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Types of Language Universals

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Amber Kunz

on 7 November 2012

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Transcript of Types of Language Universals

Universal Tendencies Universal rules that do have exceptions!

For example, if a language has a gap in its inventory of stops, it is likely to have a fricative with the same place of articulations as the missing stop. Absolute Universals Absolute Universals are absolute rules that have no exceptions.

These rules are:
All languages have at least 3 vowels

If a language has only 3 vowels, the vowels will be /iau/

If a language has a set of dual pronouns, it must have a set of plural pronouns

If a language has voiced stops, it must have voiceless stops Implicational Universals All rules hold the form of “if condition P is satisfied, then conclusion Q holds”

Types of Implicational Univerals:
Types of Universals:

Absolute Implicational Universal

If a language has property X, it must have property Y.

Implicational Tendency

If a language has property X, it will probably have property Y.

Absolute Nonimplicational Universal

All languages have property X.

Nonimplicational Tendency
Most languages have property X. The first hypothesis for language universals is that all language derive historically from the same original language.

This hypothesis is difficult to prove but also difficult to prove to be wrong.

The second hypothesis is that language universals are symptoms of how all humans perceive the world and conduct verbal interactions.

The third explanation is that some language universals have psychological explanations with no physiological basis.

The final Explanation is that language is both a cognitive and a social phenomenon. Some language universals have a basis in cognition; others reflect the fact that language is social too. More Explanations Communication can occur in writing, over the telephone, on the radio, texting, and so on.
These occur less often than face-to-face communication.

Face-to-Face Communication
Speaker and addressee are the two people in the conversation

First-person and second-person singular pronouns are essential for ordinary efficiency of social interaction.

These are words like “you” and “I”
The universal that all languages have first-person and second-person pronoun forms has social motivation. Shelby Wilkens, Danika Loots, Rachel Harden, and Amber Kunz Types of Language Universals Pronoun Systems

Pronouns Systems can be viewed as a matrix,
with each slot of the matrix characterized by
whether the speaker and the addressee are included
in the reference of the pronoun.

**More information about these on your handout! Explanations
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