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Chapter 1

LINA01, Chapter 1, Introduction to Linguistic Analysis

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Chandan Narayan

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 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 SPEECH FCN TO... TO... LUNGS - EXCHANGE CO2 & O2 - SUPPLY AIR FOR SPEECH VOCAL CORDS - CREATE SEAL OVER - PROD. VIBRATIONS FOR PATHWAY TO LUNGS SPEECH SOUNDS TONGUE - MOVE FOOD TO MOUTH - ARTICULATE ([D]- & BACK INTO THROAT 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 |- lt| 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, 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 [2] LANGUAGE - needs to be [D] CREATIVE, in that they give humans freedom to prod & comprehend new words & sentence upon demand [3] CREATIVITY IN LANGUAGE - closely assoc. w second defining characteristic of LANGUAGE: - presence of systematic constraints that form boundaries w/in which innovation can occur => altho humans can be innovative w/ lang, there are rules to doing so - these are an essential pt of our knowledge of lang (ie. rules of lang) - CONSIDER TABLE 1.2: NOUNS USED AS VERBS? NOUN USE VERB USE pull the boat onto the bench beach the boat keep the airplane on the ground ground the airplane tie a knot in the string knot the string catch the fish with a spear spear the fish clean the floor with a mop mop the floor More examples: (1) a) I wristed the ball over the net b) He would try to stiff-up-lip it through c) She Houdini'd her way out of the locked closet [4] CONSTRAINTS TO THIS INNOVATION: NOUNS USED AS VERBS - new verb is rarely put into official use if there already exists a word with the intended meaning (ex) >- jail the robber - which means: put the robber in jail >- DO NOT say prison the robber to mean put the robber in prison => b/c imprison already exists with the intended meaning (of placing the robber in jail), so prison is not needed as a new verb [5] ANOTHER CONSTRAINT: - with regards to verbs that're created from time expressions (ex. summer, holiday, spring) (2)
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