; LINGUISTICS 200_ Introduction to Linguistic Thought
Documents
Resources
Learning Center
Upload
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out
Your Federal Quarterly Tax Payments are due April 15th Get Help Now >>

LINGUISTICS 200_ Introduction to Linguistic Thought

VIEWS: 38 PAGES: 22

  • pg 1
									Key Attributes of Human
Language
This PP presentation uses several graphics and
examples from similar material created by Dr. Alicia
Wassink, University of Washington, for her introductory
linguistics course. I have edited and adapted it for
English 301. (August 2007)
              Points of Focus
   Seeing language as a set of rules
   Distinguishing linguistic competence vs.
    linguistic performance
   Naming attributes of
    language
   Separating animal
    communication from
    human language
   Identifying fields of linguistic
    study
        Linguistic competence
   What we know when we “know” a
    language.
   This knowledge is largely unconscious.
How do we study linguistic
     competence?


                By observing a
              speaker’s linguistic
                 performance.
          How Grammar Works
   Prescriptive grammar
       Prescribes rules governing what people
        should/shouldn’t say
   Descriptive grammar
       Describes the rules that govern what people
        do or can say (their “mental grammar”)
Prescriptive Rules
       “Don’t end a sentence with a
          preposition!”
       “Don’t split infinitives!”
       “Don’t use double negatives!”
       Descriptive Rules

In English sentences, words follow
         a predictable order.
      The boat sailed away.
      *Sailed boat away the.
         Summing up this point
   Descriptive rules are linguists’ attempt to
    represent your mental grammar. They
    are
        natural
        followed intuitively
        need not be taught
   Prescriptive rules are
        not natural
        must be learned by rote (in school)
    Naming Language Features
   Goal: Characterize language, distinguish
    it from other communication systems
   Caveat: If a system lacks even one
    feature, it is communication, not language
Language Attributes
     Discreteness
     Arbitrariness
     Cultural transmission
     Displacement
     Productivity (AKA Creativity)
                  Discreteness
   Larger, complex messages can be broken
    down into smaller, discrete parts

                                    [tap]
                            p
    e.g., [pat]
                        a       t
                                    [apt]
               Arbitrariness
   There is no (necessary) connection
    between the form of signal and its
    meaning
    e.g., whale is a small word for big animal,
        microorganism is just the reverse
          Cultural transmission
   At least some aspect of communication
    system is learned from other users

    e.g., child of Italian-speaking parents will
        first speak Italian
               Displacement
   Ability to talk about things not present in
    space or time

    e.g., “The Dutch bought
    Manhattan from the
    Native Americans
    for $24.”
                 Productivity
   Speakers can create an infinite number of
    novel utterances that others can
    understand                           Elvis
                                          lives!!

    e.g., “Little purple gnomes
                                         /
    living in my sock drawer
    said, ‘Elvis lives’.”
        Animal Communication




   Does not include displacement, arbitrariness or
    most of the other features of HUMAN language.
         Aspects of Language
   Human language consists of several
    levels or dimensions of knowledge
   These dimensions are used by linguists to
    separate language into separate areas of
    study
            Core Subfields
   Phonetics
   Phonology
   Morphology
   Syntax
   Semantics
   Pragmatics
      Phonetics and Phonology
   Phonetics: the study of individual units of
    sound
      e.g., “ee” is a single sound in “seek”
   Phonology: the study of how speech
    sounds pattern and how they are
    organized (i.e., the sound system)
      e.g., art, *rta (where ‘*’ = ungrammatical)
               Morphology
   Morphology: The study of the origin and
    structure of words.

    e.g., algebra is “borrowed” from Arabic
    e.g., unrealistic  un-real-ist-ic
                   Syntax
   Syntax: the study of the structure of
    sentences

    e.g., Fido brought in
          the paper.
            BUT NOT
         *Fido in paper
          brought the.
     Semantics and Pragmatics
   Semantics: the study of meaning in
    language.

   Pragmatics: the study of how linguistic
    meaning depends on context.

								
To top