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LINGUIST 1A03- Final Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 29 pages long!)


Department
Linguistics
Course Code
LINGUIST 1A03
Professor
Catherine Anderson
Study Guide
Final

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McMaster
LINGUIST 1A03
Final EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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1
LINGUIST: 1A03
Section 1: What is Linguistics?
Dr. Anderson – September 8, 2016
Linguistics:
Part of a field called cognitive science
The science of human language
Scientific approach of making empirical observations (observe data to find evidence for
theories) to find how people use language
Takes descriptive approach to language (describe what people do with language, but DON’T
prescribe how they should or shouldn't do it)
Humans have differences to other species that make our language unique:
oThe Articulatory System: lungs, larynx, shape of tongue, etc. enable us to produce
speech in a way no other species can do
oThe Auditory System: ears are sensitive the exact frequencies most common in human
speech
oThe Neural System: no other species has a brain with so many connections dedicated to
producing/understanding language
Mental Grammar:
Shared system that allows us to understand each other's ideas when we speak that we know
unconsciously
Mental grammar is generative: every language can generate an infinite number of possible new
words and sentences
Mental grammar is governed by systematic principles
Linguistic competence: subconscious knowledge that enables native speakers to produce and
understand and unlimited number of familiar and new utterances
Phonetics: study of speech sounds
Phonology: how the mental grammar of each language organizes sounds
Morphology: strategies languages use to form words
Syntax: different ways languages combine words to form sentences
Semantics: how the meanings of words/sentences are organized in the mind
Every language can express any possible concept
Fundamental Properties of Language:
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Generality: all languages have grammar (mental grammar)
Parity: all languages are equally valid, "better than" = social judgment, not linguistic judgments
Universality: all languages have some common properties
Mutability: all languages change over time
Inaccessibility: almost all knowledge In our mental grammar is unconscious knowledge
Generativity: can always generate new forms and forms
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