyze a language (noun, question, antonym, vowel) – all languages have nouns and vowels – not all languages have prepositions and future tense: for e.g.??? s 2) Formal ­ set of abstract conditions governing the way a language analysis can be made – grammer s 3) Implicational ­ ‘If x, then y’ Language Change... Language Change... s Is inevitable (due to social change) s Never “progress” s Ebbs and flows The Equality of Languages The Equality of Languages The Linguistic Myth: The Linguistic Myth: s s Some languages are intrinsically superior to others THIS HAS NO BASIS IN LINGUISTIC FACT Functions of Language: Functions of Language: Emotional expression s Social interaction s Control of reality (prayers, ritual) s Recording the facts s An instrument of thought s Expression of identity s How has the link between thought How has the link between thought and language been explained? s Sapir­Whorf Hypothesis: – language structures the world in particular ways – different languages = different social realities Strong: language shapes thought s Weak: language presents range of options for interpreting experience s Because a language lacks a Because a language lacks a word does not mean the speaker cannot comprehend the concept: s s Several languages have few words for numerals, but­ Many languages have words that do not have English translations Nuer boy with cows... Nuer (Pastoralists) Evans Pritchard (1940) cows: - over 400 words! - “Interest in Cows” Dictionary and Word Invention Dictionary and Word Invention s s Early dictionaries listed only ‘hard’ words, why list words people used all the time = words never used outside dictionary! Dord ­ density – 1930’s ; phrase ‘d or D’ ­ abbreviation for density Place Names Place Names May give info about societies history, beliefs, values s Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotama tea(turipukakapikimaungahoronuku)pok aiwhenuakitanatahu s – the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knee who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as Land­eater, played on his flute to his loved one Language Medium: Language Medium: s s Speaking and listening No community of people is without spoken language, but only a minority have been written down – non­literate vs. illiterate Speaking w/o Lungs Speaking w/o Lungs s s English uses vowels and consonants, created by pulmonic egressive air (air stream from the lungs) Languages that do not use this: – Clicks (Khoisan and San) – Glottal stops (Austronesia, Ijo, Shona) Air ­> Vibration via Larynx Air ­> Vibration via Larynx Vocal fold: changes in tension, height, width, length, thickness/ muscular movement during speech History of Writing History of Writing s s Precursors: Earliest examples from Middle East and South­East Europe (3500 BC) – written symbols on clay tablets – e.g., Sumerians (Iraq and Iran area) s Non­Phonological systems – no clear relation between symbols and sounds Susa Susa 3000 BC Ideograms Ideograms A later development of pictographs With an abstract or conventional meaning, no longer linked with a picture of external reality (e.g., Hieroglyphics) Logographic Logographic writing * graphemes represent words (may represent parts of words; Chinese writing derives from ideographic script, and characters may be linguistic unitsconcepts) Phonological Phonological Systems s Syllabic writing – grapheme = spoken syllable – e.g., Greek, Cherokee, Japanese kana Alphabetic writing Alphabetic writing Direct correspondence between graphemes and phonemes s Very economic and adaptable s E.g., English, Khmer, Arabic s Number of Languages: 6604 Number of Languages: 6604 (includes extinct languages) Language families of the world Language Family ­ Language Family ­ Languages with clear linguistic evidence of relation s Family tree: parent (“proto­language”) and offspring, branches may be “sub­ families” s E.g., Romance languages: Latin is parent language with French and Spanish daughter languages s Who were the Indo­ Who were the Indo­ Europeans? Language vs. Culture s 3000 BC Europe and Southern Asia s Ancestors: Nomadic population on steeps of Russia 4000 BC, spread 3500 BC s Kurgan culture (burial mounds) s clues to origins and lifestyle from words s Indigenous South American Indian Languages: -11 million people today speak them - 2000 languages in former times (but only 400500 today) In Africa: - generally no clear correlation between lang groups and racial or cultural groups - Forest dwelling h-g in central Africa use many languages of neighbors - Khoisan are a homogenous linguistic and racial group Language Change Language Change Language is always in a state of flux s Sound changes s – pronunciation – vocabulary Also: Loss- sound disappears from a language... Lexostatistical Lexostatistical Glottochronology 1940’s s Determines the rate at which a language changes over time s – = when did related languages diverge? Pidgin and Creole Pidgin and Creole s System of communication from group of people who do not speak the same language, but learn to communicate Avoid the Stereotype Avoid the Stereotype Pidgins and Creoles are not languages that have broken down s They are creative adaptations of other languages s With rules and structures of their own s Evidence of language change s Generally short lived s From Theroux (2001) Hotel Honolulu ...
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