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Chapter 1: So, where do we begin?

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Paulina Bounds

on 10 September 2015

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Transcript of Chapter 1: So, where do we begin?

Chapter 1: So, where do we begin?
What do you think language is?
What does the Wiki says?
Ask? Aks?
How do we decide and know which one is "correct" and "incorrect"?
Language everywhere
What are some places that you use language?
Ferdinand De Saussure 1857-1913
Language is the human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, and a language is any specific example of such a system. The scientific study of language is called linguistics.
Name Calling: What is your nickname?
Judging by ear? Eye?Stereotype?
The system:
Human language is a

of signs that allows for the
creative communication of meaning
It is an understanding of the community
Language is organized by rules
You can create something new,like, all the time
Langue and Parole
signs are in systematic relationships
Linguistic Sign= Signifier + Signified
Parole (speech)
Looking at the patterns emerging in speech
So, at first it was AKS, even Chaucer used both forms....but when the standard came along ASK became the norm. Both forms travelled to the US, and with time AKS became a Southernism...then, AA carried it with them....with time, it became a marker for AA speech.
So, what do you think? Were they "good"?
The relationship between the signifier and signified is arbitrary (onomatopoeia)
Noam Chomsky
Linguistic competence and performance
Grammar, grammatical, ungrammatical...ungrammar???
All language constructions that conform to the systematic rules of a language and are comprehensible to another speaker
Discourse Analysis
Applied Linguistics
Historical Linguistics
to text someone, to pin something, to facebook someone, to craigslist something
Corpus Linguistics
Human Language and Animal Communication
Animals do not have infinitely creative communication
Birds can't learn a different song
What about a Mocking Brid?
Bees use a complicated algorithm to communicate
Chimps and Bonobos
Words that represent concepts
Scientist teaching them to speak
No syntax
Washoe: ASL+ grammar
Sarah: color shapes + creativity
Kanzi: Future tense, purposeful communication
We are similar in some ways to the animals, but there are some differences:
Language is acquired in a language community, not inborn.
Human words are unique and there is a lot of them
Words can be ambiguous
Infinite creativity
Human language has all of those features at the same time
A little bit about historical linguistics
The idea that languages are related to each other and belong to families.
Historical linguists take pieces of writing that we have the records of and pieces it together to come up with hypothesis about the origins and development of human language
Grimm's Law proposes a series of conditions of phonetic change that explains the variation in phonetic representation of cognates
How does language change happen?
First of all, enough people have to start using the new variant
People debate whether change is a progress or decay?

What do you think?
All change is neutral and variants are the same
What are Language Peeves? Where are they coming from? What are they for you?
What people think about language change?
Sometimes people complain, and when they do, it shows that our judgement of change is socially motivated
So, what do you think about the quote?
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