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LING 1001
Karin Nault

LING 1001B Thursday, January 9, 2014 Linguistic competence • Phonetics – Speech sounds vs. non-speech sounds (thunder vs. someone whispering) – Language specific sounds (English vs. French) – Knowledge of how to produce sounds (boot, bit, beat, bat, boat, but) – You will always recognize sounds that are part of your language • Phonology – Language-specific distribution of speech sounds (Psychology in English vs. French) o Natural tongue speakers know what sounds correct and incorrect in specific words – Possible/impossible words of English – (blig vs. fsak) o Blig might be a word because the linguistic sequence in believable unlike fsak which is not linguistically specially distributed – Recognition of sounds and words spoken by different speakers, although not produced exactly the same way • Morphology o Breaking complex words down into parts that have meaning o Creating words o Production and comprehension of novel words o Knowledge of possible and impossible combinations o Knowing how to decompose/form words and put morphemes together o Ex. Ferks, to ferk, ferker etc. • Syntax – Construction and usage of novel sentences – Grammatical vs. *ungrammatical (nonsense vs. violation of a rule) LING 1001B Thursday, January 9, 2014 o Page 9. o I will pick the package up at 8 o’clock (grammatical) o Vs Package up 8 o’clock will I pick (ungrammatical and nonsense) • Semantics – Interpretation of meaning – Word (ex., picking) – Sentence – Tom shouted “Yeah!” at the stone. – *The stone shouted “Yeah!” at Tom. o Stones can not talk – Knowledge of – 2 words à same meaning (couch, sofa) o Synonyms (same concept of pictures) – 1 word à multiple meanings (bear) o You know the differences in the definitons • Pragmatics • Tells you whether or not the sentence you are using is appropriate or not • Ability to use context for meaning interpretation • Can you write your name here? • Appropriateness of a given utterance Storage  • Lexicon o Collection of all of the words you know  Their function  Their reference LING 1001B Thursday, January 9, 2014  Their pronunciation  Their relation to other words  Example son there is a connection to family or things they like Mental grammar o Rules stored in the form of a mental grammar o All of the rules to produce and comprehend utternaces • Grammar = a language system – Set of all elements and rules that make up a language • Rule : a statement of some pattern that occurs in language • Rules alow us to produce utternces and understand uttereances • Mental grammar • Language acquisition • Children • Natural acquisition, not taught • Language variation – Different languages – Dialect groups- unique groups with distinct terms and accents – Speakers of the same dialect How to discover internal structure  • Objective description of speaker’s performance of language • Listening to spoken language • Finding generalizations • Making descriptive statements about observations • Deduction of the rules that form a speaker’s competence (àdescriptive grammar) LING 1001B Thursday, January 9, 2014 • Not his performance (sometimes when you are tired your performance is lacking) • This is what we call descriptive grammar Language  • Language consists of the knowledge in the speaker’s/listener’s mind • Made up of a lexicon and mental grammar • Speech is a more immediate manifestation of language than writing • Sometimes you speak to quickly and you dont reflect too much on what you are saying Spoken vs. Written Language  • Speech (spoken and signed) • Encodes thought into a physically transmittable form • Writing • Encodes spoken language into a physically preserveable form • Take the spoken language and put into a perservable form • Three-stage process – Thinking of an idea – Expressing the idea using mental grammar – Transferring it to written form • Units of writing (letters, characters) – Based on units of speech Speech more basic than writing?  • Archeological evidence • When did we start to speak? It would have to be way before people started to write • Writing first used ~6000 years ago LING 1001B Thursday, January 9, 2014 • Writing does not exist everywhere • 56% of spoken languages are unwritten • Majority of humans are illiterate • Writing must be taught • Spoken language is acquired naturally, even spontaneously • Neurolinguistic evidence • Processing and production of written language is overlaid on the spoken language centers in the brain • We can see that processing and production of utterances causes overlaps in spoken and written brain networks • Writing can be edited • Speech is more immediate • You can not take back an spoken utterance, but you can fix writing Writing more perfect than speech?  • Writing = language? • More correct? • More stable? • Writing can be edited and fix in order to portray the most accurate message • Speech= secondary form of language? • Careless? • Corrupted? • Susceptible to change? • Speech is not often thought about as much or as long • Speech can not be edited like writing • Why? • More aptly worded LING 1001B Thursday, January 9, 2014 • Better organized • Containing fewer errors • Hesitations • Incomplete sentences • Because: • Deliberation • Correction • Revision • Associated with education and educated speech • Speech of educated individuals perceived as “correct” • But: • Faithful transcription of character’s speech • Mark Twain (Huckleberry Finn) • John Steinbeck (Of Mice and Men) • Speech • Sound waves • Ephemeral and transient – Variation across individuals and communities • Writing • Lasts • Physical medium • Can be preserved – Spelling more stable across individuals and communities Grammars  • Mental grammar • Descriptive grammar • Rules of a language as it is spoken LING 1001B Thursday, January 9, 2014 • Describe what is heard • Prescriptive grammar • Notion of ‘correct’ or ‘proper’ way of using language • Rules are taught • Rules conflict with what native speakers actually say Prescriptive rules  Rule: Never end a sentence with a preposition. • No: Where do you come from? (not supposed to say this, is the correct version) • Yes: From where do you come? Rule: Never split an infinitive • No: … to quickly go to the store • Yes: .. to go quickly to the store Rule: Never use double negative • No: I don’t get no satisfaction • Yes: I don’t get any. I get nothing. –Tell us how to speak or write –Make a value judgment –Must be taught –Conflict with what native speakers of a language actually do Descriptive rules  • Describe spoken language • Accept usage patterns without judgment • Allow for variations • Do not ignore constructions not allowed by prescriptive grammar • Not guidelines for what ought to happen LING 1001B Thursday, January 9, 2014  Mental grammar  • What exists as the foundation of language • Cannot be incorrect • Mental grammars are always correct for the certain stage of development or ability Origin of some prescriptive rules  Rule: Never end a sentence with a preposition. • Has been done freely since about 1100 C.E. th th – Latin regarded as ‘perfect’ language (17 and 18 century) • Better and purer than contemporary languages • Strictly a written language, no changes • Nothing is as pure or as perfect as latin (was a wrotten language at this point) Rule: Never split an infinitive • Exists since the early Middle English period • Has been fashionable to do th – Latin does not split infinitives (actually impossible as it is a single word) (18 century) Rule: Never use double negative • Old and Middle English: – Double, triple and quadruple negatives used (emphasis) • Shakespeare’s time – Double negative rarely used • 1762 Bishop Robert Lowth used logic rule to argue against double negative “Two negatives in English destroy one another or are equivalent to an affirmative.” - Bishop used to logic to determine grammar 300 years ago...why to we still adhere to these rules? LING 1001B Thursday, January 9, 2014 Why do these rules persist?  • Social status – Nonstandard dialects (doesn’t make a person a lesser speaker of their language) • Still frowned upon (social and linguistic discrimination and prejudice) • Inhibit one’s progress in society (stuck in social status cannot move up) Design features of language  • Defining language is difficult • No definition of language that captures its fundamental nature • But.. – We must
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