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Study Guide

LING 1 Study Guide - Spring 2018, Comprehensive Midterm Notes - Grammar, Universal Grammar, Syntactic Category


Department
Linguistics
Course Code
LING 1
Professor
Hyams, N.M.
Study Guide
Midterm

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LING 1
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
Fall 2018

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Week 1, Lecture 1
What is Language?
In terms of function→ for us to communicate with each other
Speakers encode meanings into sounds
Listeners decode speech sounds
A system of knowledge
What do we know when we know a language?
We have a finite set of building blocks (sounds and words) and
rules on how these are combined → this is unconscious/implicit
knowledge
How do we acquire this knowledge as children?
What kind of building blocks and rules?
The inventory of sounds in our language: phonetics
International Phonetic Alphabet
Knowledge of sounds sequences/system/ what sequences are possible:
phonology
Knowledge of words→ lexicon [mental dictionary]
Word is an arbitrary pairing of sound and meaning (even for signing)
The relationship between the form and meaning of a word is arbitrary
Exception: onomatopoeic words
Possible v. impossible words
Our knowledge of sound sequences allows us to determine what
constitutes a “possible” word
Knowledge of morphology (word structure) lets us build more complex words
Asterisk before a word or sentence → not well-formed
We build complex words from rules that combine elements smaller than
the word (morphemes)
Ex: -ent, -iate, -ed
Knowledge of phrases and sentences: syntax
English: subject, verb, object
Differ by language
Wh questions: question word stands in place of object
Knowledge of meaning (semantics) for both words and sentences
Count nouns work with specific articles
Mass nouns (not countable) work with other specific articles
Week 1, Lecture 2
Noam Chomsky: human linguistic knowledge is creative
We are able to understand and produce an infinite set of novel utterances
There is no longest sentence
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Creativity is a universal property of human language
Rules: linguistic knowledge is infinite use of finite means
All spoken language is governed by rules-- set of rules is called a grammar
Every speaker has a mental grammar of the rules of his language that he
follows in producing, understanding, and making judgements about his language
Why don’t we usually use sentences that go on and on if we have that capacity?
Competence: a speaker’s linguistic knowledge of his language
Performance: how a speaker puts his linguistic knowledge to use
Performance factors:
Memory limitations
Shifts in attention and interest
Psychological and physical states
Linguistic and nonlinguistic context
Our knowledge of our language is perfect, though our performance may be
affected by a variety of factors
Speech errors
Spoonerism: kind of speech performance error in which sounds are transported
We also experience errors of comprehension:
Garden path sentences (ex. The ball thrown in the air dropped. The ship docked
at the port sank.)
Grammar
Prescriptive grammar/rules: intended to teach people how they should speak
according to some arbitrary standard
Descriptive grammar/rules: linguists are interested in describing and
understanding the rules that people actually follow in speaking and
understanding their language (not prescribing usage standard)
Every native speaker has perfect knowledge of the rules of his native language;
these rules may be different for different people. Everyone speaks a “dialect” or
an “idiolect.”
All dialects are rule-governed, fully expressive, logical
There are no inferior languages
Language universals
Universal Grammar: the blueprint/laws of language
How do languages differ?
What do all languages have in common?
Some language universals
All languages have nouns and verbs, have a way to indicate whether an
event is completed or not, ways of marking negation/asking a question,
indicating more than one, have recursive rules, share certain constraints
Language differences
Parameters
Word order, how questions are formed, how negation is done
Language universals and language acquisition
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