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Chapter 1

LINGUIST 1Z03 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Language Acquisition Device, Tabula Rasa, Flight Attendant

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Karen Tucker

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Chapter 1: The Study of Language
Pragmatics - the study of how context affects language use
Grammar - how humans form linguistic structures from the level of sound up to the sentence
Humans are born with the capacity for language
Linguistics - scientific study of language, how speakers create meaning through
combinations of sounds words and sentences
Modes of language: speech, writing, signs
Semiotic System - systems of communication (e.g language, music, art, dress)
According to Saussure, meaning is expressed by signs, in the form of a signifier, and
some meaning that the signifier conveys, called the signified
E,g “table” can be expressed in speech/phonemes and also in letters/graphemes.
When this is encountered, the speaker will associate the word with the meaning (the
Language as Part of A Semiotic System
Most linguistic signs are arbitrary ( e.g the word “window” has no direct connection to
the meaning that it expresses)
Signs can sometime have a iconic relationship to the meanings they express ( e.g
extending the length of the vowel “o” in the word “movie” to reinforce the excessive
length of the movie) (e.g moo)
Paralingusitics - aspects of spoken communication that do not include words
Sometimes onomatopoeic words occur across languages
Phonesthemes - sounds associated with partiuclar meanings (e.g “sh” at the end of crash
to suggest rapid motion)
Signifiers are transmitted most frequently through 2 modes: speech and writing
Signing is also a system used by individuals who are deaf
In linguistics, speech is primary and writing secondary, better to view as different but
Speech is better for some things, and writing for others
How language is structured depends less on whether it is spoken or written and more
on how it is used
The Modes of Language
Studying Linguistic Structure
Through rules for sound pronunciation, ways that words are put together, how
sentences are structures and ways that meaning is created
Principles stating how structures that rules create should be used (e.g which forms are
Lingusitic competence - unconcious knowledge of language
All languages have structure
Rules of Grammar
For linguists, grammar includes linguistic rules part of the linguistic competence
Pragmatics - studying why grammatical constructions have the structure that they do
Communication interpretations depend on the structure of sentences, age, social class,
level of education and occupation, and relative positions on the power hierarchy
Study the linguistic context and its effect on how language is structured
1Z03 Reading 1
October 5, 2017
2:59 PM
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