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A Crash Course in Linguistics

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Kate Logan

on 16 August 2013

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Transcript of A Crash Course in Linguistics

A Crash Course in Linguistics
"A language is a dialect with an army and a navy."
-Max Weinreich
Linguistics: The Basics
What Schools Have Strong Programs in Linguistics?
Swarthmore College
University of Chicago
Georgetown University
University of California - Santa Cruz
Macalester College
Reed College
So what's the difference between a language and a dialect?
Check out Rick Rickerson's podcast series, "Talkin' About Talk." Choose one of his five-minute podcasts that seems interesting to you. Listen to the podcast, and then summarize what you learned from the podcast in a paragraph.

Make sure to write down your e-mail address so that I can send you the link!
What are some differences in pragmatics between Chinese and English?
Refusal to Request
Terms of Address
Topics of Conversation

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

- Lewis Carroll
"Colorless green ideas sleep furiously."
-Noam Chomsky
What is Noam Chomsky's theory of "Universal Grammar"?
What do you want apples and?

The author wrote the novel was likely to be a best-seller.

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

What is wrong with these sentences?
a MORPHEME is the smallest unit of language that has meaning when standing by itself
What are some examples of morphemes in English? What about in Chinese? What language could be considered to have a "rich" morphology?
What are pidgins and creoles?
"People no like t'come fo' go wok."

'People don't want to have him go to work [for them]."

"One day had pleny dis mountain fish come down."

'One day there were a lot of these fish from the mountains that came down [the river].'
"Inside dirt and cover and blanket, finish"

"They put the body in the ground and covered it with a blanket and that's all."

"Good, dis one. Kaukau any kin' dis one. Pilipine islan' no good. No mo money."

"It's better here than in the Philippines; here you can get all kinds of food, but over there there isn't any money to buy food with."
Hawaiian Pidgin
Hawaiian Creole
What's a dialect continuum?
What are some examples of dialects in America?
Writing Systems of the World
What phonemes are found in English but not Chinese? What about in Chinese, but not English?
Does the language one speaks determine one's worldview?
The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
What other examples can you think of that support the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis? What examples might go against it?
NY TIMES: Does Your Language Shape How You Think?
Gendered nouns
Sense of Direction
Depth of vocabulary
DEBATE: Should Dying Languages Be Preserved?
Framing the Current Linguistic Situation
Approximately 6000 languages are currently spoken in today’s world
4000-5000 classified as indigenous; 2500 in danger of immediate extinction
Half of world’s languages are expected to become extinct by the end of this century
In 2004, 438 languages had <50 speakers
Idea of “saving languages” is very modern
Last time languages died at such a fast rate was around 8000 B.C.

Case Example 1: Welsh
Welsh monoglot population is less than 1% of nation’s total
<20% of population speaks fluently
Linguistic nationalism
All children attending state schools must learn Welsh
Is there a future for the Welsh language?

Case Example 2: Modern Hebrew
Only example of a dead language revitalized in the modern world
Many look to it as a role model for reviving other nearly-dead languages
However, very unique cultural, geographic, ethnic & political factors
Case Example 3: Pirahã
“Endangered” language
No written form
Oral traditions
Extremely unique grammar patterns
Sapir-Whorf connection
Preservation as exploitation by linguistic researchers?

Icebreaker Questions
What does the term “Universal Grammar” mean?
What’s the difference between a language and a dialect?
Why is it so much more difficult to learn a second language than a first language?
Do all languages have the same words for colors?
What does the word English mean? What about the word Chinese?
Full transcript