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LING 1000 - lecture 1

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York University
LING 1000
Tom Wilson

Linguistics • The study of human language Language 1. Representational system used to express meaning/thought - can be used as written (symbols), spoken (sound), sign (gestures) • All languages display certain properties • Arbitrary sound-meaning r/s (conventional [symbols have no other meaning]) • Creative/productive system - speakers learn simply by memorizing; however lan- guage is not just simply memorizing; they are also creative as you can interpret certain things • Language is governed by systematic principal, rules and constraints: the set of rules / constraints are not the same for all languages, but they all have them • Subject to variation over time and different speakers: there are different dialects of a language (is an inherited property) Competence vs performance • Competence cannot be seen directly (cannot observe a linguistic competence); can only be seen through performance • Performance can be seen, but can be influenced by many things, like alcohol or being tired • To identify competence from performance we should identify systematic properties: determine if the sentence is worded well Linguistic grammar • Over is the set of rules / constraints that a speaker
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