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Chapter 1

LIN102H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Preposition And Postposition


Department
Linguistics
Course Code
LIN102H5
Professor
Arsalan Kahnemuyipour
Chapter
1

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Introduction to Linguistics
-To linguists, a grammar is not a book nor is it concerned with just the form of words and
sentences
-Rather, it is the intricate network of knowledge that underlies our ability to use language
-If a language is spoken, it must have a phonetic and phonological system, since it has words and
sentences and it must also have a morphology and a syntax, since these words and sentences
have systematic meanings, there must be semantic principles as well
-Unfamiliar languages sometimes appear to an untrained observer to have no grammar, as their
grammatical systems might be different from those of more frequently studied languages
-There is no such thing as primitive language, even in places untouched by modern science and
technology
-There is also no such thing as good/bad grammar, as all grammars do essentially the same thing;
they tell speakers how to form and interprets the words/sentences of their language
-The analysis of language must reflect the way it is actually used, not someone's idealized vision
of how it should be used
-Linguistics is descriptive, not prescriptive; and its goal is to describe and explain the facts of
languages -- not to change them
-All languages have more consonant sounds (p,t,d,etc) than vowel sounds (a,e,i); any language
that has a d sound almost certainly has a t sound as well and all languages have a vowel that
sounds like the "ah" in far
-Even when languages differ from each other, the amount of variation is restricted in certain
ways
-One of the better-known prescriptive rules of English is "don't end a sentence with a
preposition"; however, people don't speak that way
-Sentences may vary. For example, in a three sentence word such as "Canadians like hockey", it
can be the following, depending on other languages in the world:
A. Canadians like hockey
B. Canadians hockey like
C. Like Canadians hockey
D. Like hockey Canadians
E. Hockey like Canadians
F. Hockey Canadians like
-More than 95% of the world's languages adopt one of the first three orders for basic statements
and a handful of language use any of the last three orders as basic
-Human language is characterized by creativity
-Speakers of a language have access to grammar, a mental system that allows them to form and
interpret both familiar and novel utterances
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