Language A Preview Linguistics What is linguistics and why is it important? - Linguistics is the study of how language works. - Language is central to virtually every aspect of human life. Specialization for Language Lungs Lungs Survival Function Speech Function to exchange CO2 and oxygen to supply air for speech Specialization for Language Vocal Cords Vocal Cords Survival Function Speech Function to create seal over passage to lungs to produce vibrations for speech sounds Specialization for Language Tongue Tongue Survival Function Speech Function to move food to teeth and back into throat to articulate vowels and consonants Specialization for Language Teeth Teeth Speech Function Survival Function to break up food to provide place of articulation for consonants Specialization for Language Lips Lips Survival Function to seal oral cavity Speech Function to articulate vowels and consonants Specialization for Language Nose Nose Speech Function Survival Function to assist in breathing to provide nasal resonance during speech A Creative System Language must be creative, allowing novelty and innovation in response to new thoughts, experiences, and situations. Nouns Used as Verbs Noun Use Pull the boat onto the beach Keep the airplane on the ground Tie a knot in the string Put the water in bottles Catch the fish with a spear Clean the floor with a mop Verb Use beach the boat ground the airplane knot the string bottle the water spear the fish mop the floor Linguistic Competence Speakers of a language are able to produce and understand an unlimited number of utterances, including many that are novel and unfamiliar. a. prasp b. flib c. traf Grammar It is the mental system that allows human beings to form and interpret the sounds, words, and sentences of their language. Component Domain Phonetics The articulation and perception of speech sounds Phonology The patterning of speech sounds Morphology Word formation Syntax Sentence formation Semantics The interpretation of words and sentences Generality: All Languages Have a Grammar a. b. c. d. e. Walbiri (an indigenous language of Australia) The two dogs now see several kangaroos. Dogs two now see kangaroos several. See now dogs two kangaroos several. See now kangaroos several dogs two. Kangaroos several now dogs two see. Kangaroos several now see dogs two. The word lu must be placed on the word for ‘dogs’ to indicate that it names the animals that do the seeing rather than the animals that are seen. Parity: All Grammars are Equal a. I seen that. b. They was there. c. He didn’t do nothing. d. He ain’t here. The analysis of language must reflect the way it is actually used, not someone’s idealized vision of how it should be used. Two ways to look at grammar Descriptive grammar – a grammar that seeks to describe human linguistic ability and knowledge. Prescriptive grammar – a grammar that aims to state the linguistic facts in terms of how they should be. joan ellis on October 8th, 2007 4:24 pm Dailywritingtips.com I love your examples but am floored by our culture’s now constant use of “impact” as a verb. Can you clear this up. The growth of the economy will have an impact on millions of people that sounds right to me whereas The growth of the economy will impact millions of people sounds just plain wrong. Help! Joan Ellis Maeve on October 8th, 2007 5:22 pm Dailywritingtips.com Joan, Alas, it’s not the culture, it’s the language. I don’t know about other languages, but in English, it seems that ANY word can be used as a verb. Shakespeare’s Duke of York uses “uncle” as a verb in Richard II: Tut, tut! Grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle. That’s not to say that’s a good thing. I share your annoyance regarding the practice of using the noun”impact” as a verb, but the only “explanation” I can come up with is that it’s possible, so people do it. I dislike other verb-related messing abouts, for example, using the intransitive verb “disappear” transitively as in Uzbek police disappear torture victim. And it still sets my teeth on edge when people talk about “growing the economy,” or “growing a business.” As far as I’m concerned, people grow corn and other crops. They develop or expand businesses. I suppose that all one can do is observe one’s own standards, and try to shed a little light on the usage of one’s nearest and dearest. Jensita on January 3rd, 2008 3:53 pm Dailywritingtips.com Regarding “growing a business”, I think it’s used more as a metaphor than a literal phrase. In its early stages, a young plant, child or other living thing is usually very fragile and requires special needs. In that sense, a business must be treated in the same fashion in order to expand or “grow”. Thinking of it in those terms makes me less inclined to cringe at the phrase “growing a business”. Additionally, one of Merriam-Webster’s definitions for grow is “to promote the development of ” Universality: Grammars Are Alike in Basic Ways 1. 2. 3. 4. All languages use a small set of contrastive sounds that help distinguish words from each other (i.e. /t/ and /d/ sounds) All languages have more consonant sounds than vowel sounds. Any language that has an /f/ also has an /s/. All languages have a vowel that sounds like ‘ah’ in father. Mutability: Grammars Change over Time 1. Prior to 1200, ne before the verb and not after it. We ne seeth nawt the knyghtes. (We didn’t see the knights) 2. By 1400, not (or nawt) typically occurred by itself after the verb. We saw nawt the knyghtes. 3. Several centuries later, English adopted current practice of allowing not to occur after only certain types of verbs (do, have, will, and so on) Inaccessibility: Grammatical Knowledge is Subconscious a. b. c. d. Hunted Slipped Buzzed Flib Inaccessibility: Grammatical Knowledge is Subconscious I went to school. I went to movie. • • • • Mary ate a cookie, and then Johnnie ate a cookie too. Mary ate a cookie, and then she ate some cake too. Mary ate a cookie, and then Johnnie ate some cake too. Mary ate a cookie, and then Johnnie had a snack too. Describe the meaning of each of these new verbs. a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j. We punk-rocked the night away. She dog-teamed her way across the Arctic. We MG’d to Oregon. You should Band-Aid that cut. He Gretzky’d his way to the net. We Greyhounded to Columbus. We’ll have to Ajax the sink. We Windexed the windows. You should Clairol your hair. Let’s carton the eggs. Practice Create three new verbs from nouns. Build a sentence around each of these new verbs. He Van Goghed him. -Bob Costas Which of the following forms are possible words of English? a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. Mbood Frall Coofp Ktleem Sproke Flube Wordms bsarn It is your job to invent new names for new products. Create four new forms that are possible words of English and four that are not. Part of linguistic competence involves the ability to recognize whether novel utterances are acceptable. Consider the following sentences and determine which are possible sentence in English. • • • • • • • • • • • Jason’s mother left himself with nothing to eat. Miriam is eager to talk to. This is the man who I took a picture of. Colin made Jane a sandwich. Is the dog sleeping the bone away? Wayne prepared Zena a cake. Max cleaned the garden up. Max cleaned up the garden. Max cleaned up it. I desire you to leave. That you likes liver surprises me. Consider the following sentences, each of which is acceptable to some speakers of English. Try to identify the prescriptive rules that are violated in each case. a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j. k. l. He don’t know about the race. You was out when I called. There’s twenty horses registered in the show. That window’s broke, so be careful. Jim and me are gonna go campin’ this weekend. Who did you come with? I seen the parade last week. He been lost in the woods for ten days. My car needs cleaned ‘cause of all the rain. Julie ain’t got none. Somebody left their book on the train. Murray hurt hisself in the game. What is the reaction of linguists to the claim that sentences of this sort are wrong?