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ANT253 DANESI language, society, and culture Test 1 notes

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University of Toronto St. George
Marcel Danesi

Language Society and CultureMarcel DanesiTest 1 chapters 124Chapter 1 What is languageLanguage constitutes the overarching memory system of the human speciesthe ancient Greek philosophers Language is a part of logos the faculty of the human brain that had transformed the human being from an insentient brute into a rational sentient creature Language tool for gaining knowledge vs misunderstandingconflict have wordsDEFINING LANGUAGE language originated from Latin lingua tonguethere are about 6000 languages spoken in the world all languages have 1 a system of distinctive soundsmost have 2060 vocal sounds 2units known as words3grammatical structure4strategies for using language in various ways communicationrepresentation5resources for making new words new meanings LANGUAGE AND SPEECH language mental sign systemspeech use of language to form and transmit messagescan be vocal or nonvocal children by the age 56 control the main structure of their native language vocal speech made by lowering of the larynx universal grammar for language articulated initially by PlatoPoverty of Stimulus model of knowledge innatismbased on a logical inference about the way humans learn LEARNING TO SPEAK language vs Speech dichotomy is a central one in linguistics innatists children pick up language because its innate in themempiricists children learn language through imitation Noam Chomsky famous for innatists vs empiricistspresence of Language Acquisition Device LAD which makes rulemaking principles of UG available to all childrenchild learns one fact about language and infers other facts without having to learn them one by one Universal grammar UG is a theory in linguistics that suggests that there are properties that all possible natural human languages have Usually credited to Noam Chomsky the theory suggests that some rules of grammar are hardwired into the brain and manifest themselves without being taught Stephen Pinker children are born with a language of thought that makes them little grammarians constantly referring the right syntactic rules for the various speech samples with which they are exposedtherefore universal grammatical paradigm mirrors genetic paradigm problems with UG theory1 it is restricted to accounting for the development of syntax sentence formation in the child2 it ascribes primacy to language ignoring other faculties however Chomsky is right about one thing language acquisition is regular and predictable across the worldchildren six months holophrastic one word mu ma da di etc
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