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Department
Linguistics
Course
LIN200H1
Professor
Proff X
Semester
Summer

Description
LIN200H1F Introduction to Language Lecture 1 Summer 2012 Lecture 1 May 15 Introduction: What is Language? Chapter 1 Roadmap: 1. Syllabus 2. Course objectives 3. What is Language? 2. Course objectives • Develop a broad understanding of human language from the perspective of cognitive science. • Examine your own linguistic beliefs and attitudes • Develop awareness of the diversity of language systems and their similarities • Practice some core tools and techniques of linguistic analysis 3. What is Language? • Arbitrary Example: signified signifier cow (En) korova корова (Rus) vache (Fr) ushi 牛 (Jap) vaca (Spa) krowa (Pol) behia (Basque) mu niu (Ch, Mandarine) • Creative  let’s create couple of new words: (1) a. I had a soleme. b. It was solemic. c. I will solem-icize it. d. He solimicized it yesterday Page 1 of 6 LIN200H1F Introduction to Language Lecture 1 Summer 2012 • Acquired (not learned; will talk about this difference in later classes) Q: What about communicative methods of other species, like Programming languages (C++, Java) in technology, bee dancing, primate signing? Are they languages? A: 3.1. What is it to know a language? 3.1.1. Knowledge of sounds  Phonetics: • English speakers know that b is a sound in their language, but not ǂ (a palatal click).  Phonology: • English str-, spl-, or sk-, *rts-, *lps- or *ks-. • Spanish *st- or *sp-; e.g. estrella ‘star’, estado ‘state', especial, ‘special’. 3.1.2. Morphology  • e.g. un-system-atic but not *atic-system-un • e.g. un-speak-ab-ly but not *speak-ly  Rules for made-up words: • e.g. one wag, but two wags • e.g. Tomorrow he’ll flubble and Yesterday he flubbl-ed.  • e.g. Google-able, podcast-ing, etc. 3.1.3. Syntax  Im/possible combinations of words: • Google is difficult not to love.  It is difficult not to love Google. • Bill is anxious to go.  *It is anxious to go Bill. • Jane wrote a book.  A book was written by Jane. • Jane became a doctor.  *A doctor was become by Jane. 3.1.4. Knowledge of meaning ( ) and real-world usage ( ):  ambiguities: • e.g. I saw the man with the telescope. MEANING 1 = Using the telescope, I saw the man. MEANING 2 = Page 2 of 6 LIN200H1F Introduction to Language Lecture 1 Summer 2012 • e.g. Everyone loves someone. MEANING 1 = There is a certain person who everyone loves. MEANING 2 =  formalities: • Got a pen? vs. Would you happen to have a pen? • Take this. vs. Could you (please) take this (for me)?  All of the above constitutes a system that we call grammar. 3.2. Language as a cognitive science  Chomsky:  Pinker: (recommended books ‘The language instinct’ 1994. New York; ‘How the Mind Works’ 1997) Linguistics concentrates on evidence showing that language - is innate - is unique to humans 3.2.1. What is Linguistics?  actual language •  natural languages •  formal speech, casual speech, polite and impolite speech • 3.2.1.1. Descriptivism vs. Prescriptivism  grammarians: how one should speak • e.g. Who are you talking to? • e.g. To boldly go where no one has gone before. • e.g. I don’t have none. = These are PRESCRIPTIVE rules  BUT, many languages require two negative elements: Page 3 of 6 LIN200H1F Introduction to Language Lecture 1 Summer 2012 o No comí nada. (Spanish) not I-ate nothing “
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