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Lecture 3

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Karen Kus

Lecture 3 July 16 2013 Language Evolution and structure Language Overview 1. The origins of language a. Divine theory – Tower of babel (Gen. 11) b. “Ding-Dong” theory-Cratylus & Socrates-scientific theory, the ding dong theory, a natural association between words, one’s own language is natural. Socrates argued that there was no natural connection between language and words. Humans decide which words to use. c. “Bow-wow” theory – Lubbock, onomatopoeia-Also the bow wow theory- language is based on imitating the sounds of nature. d. “Ouch” theory- The “ouch” theory- Darwin and his contemporaries, language evolved from a previous primate, language evolved over time, based on the vocal communication system of non-human primates. e. Evolutionary theory- bipedalism, advent of tool use, homo habilis, tool use linked to language. Looks at advent of culture, and how culture as an adaptive advantage created selective pressure for larger cranium. We have a unique hardware of processing language. 2. The biology of language I The human brain 1. High index of encephalization- larger brain 2. Expanded neocortex; reduced olfactory bulb- reduction is sense of smell, it becomes less important , small teeth, small jaws, 80% of brain is neocortex 3. Lateralization of linguistic functions- right and left side of the brain, expressed as in right handedness- associated with left hemisphere and vice versa 1. Broca’s area (speech) – left frontal lobe- controls speech, left frontal lobe 2. Wernicke’s area (syntax) – left temporal lobe-associated with syntax, ability to use grammer in speech, make sentences, understand language, in left temporal lobe, when this area is damaged hearing is not lost, but the ability to understand language is lost. 3. The Biology of Language 2 The human vocal apparatus 1. Lungs 2. Larynx 3. Supra‐laryngeal vocal tract- this is above the vocal tract, the larynx a. Resonators: pharynx, oral cavity, nasal cavity-walls of the vocal cavity b. Articulators: tongue, lips, teeth Lecture 3 July 16 2013 The neocortex controls mostly face and hands. 4. Descriptive manner How do other languages work? Having a common sense of terms to describe diversity of human language 1. Phonology- study of sounds 1. Phonetics- talking about physical properties of sound, looking at spectrograms, more in field of physics a. Acoustic phonetics- study of the sounds we hear, from speaker to listener, spectrograms, anthrop. avoid this b/c it goes into physics b. Articulatory phonetics- domain of human physiology, description of speech in terms of the vocal apparatus. Study of how we make sounds by out articulators and vocal tract. 2. Phonemics-study of sounds we hear, sounds we make a. Phones / phonemes-speech of sounds, t, p b. Allophones- one of a set of multiple possible spoken sounds. Different sounds but have the same meaning/phone. Ex: spin, pit, the p which is the phone have different sounds because of the places of articulation and vocal tract but have the same meaning/phone which is p. 2. Morphology- what are organizing principles in combining these sounds Morphemes- smallest grammatical unit in a language. 1. Free morphemes [words]-have meaning 2. Bound morphemes- only have meaning when they attached to another free morpheme, a. Derivational – changes meaning or part of speech- change the meaning or part of speech i. e.g., firm infirm (opposites)- adding “in” ii. e.g., quick quickly (adjective to adverb)- adding “ly” b. Inflectional – changes grammatical sense-changing the grammars i. number, possessive, comparative, superlative, tense, etc. ii. e.g., Tagalog, sulat (write) sinulat (wrote) How many morphemes? • Yesterday John ran away with the baker’s younger daughter.
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