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Lecture 4

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LECTURE 4: May 30, 2013 Chapter 4 THE STRUCTURE OF LANGUAGE 1) Introduction: language and Communication 2) The Evolution of language 3) The structure of language 4) Meaning and Symbolism (Semiotics) INTRO TO LAN AND COMM - What is Language?  Language and culture like two side of coin. Language is part of culture, but also tool through which culture is communicated  While many different animals and organisms can communicate only humans have the capacity of fully developed language- grammar, syntax, and speech  Allows humans to communicate cultural ideas and symbolic meaning from one generation to another in a cumulative fashion, and to generate new cultural ideas based on our experience  The "logic" of a culture is also the "logic" of its language --> how it orders and classifies the world - Universal Grammar  Linguist Noam Chomsky argues that the human brain contains a limited set of rules (universal grammar) for organizing language, so that all languages have a common structural basis.  All humans have same physical capacity of language in their brain An interview with Prof. Noam Chomsky - Language is the core property that determines human being. - Normal mature human being knows more than10,000 words. - Non-Verbal Communication  Language (spoken) and written (writing- existed for 6000 years), is our primary means of communication.  Kinesics is the study of non-verbal communication through body movements, gestures, and expressions  Gestures, facial expressions, and bodily stances, clothing, even if unconscious, convey information and meaning, and status. E.g. playing Poker  Non-verbal com varies cross culturally. E.g. head shaking side to side = NO in North American, Yes in India.  Clothing as non-verbal communication. E.g. Monk wearing yellow and red cloths, policemen in uniform. THE EVOLUTION OF LANGUAGE - Nonhuman Primate Communication - Call Systems  Very dependent on tone. Language is much more complex than call systems.  Consist of a limited number of sounds that are produced in response to specific stimuli (e.g., food or danger).  Cannot refer to past or future events, or stimuli not present.  Cannot be faked.  Call cannot be combined to produce new calls.  Although wild primates use call systems, the vocal tract of apes is not suitable for speech. - Sign Language  A few nonhuman primates have been able to learn to use American Sign Language (ASL)  Washoe, a chimpanzee, eventually acquired a vocabulary of over 100 ASL sign  The second chimp to learn ASL was Lucy who lived in foster family until she was introduced to the "wild", where she was killed by poachers  Koko, a
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