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Do you remember? The Properties of Language. grammar. What is Language ( big-l )? What is a language ( little-l )?

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The Properties of Language Lecture #2 Do you remember? What is Language ( big-l )? What is a language ( little-l )? grammar { The systematic rules and patterns that govern linguistic behavior The body
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The Properties of Language Lecture #2 Do you remember? What is Language ( big-l )? What is a language ( little-l )? grammar { The systematic rules and patterns that govern linguistic behavior The body of knowledge that allows one to produce a particular language 2 1 Grammar A Body of Linguistic Knowledge How to: Combine sounds Create words Build sentences Construct texts Participate in conversations Language is so built into the way people live that it has become an axiom of being human. --Bolton 3 Stepping Back: Looking at Communication 4 2 Core Properties of all Communication Form (various modalities) Meaning } sign Function (purpose) 5 Analyze this Non-Linguistic Sign 6 3 How About This Sign? 7 Three Types of Signs Iconic Signifier (form) resembles signified (meaning) Indexical Signifier gives directional information Arbitrary No inherent relationship between form and meaning Q: If words are signs and they are what kind of sign are they? 8 4 Arbitrariness the connection between the signifier (form) and the signified (meaning) is arbitrary these arbitrary relationships are agreed upon by speakers, i.e. a matter of convention (consensus) even interjections and onomatopoetic signs are arbitrary ouaoua ~ bow-wow ~ mŏng-mŏng ~ wan-wan aïe! ~ ouch! ~ aigo! ~ aiya! signified moon signifier 9 달 Arbitrariness kuu moon mahina 月 lua lune 10 5 book shu cabbage shu shoe shu Arbitrariness daikon muu silent muu moo muu additional muu 11 Design Features of Human Language Arbitrariness Discreteness Duality Productivity Displacement Cultural Transmission Interchangeability 12 6 Discreteness What is discrete vs. continuous? Discrete entities have clear boundaries; they re units; categorical. Continuous entities don t have clear boundaries. Language is DISCRETE Language is made up structured units if you have knowledge of the system! Otherwise, utterances can sound like continuous streams of sound, without discernible units. 13 Duality Linguistic units have a dual nature: 1. They are observable physical events noise or image 2. They are more than simple physical events They are produced in order to communicate meaning 14 7 Productivity (a.k.a. Creativity ) How many utterances are there in a language? Humans are capable of unlimited expression. We routinely create and comprehend novel utterances. Rule Governed Creativity An infinite number of utterances can be created by a limited number of rules / patterns. 15 The Last Three Design Features Displacement We can communicate beyond the here and now We are not stimulus bound Cultural Transmission Grammars are transmitted from one generation to the next Acquiring a language requires involvement in a culture COMPARE Genetic Transmission of big-l Language Each human is born with Language; it s a biological instinct. Interchangeability All members of the community are physically capable of transmitting and receiving messages 16 8 Assessing the Design Features Arbitrariness Discreteness Duality Productivity Displacement Cultural Transmission Interchangeability 17 Focus on Sentences Consider the following finite lexicon: hugged saw laughed dog cat the a cute big baby we *The we laughed a cute. *A a a baby cat dog the the. *Cat the hugged baby the. Create two different sentences using only these words 18 9 Which of the Following Strings are Grammatical? a. I shall speak to her tomorrow b. * I shall her tomorrow speak. Ik zal haar morgen spreken. Dutch * c. Tomorrow her to speaking do shall. Naeil ke-ege mal-ha-gessumnida. Korean * d. Speak shall I with her tomorrow. Falar-ei com ela amanhã. Portuguese 19 What do we Mean by Grammatical? Prescriptive Grammar (Prescriptively Grammatical) The set of rules (or patterns) that are deemed to be the correct or proper way to use a language Set by members of the community that possess the power to enforce the rules: teachers, editors Descriptive Grammar (Descriptively Grammatical) The set of rules (or patterns) that characterize observed language behavior Determined by observing language users and extracting relevant generalizations 20 10 Determine the Grammaticality of Prescriptively Grammatical Descriptively Grammatical A The student said that our dog saw a cat. Yes Yes B What are you talking about? No Yes C The want to boldly go where nobody has gone before. No Yes D The brave little toaster jumped into the lake to save the drowning duck. Yes Yes E I shall her tomorrow speak. No No 21 Grammaticality vs. Semantically Odd * Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that each men created equal. The industrious bunnies baked a delicious cake for Mimi s birthday.! The red roses are yellow Relationship between Prescription and Description Universe of all word combinations in language X Combinations that speakers actually produce Combinations that are officially sanctioned by the authorities Descriptively grammatical but prescriptively ungrammatical Descriptively ungrammatical but prescriptively grammatical 23 Judging what is Good in Language According to Algeo, Good Language: Communicates something successfully Meets literary standards Is scholarly makes the language police happy Is logical Who gets to judge what is good? 24 12 Comparing Languages: Who s is Better? Do you have the right to say that somebody else s language is too hard or backwards or illogical or ugly? Yes! From a linguistic perspective, what makes language X better than language Y? Nothing! As Bolton says, Language is very fertile ground for ethnocentricity. Who gets to judge what is good? 25 13
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