語言學概論What islanguage 1

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語言學概論What islanguage 1

  1. 1. What Is Language? Ching-Fen Hsu 2013/9/13 Lecture 1
  2. 2. Linguistic Knowledge • Language: human essence; distinctive qualities of mind; unique to man; separate human from animals; human life and power • Lg ability means to produce strings of sounds (signify meanings) & understand or interpret others’ sounds • 5yrs proficient at speaking & understanding; can produce relative clauses without knowing that it is • Language ability is innate as walking ability without knowing principles of balance
  3. 3. Knowledge of Sound System • Knowing possible or impossible sounds in the system • Different lgs have their sound systems, e.g., /th/ in English does not exist in French (/z/ instead) • Second lg learners substitute sounds from other lgs • Phonotactics: principles of rule combinations in a lg, e.g., /nk/ is impossible word initial in English • Children develop sound patterns of lg rapidly
  4. 4. Knowledge of Words • Knowing which sequences of sounds relate to specific meanings & which do not • Arbitrary relation of form & meaning: words signify concepts, e.g., ‘house’ for • Form (sounds) vs. meaning (concept) are by convention; true in spoken & sign lgs • Sound symbolism: pronunciation of words = meaning, e.g., onomatopoeic (buzz, murmur): imitation of sounds associated with objects or actions (cock-a-doodle-doo for English crow; how about Chinese?)
  5. 5. Creativity of Linguistic Knowledge • Number of sentences in a lg is infinite • Knowing a lg means being able to create, produce, & understand new sentences • Creativity: universal property of human lg • Knowledge of S & non-S • Understand infinite number of well-formed S • Distinguish grammatical & ungrammatical S • S = organization of words + rules of S formation • Rules (=grammar) are finite & S are infinite
  6. 6. Linguistic Knowledge & Performance • Difference bet producing & understanding S (competence) & applying knowledge (performance) • Grammar: knowledge that speakers have about units & lg rules • Lg rules: combining sounds into words (phonology), word formation (morphology), coming phrases into S (syntax), assigning meanings (semantics) • Competence: grammar + lexicon (mental dictionary) • Understand nature of lg = nature of grammar
  7. 7. Descriptive Grammar • Linguist’s description of grammar or lg itself • A model of speakers’ linguistic capacity • Describe basic linguistic knowledge, but not how you should speak • Grammatical S: rules of mental grammar • Ungrammatical S: deviation from rules • No lg or lg variety (dialect) is superior or inferior to any others in linguistic sense • Every lg is equally complex, logical, capable of producing infinite S to express thoughts
  8. 8. Prescriptive Grammars • Some claim certain correct forms should use in speaking & writing • 1762 Bishop Robert Lowth on A Short Introduction to English Grammar with Critical Notes e.g., I don’t have none == I don’t have any You was wrong about that == You were... • double negatives are inferior • Prescriptive grammar: describe rules they should follow • All lg & dialects are rule-governed • Standard usage is used for social prestige
  9. 9. Universal Grammar • Universal rules give us a window into human faculty of lg • General rules: features common to all lgs vs. special grammar, e.g., universal categories of nouns & verbs • UG: blueprint for all lgs to follow for lg learning; part of children’s innate capacity; laws of human lg • Specifies different components of grammar & relations, how different rules construct, how rules interact • Linguistic theory discovers nature of UG
  10. 10. Development of Grammar • How lg is acquired • None of social factors influences lg development; children acquire any lg exposed to with ease • Babbling => words => simple S => complex S • Children who cannot count 5 master lg • Children only learn particular lg, not all rules • Sign lg provide evidence to support UG • Sign = visual-gestural system, own grammatical rules, mental lexicon (equivalent to spoken lg) • Slips of the hand = slips of the tongue • Deaf children babble with hands; independent of modality, lg acquisition relies on cognitive capacity
  11. 11. What Is Not (Human Language)? • Human beings are designed for human lg • Animal has communication system, e.g., creative spider? Fiddler crabs to wave claws • Human lg is discrete (source of creativity) and composed of units based on grammar rules • Individual parts can be arranged & rearranged to form infinite number of expressions • Bird calls (simple & short notes) & birdsongs (complex & long notes) do not have internal structure, only relate immediate E & needs
  12. 12. Human Language Characteristics • Displacement: capacity to talk messages related or unrelated to here & now • Displacement & discreteness: two fundamental properties to distinguish human lg from communication systems of animals • Birdsongs are acquired in several stages as children acquire lg; from simple to complex • Critical periods for birdsongs & human lg • Lg acquisition involves learned & innate structure; variation can develop (e.g., dialects)
  13. 13. Bee Dances • Honeybees have particular signaling system • Dance for food source: location & quality • Italian honeybees dance three patterns: round (location near hive <20 feet); sickle (20-60 feet from hive), tail-wagging (>60 feet) • Repetition number per minute of basic pattern: precise distance • Slower repetition rate = longer distance • Dance intensity = richness of food source • Livelier & more repetition = more food • Honeybee topic is the same: food (ㄨdisplacement + creativity)
  14. 14. Can Animals Learn Human Language? • Parrots & mynahs can be taught to reproduce • Have no ability to produce unlimited utterances • Imitation has no communicative function • Knowing how to produce sound sequence ≠ knowing a lg • German border collie Rico understand 200-word vocabularies & picked a novel toy from familiar toys 70% correctly • US border collie Chaser understand 1022 toys (in 3yrs)! • Dogs associate sound sequence with objects or actions rather than understand them • Animals give signals associated with immediate E & emotional state • How about chimpanzees? Spoken? Sign?
  15. 15. Language and Thought • Lg structure influences how speakers perceive the world • Linguistic determinism: Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis (strong version) • Spoken lg determines how we perceive & think about the world; lg acts like a filter on reality • Linguistic relativism: weak version SWH • Different lgs encode diff categories & speakers think the world in diff ways; e.g., Novaho: blue + green = one word; Russian: light blue vs. dark blue = diff words; native English Zuni: yellow + orange = same word
  16. 16. Rethinking Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis • Strong version is false; peoples’ thoughts & perceptions are not determined by words & structures of lgs, e.g., tenses in Chinese & card- sorting exp on colors (color perception is determined by human eye but not lg structure) • Humans are not prisoners of linguistic systems • Hopi languages have other expressions for time, e.g., Chinese, adverbial phrases; Hopi people use diff kinds of calendars & sundials • Munduruku in Brazilian Amazon do not have triangle, square, rectangle, but can understand them
  17. 17. Language Relativism • Translation bet lgs is possible; second lg learning is possible; one word = several words • Grand Valley Dani in New Guinea have only black & white but can recognize red in exp • Color perception is determined by structure of human eye, not by structure of lg • World experience creates words (Eskimo Inuit’s snow) but not lg conditions Inuits’ experience of world • Lg does influence thought/cognition: Russians are better at discriminating light blue & dark blue; abortion-right to choose vs. right to life
  18. 18. Euphemism • Euphemistic terms are created to replace negative words • Crippled => handicapped => disabled => challenged • Language does not determine how we think about and perceive the world • Words & grammar of a lg may affect aspects of cognition, such as categorization & memory
  19. 19. Question?

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