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The Study of Language

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The Study of Language 1. Origins of language: Bow wow theory: mensen deden de geluiden van dieren na. Het geluid wat ze hoorden zo werd het object genoemd. Onomatopoeia: words containing sounds similar to the noises they describe (v. b. bang, cuckoo, dus woorden die klinken als geluiden) [pic] The human brain is not only large relative human size but also lateralized. (lateralized: divided into a left side and a right side, with control of functions on one side or the other) Innateness hypothesis: the idea that humans are genetically equipped to acquire language.

2 Animals and human language

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Communicative signals: behavior used intentionally to provide information. Informative signals: behavior that provides information, usually unintentionally. 6 Distinct properties of human language: 1) Reflextivity: Humans are able to reflect on language and its uses. We can think and talk about language. A special property of human language that allows language to be used to think and talk about language itself. 2) Displacement: Humans can refer to past & future time and other things & places (than just the here and now) 3) Arbitrariness: There is no natural or ‘iconic’ relationship between linguistic signs and objects.

Less arbitrary word sounds are onomatopoeic words (rare). (woorden, je kunt hier wel mee spelen, b. v. groot met grote letters en klein met kleine letters) if a chimpanzee can use a square plastic shape to convey the meaning of the word bleu it means that there is now a connection between the symbol and what it means. 4) Productivity: Creativity or open-endedness) the potential number of utterances in any human language is infinite. (the ability to produce new words) Ad 4: Animal communication is limited: fixed reference. E. g. Bees communicate location of food with ‘a dance’, but only the horizontal distance ( not vertical. 5) Cultural transmission: Language is passes on from 1 generation to the next. (E. g. : Korean infant adopted by English speaking parents will speak English, not Korean. ) Ad 5: Cats ‘meow’ the same in any culture, birds instinctively produce songs or calls. 6) Duality: Human language is organized at 2 levels or layers simultaneously. At one level we have distinct sounds (n, b, i), at another level there is distinct meaning (bin, nib). Can humans and not humans communicate, understand each other’s language? Probably not.

Animals produce a particular behavior in response to a particular sound, but they do not ‘understand’ what the words mean. 4 the sound patterns of language Phonology: the study of the characteristics of speech sounds. Phoneme: the smallest meaning-distinguishing sound unit in the abstract representation of the sounds of a language. (v. b. when we learn to use alphabetic writing, we are using the concept of the phoneme as the single stable sound type which is represented by a single written symbol. (t) is described as a sound type and all the different spoken versions of (t) are tokens) Phones: are phonetic units and appear in square brackets.

A physically produced speech sound, representing one version of a phoneme. Allophones: one of a closely related set of speech sounds or phones. (v. b. the (t) sound in the word tar is normally pronounced with a stronger puff of air than is present in the (t) sound in the word star, you should be able to feel some physical evidence of aspiration) Aspiration: a puff of air that sometimes accompanies the pronunciation of a stop. Nasalization: pronunciation of a sound with air flowing through the nose, typically before a nasal consonant.

Minimal pair: fan – van, bet – bat twee woorden waarin maar 1 letter anders staat. Two (or more) words that are identical in form except for contrast in one phoneme in the same position in each word (v. b. bad, mad) Minimal set: feat, fit, fat, fate, fought, foot etc. een paar letters veranderen maar de f blijft op zijn plaats of big, pig, rig, fig, dig and wig. Phonotactics: constrains on the permissible combination of sounds in a language (v. b. this also involves minimal sets, in English the minimal set we have just listed does not include forms such as lig or vig.

According to the English dictionary this are not English words, fsig and rnig also will never exist, these words are formed without obeying some constraints on the sequence or position of English Phonemes) Syllable: most contain a vowel or vowel – like sound, including diphthongs (diphthongs = twee klanken) the most common one = a consonant (c ) before the vowel (v). The basic elements of the syllable are the onset (one or more consonants) followed by the rhyme. Green: c = consonant/ v = vowel: ccvc Open syllables: a syllable that ends with a vowel (or nucleus) and has no coda. me, to or no) Closed syllables: a syllable that ends with a consonant or coda. (up, cup, at or hat) Consonant cluster: two or more consonants in a sequence. (v. b. st, bl, bread, trick, twin etc. ) Coarticulation: making one sound almost at the same time as the next sound. Assimilation: when two segments occur in sequence and some aspect of one segment is taken or copied by the other. (v. b. have by itself, and how it is pronounced in the sentence I have to go than you say I hafta go) Elision: the process of leaving out a sound segment in the pronunciation of a word (vb. Friendship – frendsip (fonologisch csa)) Word formation Neologism: A new word in our language. Etymology: The study of the origin and history of a word. (Greek: etymon = original form + logia = study of) Processes of word formation in English 1) Coinage: The invention of totally new terms. E. g. : Invented trade names for commercial products (aspirin, nylon, zipper, Kleenex, Xerox). Ad 1: Eponyms: New words based on the name of a person or place (Hoover, Sandwich). 2) Borrowing: Taking over words from other languages. Ad 2: Loan-translation: Calque: A direct translation of the elements of a word into the borrowing language. E.

G. Gratte-ciel (Fr. ) ( Scrape sky, wolkenkrabber. Ubermensch (Du) ( Superman/ Lehnwort ( Loan word. 3) Compounding: Joining of 2 separate words to produce a single form: waterbed, doorknob or adjectives: good-looking, low-paid. 4) Blending: The beginning of one word is joined by the end of the other word ( gasoline + alcohol = gasohol; smoke + fog = smog; motor + hotel = motel. 5) Clipping: The reduction of words: facsimile ( fax; advertisement( ad; influenza( flu. Ad 5: Hypocorisms: Reduced word to single syllable + y or ie added to the end: telly (television); movie (moving pictures). ) Backformation: A word of 1 type (usually a noun) is reduced to form a word of another type (usually a verb). E. g. : to donate (donation); babysit (babysitter). 7) Conversion: A change in the function of the word when a noun comes to be used as a verb without reduction. E. g. : bottle ( to bottle; butter ( to butter. Ad 7: Also reverse ( verbs become nouns. E. g. : to guess ( a guess; to must ( a must; to spy ( a spy. Or verbs become adjectives: a dirty floor; an empty room. 8) Acronyms: New words formed from the initial letters of a set of words. E. g. : CD (compact disc); NATO; NASA. ) Derivation: Adding affixes: a) prefix: unhappy, misrepresent b) suffix: careless, boyish c) infix: hallebloodylujah Multiple processes: E. g. : Waspish attitudes: acronym WASP + suffix (ish) Yuppie: acronym + suffix (ie) ( analogy to hippie Analogy: new words are formed to be similar in some way to existing words. For example yuppie was made possible as a new word by analogy with the earlier word hippie. 6 Morphology Morphology is the study of forms (stems from Biology), also: the investigation of basic forms in language: we speak of ‘elements’ (morphemes), rather than only identifying ‘words’.

Definition of morpheme: a minimal unit of meaning or grammatical function. E. g. : reopened ( 3 morphemes: re open ed There are 2 types of morphemes: a) free = stem b) bound = affix (prefix, suffix) Ad a: can stand by itself as a single word: ‘tour’; ‘open’ Ad b: cannot stand alone ( they are attached: ‘re-‘; ‘-ist’; ‘-ed’; ‘-s’, un-‘. Bound stems: receive, reduce, repeat ((re)-ceive; -duce; -peat. A: Free morphemes a) lexical b) functional Aa) nouns, adjectives, verbs: words that carry the ‘content’ of a message we convey. E. g. : girl; man; house; sad; long; yellow; look; break.

Lexical morphemes are an ‘open’ class of words: they are easily added to the language. Ab) conjunctions, prepositions, articles, pronouns. E. g. : and, but, when, because, in, above, the, that, it, them. Functional morphemes are a ‘closed’ class of words because new functional morphemes are almost never added to the language. B: Bound morphemes (affixes) a) derivational b) inflectional (In English these are always suffixes) Ba) (List of prefixes and suffixes) Used to make new words or to make words of a different grammatical category from the stem. E. g. -ness (suffix) + good (adjective) = goodness (noun). Careful or careless (adjectives). E. g. : Ba: Teach (verb) + er = teacher (noun) Bb) These are not used to produce new words in the language or change the grammatical category of a word, but to indicate aspects of the grammatical function of a word. Inflectional morphemes are used to show if a word is plural or singular, if it is in past tense or not, and if it is a comparative or possessive form. In English there are only 8 inflectional morphemes E. g. (Bb): There are 2 inflections attached to nouns: 1) –‘s (marking possessive) ) –s (marking plural) There are 4 inflections attached to verbs: 1) –s (3rd person singular) (e. g. : one likes) 2) –ing (present participle) (e. g. : laughing) 3) –ed (past tense) (e,g. : liked) 4) –en (past particle) (e. g. : taken) There are 2 inflections attached to adjectives: 1) –er (comparative) (e. g: quieter) 2) –est (superlative) (e. g. : loudest) Problems in morphological description What is the inflectional morpheme that makes sheep the plural of sheep, or men as the plural of man? Allomorphs: Different ways in which you can realize a certain morpheme (e. g. ast tense, plural). There are at least 2 different morphs (-s & -es) used to realize the inflectional morpheme ‘plural’. Cat + plural, bus + pl. , sheep + pl. , man + pl. In the case of sheep we have in English a ‘zero-morph’ because the plural of sheep is sheep. There are also allomorphs for the morpheme ‘past tense’. E. g. walk + past tense (-ed), go + past tense (went = irregular form). Why does john’s car have such unusual tyres? It is scary! Why: functionaltyre: lexical John: lexicals: plural ‘s: inflectional it: functional Car: lexicalis: functional Have: lexicalscar: lexical

Such: functionaly: derivational Un: derivational Usual: lexical 7 Grammar The parts of speech/ word classes 1. Article(lidwoord) 2. Adjective(bijvoeglijk naamwoord) 3. Noun(zelfstandig naamwoord) 4. Verb(werkwoord) 5. Adverb(bijwoord) Ad 5 Bijwoord zegt iets over een willekeurig element van de zin dat geen zelfst. nw. is (anders zou het een bijv. nw. zijn). Bijwoorden geven een tijd, plaats, ontkenning of modaliteit aan en beantwoorden meestal vragen als hoe, waar, wanneer, in hoeverre. 6. Preposition(voorzetsel; onverbuigbaar woord als aan, bij, door, in, om, tussen) 7.

Pronouns (voornaamwoord; persoonlijk vnw. , bezittelijk vnw. , aanwijzend vnw. ) Ad 7 Het woord of de woordgroep waarnaar verwezen wordt, heeft een bepaalde zelfstandigheid (in de meeste gevallen gaat het om een zelfstandignaamwoord) 8. Conjunctions (voegwoord; woord dat twee deelzinnen met elkaar verbindt, meestal hoofdzin met de bijzin (noch, en, of, daarom, terwijl, mits, zodra, behalve) Agreement is partially based on the category of number (is the noun singular or plural? ). It is also based on the category of person (1st person (I), 2nd (You), 3rd (He, She, It)) E. Cathy loves her dog The verb loves ‘agrees with’ the noun Cathy (3rd person, therefore loves and not love). The form of the verb can be described in the category of tense (loves vs loved). The sentence is in the category of the active voice vs. passive voice. The final category is gender. In English we describe in terms of natural gender vs grammatical gender in French (C’est sa chambre, de Hugo. ) Prescriptive approach Approach of a number of influential grammarians in the 18th century in England who set out rules for the ‘proper’ use of English, based on grammar rules in Latin.

Is not really useful for English. Descriptive approach Samples of the language, the regular structures are described as it is used, not how it ‘should be’ used. Two methods: 1 Structural analysis investigates the distribution of forms in a language. The method involves ‘test frames’. E. g. The … makes a lot of noise. I heard a … yesterday. 2 Constituent analysis is designed to show how small constituent (or components) in sentences go together to form larger constituents. See pg 88, 89; figures 7. 2, 7. 3, 7. 4, 7. 5. Art(article)V(verb) N(noun)VP(verb phrase) NP(noun phrase)S(sentence) 8 Syntax

For the analysis of the syntax of a language, we try to adhere to the ‘all and only’ criterion. It must account for all the grammatically correct phrases and only to those. The goal of syntactic analysis is to have a small and finite set of rules (generative grammar used to ‘generate’ sentence structures and not just to describe them) that can produce an infinite number of well-formed structures. Deep and surface structure Deep structure can be the source of many other surface structures (the meaning, what you want to say) (is it a passive or an active sentence, a question or a statement, etc. . The deep structure is the ‘underlying level’ where the basic components (NP + V + NP) can be represented; words at ground level. When we apply the rules, we get the surface. Structural ambiguity E. g. Annie bumped into a man with an umbrella. Or: Small boys and girls. It has two distinct underlying interpretations that have to be represented differently in deep structure. Iow: 1 deep structure and 2 surface structures. The opposite: 2 deep structures, 1 surface structure: 1) The girl saw the dog 2) The dog was seen by the girl Recursion

Recursive (repeatable any number of times) rules can be applied more than once in generating a structure. E. g. The gun was on the table near the window in the bedroom. Or: John believed that Cathy knew that Mary helped George. Tree diagrams The most common way to create a visual representation of syntactic structure is a tree diagram [pic] Symbols used in syntactic analyses Ssentencenpnoun phrase pnproper noun Nnounvpverb phrase advadverb Vverbadjadjective preppreposition Artarticlepropronoun pppreposition phrase (‘consists of’ or ‘rewrites as’ (NP ( Art N) (e. g.

A dog) *Ungrammatical sentence () optional constituent {} one and only one of these constituents must be selected Phrase structure rules A tree diagram represents not only one sentence but a very large number of sentences with similar structures. With this approach we can generate a very large number of sentences with apparently a very small number of rules: phrase structure rules (e. g: NP ( Art N/ S ( NP VP/ VP ( V NP (PP) (Adv)/ PP ( Prep NP) Lexical rules Specify which words can be used when we write constituents such as N. E. g. ‘a proper noun rewrites as Mary or George. PN ({Mary, George}

N ({girl, dog, boy} Art ({a, the} V ({followed, helped, saw} Movement rules In making a question, we move one part of the structure to a different position (e. g. : You will help Mary; Will you help Mary? ) We need to include an auxiliary verb (Aux) as part of the sentence. Complementizer, complement phrases A complementizer (C) e. g. ‘That’. A complement phrase rewrites as a complementizer and a sentence’ CP ( C S (that Mary helped George) VP ( V CP (knew that Mary helped George) (see figure 8. 6, pg 106) 9 Semantics Semantics is the study of the meaning of words, phrases and sentences.

This approach is concerned with objective or general meaning and avoids trying to account for subjective or local meaning. Conceptual meaning: basic, essential components of meaning by the literal use of a word. (E. g. ‘needle’: thin, sharp, steel instrument) Associative meaning: different associations of different people. (E. g. ‘needle’: pain, blood, drugs, knitting) Semantic features Semantic features are e. g. ‘animate’, ‘human’, ‘female’, etc. The sentence The hamburger ate the boy has a well-formed structure according to the basic syntactic rules.

The kind of noun that can be the subject of the verb ‘ate’ must denote an entity that is capable of ‘eating’. The noun has to have a crucial element or feature like ‘animate being’. Semantic roles (also called ‘thematic roles’) The boy kicked the ball The wind blew the ball away A car ran over the ball Agents are typically human (the boy) but can also be non-human entities (the wind). Theme is typically non-human, but can be human: The dog (Agent) chased the boy (Theme) or The boy (Agent) cut himself (Theme). Instrument ‘The boy cut the rope with an old raisor’

Experiencer ‘The boy feels sad’ Location Where the entity is (on the table, in the room) Source Where the entity moves from (from Chicago) Goal Where the entity moves to (to New Orleans) Lexical relations Characterizing the meaning of words in its relationship with other words. Synonymy almost/nearly, big/large, buy/purchase. Antonymy Two forms with opposite meaning: alive/dead, big/small. Antonyms can be gradable (small(big) or non-gradable: male/female, married/single, dead/alive. Hyponymy When one form is included in the meaning of another: animal/dog, dog/poodle, vegetable/carrot.

Superordinate (higher-level) terms: animal & insect. Co-hyponyms words that share the same superordinate term: dog, horse(animal. Prototypes The idea of ‘the characteristic instance’ of a category, the clearest example. Homophones Words with the same pronunciation but written differently: bare/bear, meat/meet, flour/flower, to/too/two. Homonyms When one form has two unrelated meanings: bank (river)/bank (financial institution); bat (animal)/ bat (baseball); pupil (eye)/ pupil (school). Polysemy Words with the same form and related meaning: head, foot, run.

Metonymy Relationship between words based in a close connection in everyday experience: bottle/water, can/juice, car/wheels, house/roof, king/crown, the President/ the White House. Collocation A way to organize our knowledge of words based on the frequency that they occur together: hammer/nail, table/chair, salt/pepper. 10 Pragmatics Pragmatics: The study of what speakers mean, or ‘speaker meaning’ (Or ‘invisible meaning’. ). The influence of context is essential: 1. Linguistic context (co-text): e. g. I go to the bank (homonym) to withdraw money. 2. Physical context: e. g. he word BANK on the wall of a building Deixis Deictic expressions (deixis (gr. ) = pointing): e. g. you, it, tomorrow, here, today. 1 personal deixis: him, them, those idiots 2 spatial deixis: here, there, near that 3 temporal deixis: now, then, last week Reference Words themselves do not refer to anything, people refer. Reference is the act by which a speaker (or writer) uses language to enable a listener (or reader) to identify something. For each word or phrase there is a ‘range of reference’: Jennifer is my friend (a specific Jennifer is referred to, not all the Jennifers in the world).

Inference: Additional information used by the listener to create a connection between what is said and what must be meant (e. g. We saw Shakespeare in London/Jennifer is wearing Calvin Klein. ) Anaphora: Referring back to a new referent (e. g. He washed the puppy. It jumped out of the bath. Antecedent: The puppy. The connection between antecedents and anaphoric expressions is often based on inference. E. g. : We found a house to rent, but the kitchen was very small. (If X is a house, X must have a kitchen. ) Presupposition: What a speaker assumes is true or known by a listener.

To check for the presuppositions underlying sentences you negate a sentence with a particular presupp. and see if the presupp. remains true: My car is a wreck (( My car is not a wreck. The underlying presupp. : ‘I have a car’ remains true. This is called ‘the constancy under negation’. Speech acts This term is used to describe actions such as ‘requesting’, ‘commanding’, ‘questioning’ or ‘informing’. E. g. ‘I’ll be there at six’ is the speech act of promising. Direct speech act: e. g. ‘Can you ride a bicycle? ’ (Direct speech act of questioning) Indirect speech act: e. g. Can you pass me the salt? ’ (Structured as a question, but meant as a command, request. ) Politeness In the study of linguistics, the most relevant concept is ‘face’. Politeness can be defined as showing awareness and consideration of another person’s face. Face-threatening act: e. g. ‘Give me that paper! ’ Face-saving act: ‘Could you pass me the paper? ’ Negative face: e. g. ‘I’m sorry to bother you, but…’; I know you are busy, but…’ Positive face: e. g. ‘Let’s do this together’; ‘You and I have the same problem, so…’ The way language is used to be polite differs from one country to the next.

Cite this The Study of Language

The Study of Language. (2016, Sep 18). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-study-of-language/

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