LANGUAGE AS A SYMBOLIC
SYSTEM FOR
COMMUNICATION
gene:a specific
Basic problem:
THE EMERGENCE OF THE SYMBOLIC
SYSTEMS FOR COMMUNICATION AND
THE GENESIS OF THE HOMO SAPIENS
SAPIENS
The web version is cut and without illustrations
sequence of
nucleotides in DNA or
RNA that is located in
the germ plasm
usually on a
chromosome and that
is the functional unit
of inheritance
controlling the
transmission and
expression of one or
more traits by
specifying the
structure of a
particular polypeptide
and especially a
protein or controlling
the function of other
genetic material
SYMBOL
Something that stands for or suggests
something else by reason of
relationship, association, convention, or
accidental resemblance
e.g. The lion is a symbol of courage
Origin of Language: One
Theory
Early hominines, began using gestures to
communicate intentions within a social
setting.
When Homo erectus moved out of the tropics,
they needed to plan and communicate to
survive seasons of cold temperatures.
By the time archaic Homo sapiens appeared,
finely controlled movements of the mouth and
throat had given rise to spoken language.
EMERGENCE OF LANGUAGE AS A
SYMBOLIC SYSTEM FOR
COMMUNICATION
NO DIRECT EVIDENCE
INDIRECT:
•
BIOLOGICAL CHANGES RELATED
TO SPEECH
•
OTHER SYMBOLIC ACTIVITIES OF
HUMINIDS DOCUMENTED . HOW DID
THEY RELATE TO SPEECH?
OBJECTIVES:
1. DEFINE THE THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
2. CHARACTERIZE WHAT THE LANGUAGE IS
3. DESCRIBE THE EVOLUTION OF THE HOMINIDS
AS A LONG-TERM PROCESS OF BIOLOGICAL
ADAPTATION AND REPRODUCTION OF SOCIAL
BEHAVIOR AIMING NOT ONLY SURVIVAL OF SPECIES
BUT CREATING A NEW WORLD OF CULTURE IN
CONTEXT OF CLIMATIC LOCAL CHANGES AND
CHANGING ENVIRONMENT (MIGRATIONS)
EVOLUTION AS ADAPTATION AND
CREATING A NEW WORLD – THE WORLD
OF CULTURE
A. ADAPTATION AS ACTIVE INTERACTION OF THE HUMINIDS WITH THE NATURE, AND
AS INTERBREEDING
BIOLOGICAL – FROM AUSTRALOPITHECUS TOWARDS HUMAN SAPIENS
SAPIENS
1. AUSTRALOPITHECINES – BIPED
2. HOMO HABILIS – FIRST TOOL MAKERS
3. HOMO ERECTUS AND NEWLY DISCOVERED PRECEDERS – HANDAXE
MAKERS
4. HOMO SAPIENS – THE PROBLEM WITH HOMO NEANDERTHALENLIS
5. HOMO SAPIENS SAPIENS
SOCIAL BEHAVIOR – ADAPTATION, INNERCONTACTS, INTERBREEDING
B. CLIMATE AS A LEADING FACTOR IN THE ADAPTATION
THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
What Is Language?
A
symbolic system for communication of any
kind of information.
Inter-social contacts (sharing experience,
concerns, beliefs and interests)
 Communication between generations.
 One one of the cultural component, without
which the culture would not exist easily. Why?
Between generations
space
Inter-social
Time
Integrative
function
The Biology of Human Speech
air sacs
larynx
tongue
Strikingly, the lowering of the larynx, which
permits a greater variety of articulations with the
tongue, has the consequence of making it much
easier for humans to choke.
Linguistic
The roots of linguistics, the modern
scientific study of language, go back a long
way to the works of ancient grammarians in
India, more than two thousand years ago.
The modern scientific study of language
began in the 17th century with the
accumulation of facts about the languages
spoken by people encountered during the
Age of Exploration.
In the 19th century, laws and principles
of language were formulated.
Many theories of language have been
developed in the 20th century.
Linguistics is the study of
all aspects of language:

Phonetics

Phonology

Morphology

Syntax

Grammar
historical linguistics
The branch of linguistics that studies
the histories of and relationships
between languages, both living and
dead.
descriptive linguistics attempts to
explain the features of a particular
language at one time in its history
and looks at languages as separate
systems without considering how
they might be related to each other.
Science of sounds
Phonetics
Phonology
Systemic study of the
production, transmission, and
reception of speech sounds
The study of abstract rules
that guide the sound patterns
of a language is called
e.g. phonetic alphabet
the patterns, the phonological
(a way to write these sounds down)
theorizing
phoneme
The smallest class of sound that
makes a difference in meaning
(distinctive sounds)
There are often differences in the way a
phoneme is pronounced in a specific
context. The variant pronunciations are
called allophones ("other sounds")
•consonants: p, t, k, b, d, g, č, , f, θ, s, š, h, v, ð, z, ž, m, n, ŋ, l, r, w, y
•vowels: i, u, I, U, e, o, , ə, :, æ, a, ay, aw, oy
•in the ideal case, [ ] = allophone, / / = phoneme.
A classic example of sound alternation in English relates to the [s] found at the beginning of
a syllable before a voiceless stop.
Although a word like spin is basically pin with [s] added, the /p/ in each case is pronounced
differently.
•pin contains an aspirated version of /p/, with a puff of air after the stop is released; this is
written [ph]
•spin contains a plain /p/, without a puff of air after the stop; this is written just [p]
The same is true for pairs like pit~spit, pot~spot, pair~spare, etc.
A simple statement of this alternation is as follows:
allophone [p]
the phoneme /p/
becomes:
allophone
[ph]
immediately
following [s]
at the beginning of
the word
Phonetics refers to the physiological
and acoustic parts of the following
diagram, while phonology resides in the
brain.
writing system
A set of visible or tactile signs used to
represent units of language in a
systematic way.
alphabet
A series of symbols representing the
sounds of a language arranged in a
traditional order.
morphemes
In linguistics, the smallest units of sound that carry a
meaning (e.g. pan, dog)
morphology
The study of the patterns or rules of word formation in
a language (including such things as rules
concerning verb tense, pluralization, and compound
words).
frame substitution
A method used to identify the syntactic units of
language. For example, a category called “nouns”
may be established as anything that will fit the
substitution frame “I see a . . [****]. ”
Signal and Symbol
Pavlov’s classical study of conditioning, a dog that
salivated to the taste of meat was taught to salivate to the
sound of a bell by having the two stimuli paired. After this
training, the ringing of a bell constituted a _______________
for the dog because the meaning, “meat,” was implicit in the
immediate experience of bell ringing; for the dog it had a
natural or self-evident meaning. (p. 90).
a.
symbol
b.
signal
c.
language
d.
grammar
Paralanguage
In human beings, there exists, besides the
first system of signals, a second one,
language, that increases the possibilities of
conditioning. For human beings words can
function as stimuli, so real and effective, that
they can mobilize us just like a concrete
stimulus.
Signals and symbols
Forms of communication.
Can be learned.
Signals are in response to aspects of the immediate
environment
Symbols are arbitrary and can be used independent of a
particular environment.
Gesture
Learned gestures different cultures assign different
meanings to are known as conventional gestures
paralanguage
The extralinguistic noises that accompany language,
for example, those of crying or laughing.
Paralanguage includes not only the way that
people say things but also a variety of
extralinguistic noises called
vocalizations
voice qualities
In paralanguage, the background characteristics of a
speaker’s voice.
There are more than 7000
facial expressions
documented in the
humankind
Two people say to you, “You sure look nice
today.” Although they are saying the same
words, you can tell that one person is being
complimentary and the other sarcastic by
their voice qualities
The Nature of Language
There are approximately 6,000 languages.
All languages are organized in the same basic way.
Spoken languages use sounds and rules for putting the
sounds together.
Sign languages use gestures rather than sounds.
Among the oldest writing systems
in the world is Egyptian
hieroglyphics , developed about
5,000 years ago and in use for
about 3,500 years.
OOn April 10, 1984,
the Northern Ute
became the first
community of Native
Americans in the
United States to affirm
the right of its members
to regain and maintain
fluency in the ancestral
Mastering the verbal system of a foreign language does
not guarantee effective communication because
mastering the non-verbal systems of that foreign
language is also essential. These verbal and nonverbal
systems are connected, and the use of one without the
other might cause a disequilibrium.
Kinesics (body language)
A system of notating and analyzing postures,
facial expressions, and body motions that
convey messages.
proxemics
The cross-cultural study of humankind’s
perception and use of space.
space, distance, and territory.
North Americans and Latin Americans, for example, have
fundamentally different proxemic systems. While North Americans
usually remain at a distance from one another, Latin Americans stay
very close to each other. This simple fact can tell much about these
people's different concepts of privacy. While most North Americans
value privacy, Latin Americans seldom consider it an important
aspect of life.
syntax
In linguistics, the rules or principles of phrase and sentence making.
grammar
The entire formal structure of a language consisting of all observations
about the morphemes and syntax.
language family
A group of languages descended from a single ancestral language.
linguistic divergence
The development of different languages from a single ancestral
language.
glottochronology
In linguistics, a method for identifying
the approximate time that languages
branched off from a common ancestor.
It is based on analyzing core
vocabularies.
Most of the alphabets in use today descended
from the Phoenicians
Indo-European languages
core vocabularies
In language, pronouns, lower numerals, and names for body
parts and natural objects.
pidgin
A language in which the syntax and vocabulary of two other
languages are simplified and combined.
Creole
A pidgin language that has become the mother tongue of
society.
linguistic nationalism
The attempt by ethnic minorities, and even countries to
proclaim independence by purging their languages of foreign
terms.
ethnolinguistics
The study of the relation between language and culture.
linguistic relativity
The proposition that diverse interpretations of reality embodied in
languages yield demonstrable influences on thought.
gendered speech
Distinct male and female syntax exhibited in various languages around
the world.
dialects
Varying forms of a language that reflect particular regions or social
classes and that are similar enough to be mutually intelligible.
code switching
The process of changing from one
language or dialect to another.
displacement
The ability to refer to things and events
removed in time and space
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Chapter 3