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Lecture 28

LING 1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 28: Null-Subject Language, Models 1, Phoneme

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Sportiche Dominique

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011216 Final Lecture
1. What questions we ask
2. What methods we use to answer them (most impt)
3. What answers we find
A triple revolution
Mentalism: the object of study is a mental capacity: what’s in the head
Naturalism: the structure of this object can be inferred form an analysis of the ling
behaviour of speakers. E.g. judgements about well formedness, meaning
Formalism: hypotheses about the structure of this object are explicit formal models
supposed to predict speakers linguistic behaviours
Studying UG is a black box problem. Poses 2 problems:
1. Cannot open up someone’s brain to see what happens inside it
2. Production: input (meaning), output (physical signal like sounds or signs)
3. Perception: input (physical signal), output (meaning)
4. Analyzed through interactions and stuff and are studied through hypotheses
Questions about personal grammar and UG:
1. Structure
2. Origin in an individual
a. Is it uniform across individuals
b. Is it detectable early (exp w kids)
3. Relations w other mental faculties (qns about the modularity of mind)
a. Are there correlations
b. Are there dissociations
4. How computation unfolds in real time (blue ones not studied)
5. Physical realization
6. Origin in our species
Modularity: Grammars are modular, consists of structures and models
1. Phonetics: finite inventory of sounds (phones)
2. Phonology: Phonemes, binary features and feature based rules
3. Morphology
4. Syntax
5. Semantics
6. Pragmatics
General properties of languages:
All languages are systems or rules that are sensitive to structure
Part are innate (condition C, NPI licensing, Downward entailments)
Part are innate parameters (negative agreement, null subject parameter, head
Vocabulary must be learned
Does language influence thought? Unlikely but possible.
Why do languages differ?
1. Lang can differ in
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