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LINA01H3 (22)
Chapter 1

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Chandan Narayan

CHPATER 1 – Language: A Preview  Language is at the heart of all things human; language defines us  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 ORGAN SURVIVAL FUNCTION SPEECH FUNCTION Lungs To exchange carbon dioxide To supply air for speech and oxygen Vocal cords To create seal over passage to To produce vibrations for lungs speech sounds Tongue To move food to teeth and To articulate vowels and back into throat consonants Teeth To break up food To provide place of articulation for consonants Lips To seal oral cavity To articulate vowels and consonants Nose To assist in breathing To provide nasal resonance during speech A Creative System  Native speakers are those who have acquired language as children in a natural setting (say, a home rather than a classroom)  Because there are always new things to say, new experiences to report, and new challenges to confront, language has to be creative, giving us the freedom to produce and understand new words and sentences as the need arises  The creativity of language goes hand in hand with a second defining characteristic – the presence of systematic constraints that establish the boundaries within which innovation can occur; we can be innovative in our use of language, but there are rules to the game – and those rules are an integral part of our knowledge of language  Systematic rule-governed creativity is the hallmark of all aspects of language Grammar and Linguistic Competence  Speakers of a language are able to produce and understand an unlimited number of utterances, including many that are novel and unfamiliar; at the same time, they are able to recognize that certain utterances are not acceptable and simply do not belong in their language; knowledge of this type, which is often called linguistic competence, constitutes the central subject matter of linguistics and of this book  In investigating linguistic competence, linguists focus on the mental system that allows human beings to form and interpret the sounds, words, and sentences of their language; linguists call this system a grammar and often break it down
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