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Duality of patterning
- one sound does not equal one meaning
- examples: hawaiian has around 10 phonemes
- /ki/ = 'key'
- /ti/ = 'tea'
- not genetic/biologically transmitted
- learned through exposure
- example: wild boy
- voluntary, not bound to context
- example: can respond to the greeting of "hi" any way you want
- language uses neutral symbols as opposed to iconic ones
- example: many different words in different languages for one thing none of which clearly represent that thing
- ability to refer to events that are non-present (past, future, hypothetical)
- examples: "if i were rich, i'd..."
- "i went to the store yesterday"
- "i'll do that tomorrow"
- open endedness
- infinite utterances
- example: you can say something completely new that has never been said before "straddle dominoes"
- sentences can be infinitely long
- example: "the cat that ate the rat that ate the cheese..."
- language involves a highly organized system for constructing well-formed utterances out of basic constituents
- example: grammar
symbol for sentences that are grammatically incorrect
Who came up with the design features?
What is language?
the words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community
- primitive communication turns to human communication (human communication grew out of primitive communication
- quantitative difference: humans are just at a more complex evolutionary stage, but the systems are primarily the same
- humans retain basic set of animal cries (yelps, screams) which exist alongside language
- qualitative difference: language is a separate thing, but we still have yelps and cries
- alex the parrot
- bees- dance to tell where nectar is
- monkeys- make certain calls for different types of danger
- kanzi- symbolism
What is primitive language?
one spoken by people who don’t live like we do
Why study animal communication?
to increase their intelligence, expand their language, help them learn about us, give us insight into how language learning happens
What is the difference between research in the wild and in captivity?
the control and the different conditions that may be involved in the wild
Why is language not a slot filling system?
- because agreement is a formal relationship between the subject and the verb
- examples: "flying planes is dangerous" vs "flying planes are dangerous"
- a formal structural property of human grammar
- occurs when grammatical information appears on a word that is not a source of that information
- examples: "flying planes" ambiguous. agreement disambiguates the meaning
- apples are good for you
Formal structural properties
- agreement required even when there is no ambiguity
- agreement is a formal structural property of human grammar
- example: planes are expensive vs *planes is expensive
- what a competent native speaker thinks is acceptable
- in linguistics grammar is sentence structure
- identify noun function
- little inflectional marking on noun for function in english
- english has some case: pronouns, prepositions
- nouns and articles are inflected
- example: many different endings for "pat/father" in french to desribe what father is doing
suffixes with transparent grammatical meaning
What word order is english?
subject verb object (SVO)
What are the most popular word orders?
- 44% SOV- english
- 35% SVO- japanese, navajo, korean, turkish
What are post-positions and what type of languages have them?
- the prepositions come after
- SOV languages
How are languages the same?
all languages have rules about sounds/phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics
How do languages differ?
word order, grammatical gender
What is subject verb agreement?
- identify number of the verb and distinguish as singular or plural
- count nouns (a bird- some birds)
- mass nouns (cups of coffee)
- pluralia tantum (pants, glasses- a pair of glasses)
Inverse number marking
- jemez language
- base for expected number
- base + suffix (sh) for unexpected number
- formal number categories like english for no necessary reason
- words with genders must match
- influences the form and structure of other words in the sentence
- spanish- 'o' vs 'a'
Do all languages inflect nouns the same way?
- english- number but not gender
- most other languages- gender
- not all languages inflect for number
What are classes?
ways of identifying number, gender, etc
What's the difference between nouns and verbs?
verbs have tense
What is an affix?
general word for suffix and prefix (something added to a root word)
What information can be held in a verb?
- verb classes with different agreement infections (person/number)
- spanish (hablar, hablo, hablas, habla)
- inherent property
- indicates time of the even in relation to some moment
- action complete vs action continuing (habitual vs punctual)
- rob plays football vs rob is playing football
- african american vernacular english
- she be talking with him = she talks to him (everyday)
- she talkin with him = she's talking to him (right now)
Aspect difference in other languages
- no aspect difference in french or german
- je joue du piano = i play the piano or i am playing the piano
- certainty of utterance
- express necessity, possibility, desirability, obligation
How does English express mood/modality?
- by paraphrase and auxiliaries
- i would do my homework if i had more time
- expresses something other than statement of fact
- french can differ in terms of certainty that such a person exists:
- i seek a person who can(subj) me-help
- i seek a person who can(indic) me-help
Periphrastic future tense
formed by a combination of words rather than by inflection
Synthetic future tense
use of one word and inflection to encode certainty and/or proximity to present
- express the evidence a speaker has for his/her statement
- turkish: past direct (witnessed by speaker) or past indirect (not witnessed by speaker)
- in english: i hear ahmet came
- anything expressed in one language can be expressed in another by alternative means
- no inflection does not equal no meaning
Path and manner
- languages can encode path (where) and manner (how) of motion linguistically, but how this is done caries across languages
- english: i ran to the store
- french: i am gone to the store while running
Meaning and tense
- tense does not always equal time
- narrative present: so i'm like this isn't right and he's like so what?
the study of meaning in language
Feature. Can features overlap?
- one aspect of something
- classes include things with one or more of the same features
- features overlap, but not identical (whale vs minnow)
Stereotype or prototype theory
- some words are better examples of a class than others
- bird: robin is better than penguin
- represent a range
- not pretty does not equal ugly
- not hot does not equal cold
- not present = absent
- not clean = dirty
- must share all features except one
- man vs woman (not man vs girl)
- identity of the speaker (class, ethnicity, etc)
- "so i'm like, mira muchacha, you can't do that"- spanish speaker
- "y'all might could visit me"- southern, uneducated?
- attitude of a speaker
- "oh, that's just great"- sarcasm
Communication Accommodation Theory
convergence, divergence, over-accommodation
- term "subject" does not equal particular semantic role
- sematic roles: agent, experiencer (affected by particular state or action), receiver, patient (thing acted upon), etc
- in order to "know" our language, we have to know not just the meaning of a word but also what kind of semantic roles it requires for subjects/objects
- the meaning of a sentence is not the sum of the meaninf of its words
Motion and manner
- english can say the motion and manner in one verb whereas other languages can't
- english: i rolled the keg into the room
- other languages: i put the keg into the room rolling it
What are different structures that languages have?
word order, amount of information in one word
How do languages divide up the world differently?
- moose vs elk differen in english
- same word is used in german
- french doesn't have a lot of words distinguising apes from monkeys
- anthropological linguist
- ph.d. in physics and sapir was his student
- anthropological linguist
- student of Boas
- anthropological linguist
- realized empty barrels with fumes in them were more dangerous than full ones and that the word 'empty' was influencing the workers ideas that they didn't have to be as careful with the empty barrels
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis/principle of linguistic relativity
- weak: language has a significant impact on how members of a cuture perceive things
- strong: a culture's language permits it to express ideas unique to that culture and impossible to others
culture, through language, affects the way we think
restricted to think only in those categories provided by our grammar
English vs Hopi
- Whorf: Hopi cannot perceive of time as 'countable' therefore they are not concerned with timekeeping (deadlines), cannot perceive time in sequential units
- English: they stayed for ten days
- Hopi: they left after the tenth day
Problems with Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
- how can one generalize entire cultures based on differences in language structure?
- intertranslatability: translating ideas from one language to another, even when the other language has no single word for a concept
Evidence against Sapir-Whorf
- color terminology
- different languages have different basic color terms
- few: greek, african, papua new guinea
- many: english, chinese
Different color terms
- two terms = dark/light
- three terms = black/white/red
- four terms = black/white/red/green or yellow
languages create category boundaries and perceived similarity/dissimilarity between colors that cross such boundaries
- moderately deterministic view: how different languages categorize information in different ways can cause us to pay more attention to certain types of relations than to others
- differences in spatial features (cardinal direction/absolute vs relative)
- grammatical gender
- australia uses only cardinal directions
- "there's an ant on your south leg"
- if perspective changes, reference changes
- "no, MY right, YOUR left"
Why "eskimos have 45 different words for snow" is a myth
- "eskimo" isn't a language
- originates from Boas who meant they have different words to add to snow to describe how it is acting (snow on the ground vs falling snow)
recursively addingn suffixes to make words
- greenlandic eskimo
- infinite number of words (infinite number of sentences that they can say with one word)
- taking single words and adding to them (agglutinating)
Why is Eskimo myth so enduring?
- culture is very different/exotic
- would provide clear link between language and thought (people like this idea)
- sloppiness (people quoting Boas and not doing research)
- failure to verify sources or to question assumptions
principles and parameters: fixed principles that are the same for all languages, optional paramteres that are "set" by what the learner hears
- separate language for men and women, very few consonants and vowels, lots of tones and nasal whistles
- doesn't have recursion
- no numbers, doesn't talk about past or future