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Unformatted text preview: Study of Language
Study of Language
COMD 2050 Chapter 1: Origins of Language
Chapter 1: Origins of Language
Speculative theories regarding human language Divine source Naturalsound source Oralgesture source Divine Source
Divine Source A divine source provides humans with language
“Divinesource” experiments Problems: experiments do not hold. Children who are not exposed to language do not use language NaturalSound Source
NaturalSound Source Idea that primitive words were imitations of natural sounds (bird or animal sounds).
Onomatopoeia: words whose pronunciations echo naturally occurring sounds (bang, buzz, hiss). Problems: onomatopoeic words are rare, can’t explain soundless, abstract concepts NaturalSound Source
NaturalSound Source Another version is the “yoheaveho” theory: first words were grunts and groans made during coordinated physical labor. Suggests that human language was developed in some kind of social context.
Problem: apes and other primates have grunts and calls, but they have not developed speech – the need to coordinate work effort OralGesture Source
OralGesture Source Humans first communicated using physical gestures – then developed into a set of oral gestures involving the mouth. Tongue movement would convey the same message as a hand gesture.
First words were just the acoustic consequences of these oral gestures. However, we don’t talk with our mouths open.
Problems: unable to explain how we developed words for abstract concepts, and hard to understand how messages involving abstract concepts could be communicated with pointing and then copied by gestures with your mouth and other articulators. Glossogenetics
Glossogenetics More modern approach – examines biological basis of the formation and development of language.
Describes physical characteristics that make language and efficient form of communication for humans. How rather than why
May have lead to the development of tool use, which may have stimulated language. Glossogenetics
Some of the relevant features for speech production are: Upright teeth Muscular structure of lips Small mouth Tongue Larynx & Pharynx Lateralized brain Interactions and Transactions
Interactions and Transactions Two factors that probably drove the development of language are the transactional function and the interactional function. Transactional function the communication of information and skills. Interactional function the use of language for social and emotional interaction. Chapter 2: Development of Writing
Chapter 2: Development of Writing
Humans must have wanted a more permanent record of what they were thinking and saying. Writing based on some type of alphabet only dates back about 3,000 years ago. Cave drawings were made at least 20,000 years ago. Pictograms Ideograms Logograms Rebus writing Syllabic writing Alphabetic writing Written English Pictograms
Pictograms Pictograms = Picture writing Pictures that represent certain images in a consistent way.
A conventional relationship must exist between the symbol and its interpretation. Often used as international symbols Pictograms
Pictograms Any clue what this pictogram is of? Ideograms
Ideograms Ideogram = Idea writing
Pictures that take on a more fixed symbolic form and each form has multiple interpretations (heat, daytime, sun).
Logograms Logograms= Word writing
Written symbols that bear no visual shape form relation to the object it symbolizes Arbitrary relationship
Represent the meaning of the word, not its sounds.
Oriental written languages Rebus Writing
Rebus Writing Rebus writing = phonographic writing
Symbol for one object is taken over as the symbol for the sound of the spoken word used to refer to that object. That symbol is then used whenever that sound occurs in any word.
Advantage: Fewer symbols to remember Syllabic Writing
Syllabic Writing Syllabic writing = Phonographic writing
Symbols represent the pronunciation of syllables.
Symbol that is used for pronunciation of parts of a word represents a combination (ba) of a consonant (b) and vowel (a) = syllable.
No purely syllabic writing systems are still used – modern Japanese has a partially syllabic writing system or a syllabary. Alphabetic Writing
Alphabetic Writing Alphabet – a set of written symbols in which each symbol represents one type of sound.
Greek alphabet Written English
Written English Many causes or sources of discrepancies/mismatches with writtenletter to speechsound correspondence (original printing, matching to Latin origins).
Spelling was largely fixed during the 15th century with the beginnings of printing.
Many early printers were Dutch who could not make accurate decisions about English pronunciations.
Since the 15th century there have been many changes in spoken English language. ...
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- Fall '08