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Introd. to Linguistics: What is language? (sess. 1)
Transcript of Introd. to Linguistics: What is language? (sess. 1)
What is Language?
Inmaculada Pineda, PhD
Universidad de Málaga
What is language?
a semiotic system used for communication
Are these languages?
Who speaks with impossible sentences in English in the following movie excerpt?
No! no different... Only different in your mind.
No! Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try.
Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?
And then, you should not.
For my ally is the force. And a powerful ally it is.
Luminous beings are we. Not this crude matter
1. Human Language
3. Word Formation
5% Class participation
25% Regular assignments
Acquiring a language
Learning a language
The Study of Language
The Origins of Language:
Natural sound source
Physical adaptation source
teeth, lips, tongue, larynx, pharynx, BRAIN
Properties of language
Constituency and recursion
Understand and remember words
learn new words & associate them with items
What is grammar?
It is a set of rules that organizes sounds into words and words into sentences to produce a message
1. the study of the way the sentences of a language are constructed; morphology and syntax.
2. these features or constructions themselves: English grammar.
3. an account of these features; a set of rules accounting for these constructions; a book treating such elements: a grammar of English.
4. Generative Grammar . a device, as a body of rules, whose output is all of the sentences that are permissible in a given language, while excluding all those that are not permissible.
5. prescriptive grammar. an approach to grammar that is concerned with establishing norms of correct and incorrect usage and formulating rules based on these norms to be followed by users of the language.
6. knowledge or usage of the preferred or prescribed forms in speaking or writing: She said his grammar was terrible.
7. the elements of any science, art, or subject.
1325–75; Middle English gramery < Old French gramaire < Latin gramatica < Greek grammatikḕ ( téchnē ) grammatical (art); see -ar2
Phonetics and Phonology
Human language can be studied at different levels of analysis or modules (words, sounds, phrases, etc) Each modular level has its own rules and restrictions.
No logical connection between signifier and signified item
messages are made of smaller divisible parts
signified items can be out of the physical linguistic context
humans can create/understand messages they have never heard before.
items can be recombined so as to create new messages
signs and modules in the language have meaning
language users can embed modules/items to make more complex messages
Ferdinand de Saussure
langue vs. parole
Our language expertise:
Human Language vs. Animal Communication
The following sentences are grammatical in some variety of English, but perhaps not in Standard English, why?
He is joking only
Those cats were just a-playing
They might could make a deal
Ought she to walk the dog soon?
They have made a good life for theirselves
This car needs washed
We've already boughten some bread
The child has learnt the alphabet song
She done told you
You lyin'/ You was lyin'
Which of the following sentences are ungrammatical according to descriptive grammar? which are ungrammatical in terms of prescriptive grammar?
Rosie a beautiful pony is.
Maurice and me are going to the movies tonight.
John put the book.
All the tulips are coming up in the garden
The all tulips are coming up in the garden
Purple big pillows were on her bed
I don't have no idea
Who did you talk to?
I saw a cat climb up tree
I have drank six glasses of water in a row.
Please read unit 7 from the book
humans acquire language through cultural exposure (acculturation and socialization) they are not genetically designed to speak a specific language