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Lecture 1-Summer (Intensive)

Course Code
Richard Compton

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Monday June 6, 2011
Final: probably june 30
June 23: history of English language likely
oWritten assignment
o2nd part: exercises will go up on Thursday
Midterm Test June 15
o2 in total
odue at start of lecture
otyped in 12pt Times New Roman font
All HW is individual
oPart A: Short writing assignment
One pg, double spaced
Posted on blackboard; due Monday
Worth 80% of HW1 work
oPart B: Exercises
Assigned this Thursday
Worth 20% of HW1 mark
Part A
o1-pg; based on chapter 1
ouse terminology from course
oresponses graded based on: (1) argumentation, (2) clarity, (3)
organization, (4) spelling and grammar, and (5) adherence to
formatting instructions
ouse whats in ch 1 and lecture 1 argue if hes correct or wrong
oonly need referencing: txt, lectures and column itself
o(H&P, p.33)
odont need reference section
Roadmap of Lecture 1
oCh 1
Prescriptive grammar: how people should speak, whats
correct from moral pt of view
Descriptive grammar: as grammar exists, how speakers
use a language
Standard vs non-standard dialects

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Register: speakers of a language have more formal ways of
oCh. 2
Overview of core concepts of course
What is Language?
oWhat is it that speakers know of their language?
oKnowledge of sounds (phonetics and phenology [system of
B is a sound of language
Speakers know combinations of sounds are possible:
Str-, spl-, or sk-
Spanish speaker, words cant start like that
oKnowledge of sounds can and cant combine goes into deciding
names for new products
oKnowledge of word structure (=morphology)
When you know a language, you know how words are
structured; you know which words are possible
You know which words are possible and which are
We even have rules for made-up words in our first
We use these rules of word structure to create new words
like google-able, pluto-ed (kicked off roster), podcast-ing
app was named Word of the Year
use our knowledge of words to create new words
oKnowledge of sentence structure (=syntax)
Speakers of a lang also know which combos of words are
possible and which arent
i.e. Bill is difficult to love It is difficult to love Bill
Jane wrote a book passivise it to A book was
written by Jane
Use knowledge of sentence structure every time we speak,
creating sentences that have never been uttered or heard
oKnowledge of meaning (=semantics) and real-world usage
Speakers can recognized ambigiuities in meaning
i.e. I saw the man with the telescope

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oMEANING 1: Using the telescope, I saw the
oMEANING 2: I saw the man who had the
Eg. Everyone loves someone
Speakers are aware of different levels of formality in their
first language and know when to use them
Got a pen? used in informal situation; more
formal: Would you happen to have a pen?
Take this. More formal: Could you
Whats Linguistics?
oScientific study of human language and the human capacity for
Linguists describe language as it is actually spoken by
If native speakers accept a form then that form is
grammatical in their dialect
Are also interested in all natural languages not just
standard dialects
Examine speech at varying levels of formality. Formal
speech, casual speech, polite speech, and impolite speech
are equally worthy of study
Both formal and informal speech are grammatical
Prescriptivism vs Descriptivism
oMany grammarians advocate that there are certain educated
and/or correct ways of speaking a language which all speakers
should adopt.
oPrescriptive rules, telling ppl how others believe they should
oMany of the prescriptive rules advocated by purists are arbitrary
and ill-founded
Avoid double negatives might be true in logic, but not
in human languages, many languages from around the
world require two negative elements in certain
Many prescriptivists believe that we shouldnt end
sentences with a preposition
Who did you vote for? (Cf. for whom did you vote?)
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