1.1 Specialization for Language
- Linguistics is the study of how language works – how it is used, how it is acquired, how it
changes over time, how it is represented in the brain, and so on.
- Speech organs primarily concerned with breathing and eating are also highly specialized for
use in language.
- Lungs – Supply air for speech
- Vocal Cords – Produce vibrations for speech sounds
- Tongue – Articulate vowels and consonants
- Teeth – Provide place of articulation for consonants
- Lips – Articulate vowels and consonants
- Nose – Provide nasal resonance during speech
1.2 A Creative System
- Language has to be creative giving us the freedom to produce and understand new words and
sentences as the need arises.
- Limit – A new verb is rarely coined if a word with the intended meaning already exists. (Prison
the robber… imprison)
- Constraints – Verbs that are created from time expressions. (Julia summered in Paris,
correct… Jerome midnighted in the streets, incorrect because midnight is a point in time not an
extended period of time)
- Words which have the “look” of English words can be used as names for new products (prasp,
- English does not permit some combinations of sounds, cannot have the shape of English
words (psapr, bfli, ftra)
- Contraints determine how new words can be created from already existing forms with the help
of special endings (New word “soleme” used for a newly discovered particle… Something with
properties of soleme is called solemic with the “c” sounding like “k”… Make something with
soleme is to solemicize it with the “c” sounding like “s”… All pronounced with stress on the
second syllable “soLEmic”)
- Language – ability to deal with novel utterances, much of what you hear, say and read on a
daily basis consists of sentences completely new to you.
- Ability to form and interpret sentences is subject to systematic limitations.
1.3 Grammar and Linguistic Competence - Linguistic Competence – Linguistic knowledge possessed by native speakers of a language on
how to produce and understand an unlimited number of utterances and recognize that certain
utterances are not acceptable and simply do not belong in their language.
- Grammar – Mental system that allows us to form and interpret sounds, words and sentences…
broken down into 5 components:
- Phonetics – The articulation and perception of speech sounds
- Phonology – The patterning of speech sounds
- Morphology – Word formation