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Chapter 1

LINA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Fingerspelling, Homo Sapiens, Soft Palate


Department
Linguistics
Course Code
LINA01H3
Professor
Chandan Narayan
Chapter
1

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LANGUAGE: A PREVIEW
[1]
Language
- defines the human race
- versatile: for talking, thinking, reading, writing & listening
- pt of soc. structure of human communities
- forms bond b/ween parent & child
- way through which literature and poetry is expressed
- every normal human being as min. one lang they can speak
- offers us oppurtunity for communication
- w/out it, not much impt soc, intellectural or artistic activity would occur
[2]
LINGUISTICS
[D] study of how lang operates
=> how is (for instance),
- it used
- it acquired
- it changes over 't'
- it is repp'ed in brain
- focus:
- prop's of all lang's in world
- abilities & adaptations that have made it possible for humans to create &
use lang.
1.1 Specialization for Languages
[1]
homo sapiens
- aka the human species
- originated approx 100k-200k yrs ago
early humans
- anatomically similar to contemporary humans by having
- large brains
- vocal tracts for speech prod'ion
- arachaeological evidence suggests that they possessed type of intellect that
lang would have come along w/
- ex. tools, carvings, cave paintings
LANGUAGE MATTERS: HOW MANY LANGUAGES ARE THERE IN THE WORLD TODAY?
[1]
- www.ethnologue.com - lists 6,909 lang's
[2]
- many lang's
- are endangered in that only 200-300 speakers, and others are at even

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greater risk at becoming extinct b/c of native ppl thro. out the world are losing
their traditional cultures & homelands
p2
[1]
EVOLUTION
- after 100s of 1000s of yrs, this created a special capability for lang in humans
that is not discovered in any other species
- evidence?
(ex) human speech organs (ex. lungs, larynx, tongue, teeth, lips, soft palate,
nasal passages)
>- were in the past, and still are in the present, mainly dealing w/ breathing
& eating
- but over evol'n, have also become specialized for being used in lang.
>- structure & shape unique to humans
>- neural pathways that control these organs during speech prod'ion also
unique to humans
TABLE 1.1 - SPEECH ORGANS: HAVE TWO MAIN FCNS
ORGAN SURVIVAL FCN
“TO...”
SPEECH FCN
“TO...”
LUNGS - EXCHANGE CO2 & O2 - SUPPLY AIR FOR SPEECH
VOCAL CORDS - CREATE SEAL OVER
PATHWAY TO LUNGS
- PROD. VIBRATIONS FOR
SPEECH SOUNDS
TONGUE - MOVE FOOD TO MOUTH
& BACK INTO THROAT
- ARTICULATE ([D]-
EXPRESS FLUENTLY &
CLEARLY) VOWELS &
CONSONANTS
TEETH - BREAK UP FOOD - PROVIDE PLACE OF
ARTICULATION FOR
CONSONANTS
LIPS - SEAL ORAL CAVITY - ARTICUALTE VOWELS &
CONSONANTS
NOSE - ASSIST IN BREATHING - PROVIDE NASAL
RESONANCE DURING
SPEECH
[D] - ARTICULATE = verb |- l t|āˌ
1 [ with obj. ] express (an idea or feeling) fluently and
coherently: they were unable to articulate their emotions.
[D] - RESONANCE = 1 the quality in a sound of being deep, full,

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and reverberating: the resonance of his voice.
[2]
HUMANS
- able to PRECEIVE SPEECH
- ex. newborns will respond diffntly to human voices than to other forms of
sounds
- ex. 6 month old infants able to perceive subtle diff's in sounds in lang's
that they never heard b4
[3]
LANGUAGE NEED NOT BE ORAL
- other ways to use lang other than speech sounds
- (ex) sign lang
- instead of using speech sounds, meaning is expressed via
- gestures,
- body posture
- facial expression
- ongoings in the human mind
- what makes lang special is things that aren't heard or seen
>- b/c it involves way in which human mind goes about w/
- forming words
- building sentences
- interpreting meaning
[---box: LANGUAGE MATTERS: SIGN LANGUAGE]
WHAT IS AN EXAMPLE OF A MISCONCEPTION ABOUT SIGN LANGUAGE?
- most common: just a way to “spell out” oral lang.
>- they are more sophisticated than that, b/c just like oral lang, they have their
own
- vocabulary rules
- grammatical rules
>- indep sys. of comm'n
>- so its not limited to merely “finger spelling” of words from oral lang
- sth that could be done for indicating names/technical names, for instance
p3
1.2 A CREATIVE SYSTEM
[1]
[D] NATIVE SPEAKERS = ppl who acquired lang as a child in a natural setting
- ex. natural setting: home
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