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Lecture 1

LING 1000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Nation Language, Onomatopoeia, Celtic Languages

Course Code
LING 1000
Rosario Gomez

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September 9
What’s Language? A system of signs
- Semiotics: the process whereby signs communicate meaning to individuals and allow
them to understand the world around them and how it works
- Telling people what we want, what we need
- We understand the world through signs
- Gestures: non-verbal communication made with a part of the body; used instead of
verbal communication (or in combination with it).
- Auditory – vocal: speech, physiological reflexes, voice quality
- Visual: sign languages, writing, kinesics -> body language
- Tactile: deaf – blind, secret codes, proxemics -> body language
- Olfactory: perfumes, sexual odours
- Gustatory: Tastes
Context is very important in communication
Different gestures across culture mean the same thing
- Some ambiguous gestures: ok, sign for victory, thumbs up
- Are there gesture universals?
- Smiling? The act of smiling is the same but the interpretations are different
- Gesture for “yes/no”? not universal
- Holding hands? – have a relationship of some kind here, other places where men held
hands just as friends, hold hands because safer in group
- Only physiological responses are universal, gestures are culture-dependent
- Speech as a sign system
- Scientific, objective: hypothesis > corpus > analysis > conclusion
- Language: ability to communicate (innate)
- Attribute that distinguishes humans from other animals
- Language and humans can show displacement
- Have a conscious way of thinking, more informal with friends, formal with a future boss
- Is a system of sounds, meanings and rules unconsciously learned by the speakers?
- With humans there is a critical age, we learn language up until 12 years old, don’t get as
much elaborate extension of language after this age
- Pronunciation is the hardest thing to acquire, when you’re able to master that you will
be able to master the second language
The linguistic approach
- Identification of linguistic feature
- Hypothesis
oFemales will be the leaders in the change
- Corpus collected from the community
- Analysis
oTakes a very long time for a statistical analysis
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