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Semantics Midterm Review.docx

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Department
Linguistics
Course
LING 360
Professor
kjj
Semester
Fall

Description
CHAPTER 1: MOVEMENTS OF BEHAVIORISM IN PSYCHOLOGY AND STRUCTURALISM IN AMERICAN LINGUISTICS Behaviorism: A movement initiated by John Broadus Watson. It had a deep, lasting impact on a host of areas of investigation of organisms & their behaviour, including all of the social sciences. BEFORE this, non-human animal behaviour was explained in terms of instinct, and human behaviour was explained in terms of the mind, its states and activities. The primary method of investigation in human psychology was introspection. Behaviourism rejected all appeal to any entities which could not be observed and measured (in non-human animals this = instincts; in humans, the mind, its states & activities). Behaviourism thought only observable & measurable data was worthy of scientific study. ∴ Behaviorists confined themselves to the study of an organism's observable and measurable physical stimulus, its observable and measurable response elicited by the stimulus, and any biological processes relating stimulus to response. By the end of WWII, behaviourism was on the decline and the notion of instinct was being rehabilitated as a scientifically respectable one. New thinkers however, instead of ascribing instincts to animals with little/no experimental confirmation, sought empirical confirmation. ∴ early ethologists*, whose work began to appear right after the war, sought to determine whether certain forms of behaviour exhibited by a species of animal were innate or acquired. Ethologists are especially interested in the kinds of behaviour characteristic of an animal where a determinate sequence of actions, once initiated, goes to completion. This is called a fixed action pattern. ~Does the animal learn the FAP from repeated exposure to the same behaviour in its adult conspecifics or is the behaviour innate? To answer this, one must carefully determine what stimulus prompts the behaviour in question as well as investigate analogous behaviour in the animals of related species -Also do deprivation experiments ~raise a young animal without any opportunity to experience what's thought to be the triggering stimulus & then observe it to see if it can perform the behaviour when appropriately stimulated -Critical Period ~The time period during which an organism must experience a certain form of stimulus in order to properly develop the capacity for a certain form of behaviour Structuralism: -Idea of Immediate Constituency Analysis, an idea which originated with American linguist, Leonard Bloomfield *Ethology = study of animal behaviour which grew out of the work of the zoologists Nikolaas Tinbergen, Konrad Lorenz, and Kurt von Frisch. Investigates animal behaviour using a combination of laboratory and field science, with strong ties to certain other disciplines such as neuroanatomy, ecology, and evolutionary biology. NAMES OF IMPORT Ferdinand de Saussure -Observed in his Cours de linguistique générale that the study of language could be undertaken from two distinct points of view: Synchronic: the structure of a language at any given moment Diachronic: how a language's structure changes over time Wilhelm Wundt -Established psychology as an empirical science, independent of philosophy Burrhus Frederic Skinner -Behaviourist psychologist -Wrote a book called Verbal Behaviour, which was extremely influential both inside of and outside of linguistics Leonard Bloomfield -First viewed the study of language as a special branch of psychology. -Sought to make linguistics scientific by recasting it in terms of behavioristic psychology (most linguists today still view linguistics as a special domain within psychology, but their view about what kind of theory a theory of psychology should be is very diff. from Bloomfield's) -Student of Indian grammatical tradition -Came up with idea of immediate constituency analysis -Closely studied Panini's grammar, rediscovered the utility of Panini's morphology and phonology rules, and applied them to syntax also Zellig Harris, Charles Hockett, & Rulon Wells -Successor of Leonard Bloomfield -Developed constituency grammar (context sensitive rules) John Broadus Watson -American psychologist who initiated the movement of Behaviorism, which had a deep and lasting impact on a host of areas of investigation of organisms and their behaviour, including all of the social sciences Noam Chomsky -Also emphasizes link between linguistics and psychology -A vociferous critic of behaviourism, particularly in the study of language -Argues that linguistic behaviour is underpinned by a linguistic capacity which emerges from several capacities, incl. capacity to reason, to focus one's attention on various things, as well as the capacity to form and recognize grammatical sentences, which he calls grammatical competence or I-language, together with other capacities pertinent to humans using and understanding language, results in human linguistic capacity -Also argues that humans have an innate endowment unique to them and specific to the development of their linguistic capacity which he calls the language acquisition device or universal grammar -Argument he uses to support his hypothesis is the poverty of the stimulus argument: -Based on a number of observations, which furnish presumptive evidence in favour of a working hypothesis that humans have an innate pre-disposition to acquire grammatical competence -OBSERVATION 1: The structure of language is both complex and abstract from its acoustic signal. The basic expressions making up a complex expression of a natural language have a structure which is over and above the linear order of successive basic expressions which make it up, and this additional structure is not contained in the acoustic signal which conveys the complex expression -OBSERVATION 2: Children acquire grammatical competence in a short span of time -OBSERVATION 3: This competence is acquired, even though the child has little exposure to signals carrying examples of the relevant structure, and even though many of the utterances exhibit these structures in a defective way -OBSERVATION 4: Despite important differences in the sample of utterances to which children of the same community are exposed, they nevertheless converge on the same grammatical competence -OBSERVATION 5: The rules which are characteristic of grammatical competence are not taught -OBSERVATION 6: It's generally acknowledged that a child's acquisition of his grammatical competence is independent of his intelligence, motivation, and emotional make-up. -OBSERVATION 7: It's believed that no child is predisposed to learn one language rather than another. Panini -Wrote or compiled the Astadhyayi, the world's earliest extant grammar. It comprises a finite set of rules and a finite set of minimal expressions from which each and every proper expression of Sanskrit can be derived in a finite number of steps. This is called a generative grammar Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz -Was interested in giving a mathematical characterization of the notation of classical quantificational logic -Devised the beginnings of a categorial grammar -Points out some of its possible applications in the study of natural language structure, but concerns lie elsewhere entirely Yehoshua Bar-Hillel and Joachim Lambek -Use the ideas of Ajdukiewicz's categorial grammar and apply them to serious study of naturally language Alfred Tarski -Founder of model theory -Recognized the pertinence of model theory to the study of how complex expressions in a natural language acquire their meaning from the expressions which make them up, though he himself doubted that a satisfactory formal account of this property of natural language expressions could be worked out PROPERTIES OF HUMAN LANGUAGE BEHAVIOUR WHICH DISTINGUISH IT FROM OTHER FORMS OF ANIMAL COMMUNICATIVE BEHAVIOUR -In some species, repertoire of communicative behaviour comprises a finite, indeed very small set of discrete (digital) signals. eg. vervet monkeys have three vocal signals for sighting a leopard/python/eagle -Honey bees have an infinite rep. of continuous (analog) signals to communicate the location of nectar -Repertoire of human linguistic expressions is unlike either. It is unique among the repertoires of all animals: it is both digital and infinite. BASIC INSIGHTS INTO LANGUAGE FOUND IN THE INDIAN GRAMMATICAL TRADITION -There is no finite upper bound on the set of possible correct Sanskrit expression, so learning of the language requires the learning of its vocabulary and its rules -Can use minimal pairs (eg. A cow is a mammal vs A rock is a mammal) to determine how meaning is ascribed to parts of sentences -Each complex expression can be analysed into immediate subexpressions - typically two, which themselves can be analysed and so on, until minimal constituents are reached IMMEDIATE CONSTITUENCY ANALYSIS -Originated with Leonard Bloomfield, continued by Zellig Harris & Charles Hockett (context- sensitive rules) -Three essential ingredients: -Each complex expression can be analysed into sub-expressions. Do this till you reach minimal expressions -Each expression can be put into a set of expressions which can be subbed for one another in a more complex expression without compromising its acceptability -Each of these sets of expressions can be assigned a syntactic category -Explains how same sentence can be judged True or False with one and the same circumstances -Also shows why there can't be a finite bound on sentences. Can have an infinite amount of phrases of one type containing phrases of another type, eg. Bill sat [PP behind the chair [PP behind the first chair]]… GRAMMATICAL COMPETENCE VS GRAMMATICAL PERFORMANCE -Competence: having the capacity to speak grammatically -Performance: the actual sentences uttered -Humans, in performance, will have slips of the tongue, mispronunciations, hesitation pauses, stammering, stuttering, etc. -These: all due to irrelevant factors like memory limitations, distractions, shifts of attention and interest, etc. CONSTITUENCY GRAMMAR -Arose out of the study of language itself -Categorical grammar: Arose out of the study of logic, specifies recursively the expressions of natural language. -Has its origins in Panini's Astadhyayi, bc a great number of its phonological and morphological rules are also context sensitive rules CATEGORIAL GRAMMAR -Arose out of the study of logic Specifies recursively the expressions of natural language. MILL'S METHOD Method of Agreement -If two or more instances of the phenomenon under investigation have only one circumstance in common, then that circumstance is the cause Method of Difference -If you have two instances, one where the phenomenon does occur and one where it doesn't, and they differ in only one circumstance, then that circumstance is the cause or effect, or an indispensable part of the cause Joint Method of Agreement and Difference -If two or more instances in which the phenomenon occurs have only one circumstance in common, AND two or more instances in which it doesn't occur have nothing in common except the absence of that circumstance, then that circumstance is the cause, or an indispensable part of the cause -Linguists have used these methods for a long time. In fact, ancient Indian grammarians also used the first two. The Joint Method of Agreement and Difference is known by linguists today as the method of minimal pairs CHAPTER 2 : BASIC SET THEORY List notation: A = {1,2,3} Abstract notation: {x : x is an even natural number} ℤ: The set of all integers (positives, negatives, zero) ℕ:The set of all natural numbers (positive integers, zero) Cardinality: The size of a set. Expressed thusly: |{1,2,3}| = 3 |{2,4,6}| = 3 |{{2,4,6}}| = 1 |{ℕ}| = 1 |ℕ| = infinite |∅| = 0 |{∅}| = 1 V = Universe of discourse Venn/Euler Diagrams: The shaded region = empty; * = non-empty OPERATIONS ON SETS: Set Difference: x ∈ X - Y iff x ∈ X and x ∉ Y -Remove any elements that Y shares with X Set Complementation: x ∈ -X iff x ∈ V and x ∉ X -The complement of a set X (-X) is everything in the universe that is not in X Cartesian Product -Not commutative -Not associative -|X × Y| = |X| × |Y| -The Cartesian product of any set with the null set = null Power Set Operation -An operation on a set which yields a family of sets -Takes a set and returns the set of all its subsets -Always includes ∅ -Eg. Pow({1,2}) = {∅,{1},{2},{1,2}} -Pow(Y) = {X : X ⊆ Y} -|Pow(X)| = 2|X| OPERATIONS ON FAMILIES OF SETS: Generalized Union: x ∈ ∪Z iff for some Y ∈ Z, x ∈ Y -x exists in at least one set in the family of sets Generalized Intersection: x ∈ ∩Z iff for every Y ∈ Z, x ∈ Y -x exists in every set in the family of sets Generalized Cartesian/Direct Product: -Will take x number of sets and return a set of ordered tuples -Any set can be used to index, eg {1,2,3,4}
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