Ling 001: Linguistic Typology
Part 1: Review and Introductory
Notions
Following our look at
grammatical structures
• To this point we have examined linguistic
structures at various sizes:
–
–
–
–
Sound structure
Word Structure
Sentence Structure
Interpretation and Meaning
• This investigation, while dealing with different
areas, shows common components
Properties of the different
areas
• Some common themes
– Linguistic representations involve abstract structures (i.e.
structures that we don’t hear or see per se)
– E.g. the way that speech sounds are organized suggests an
analysis in terms of dimensions like place and manner of
articulation
– In addition, the way that linguistic objects (speech sounds,
morphemes, words) function in combination provides
evidence for the abstract structures and rules employed by
speakers (although of course without their explicit
knowledge)
Relating this to the central
point
• Remember in addition that there is a central
argument that we began with
– Language is not a cultural invention; it is
something that the human brain develops along
the lines of walking
– Language learners are guided in learning the
(abstract!) rules of how language is structured by
innate linguistic competence
– In an abstract sense, all languages are ‘the
same’, that is, they accomplish the same things
and are all reflections of this innate endowment
Further considerations and
questions
• At the same time, we know that
languages differ from one another (i.e.
when we don’t make the abstraction
above)
• Question: How do we talk about these
differences in light of the hypothesis that
there is something universal and innate
to human language?
Plan
• Review some facts about languages of
the world
• Examine different areas in which
languages differ
• Talk about the nature of such
differences
Languages: Basic Facts
• How many languages are there?
According to the Ethnologue database,
there were in 2000 a total of
6,809 living languages in the world
• Naturally the different languages have
distinct geographical distributions
Geography
• Distribution:
Americas: 1013
Africa: 2058
Asia: 2197
Europe: 230
Pacific:1311
Comments
• When the numbers of languages are given in
such terms, it is to be assumed that the
number of speakers varies greatly
• E.g. Mandarin Chinese is reported to have
874 million speakers, whereas some
languages have only a single speaker
remaining
• In addition, counts are subject to questions of
what counts as a (first) language and so on,
and are thus not absolute (see below)
The Ethnologue Top 10
•
Top 10:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Language
n(million)
Mandarin Chinese
874
English
341
Spanish
322-358
Bengali
207
Hindi
181
Portuguese
176
Russian
167
Japanese
125
German
100
Korean
78
Counting
• It was noted above that the numbers depend
a lot on how the counting is defined
• Consider e.g. Arabic, one of the world’s major
‘languages’:
– Grouped together, all of the different varieties of
Arabic have 219 million speakers (this would be
number 4)
– However: different local varieties of Arabic are not
mutually intelligible, and are therefore counted
separately
– The difference between e.g. Algerian Colloquial
Arabic and Egyptian Colloquial Arabic is reported
to be like that between e.g. Spanish and
Portuguese
Endangered Languages
• Many of the 6,000-odd "living" languages cited in Ethnologue
are endangered or nearly extinct.
• Roughly half of the world's languages are moribund, in the
sense that new generations of children are not being raised to
speak them.
• Within a century, it is likely that the number of living languages
will be cut at least in half, and may well be fewer than 1,000.
• Thus the current rate of extinction for languages is much greater
than the rate of extinction for biological species. Most people
believe that this loss of linguistic/cultural diversity is a bad thing.
• For languages that can't be saved, it is still possible to document
them for scientific purposes and for the sake of future
generations who might want to study or even revive them.
Talking about differences
• In light of the number of languages found in
the world, our hypothesis about innateness
has to say something about this kind of
variation
• The idea is going to be that the variation isn’t
absolute; rather languages show fixed points
of difference
• This is illustrated in several examples of such
differences in this and the following lecture
Basic Difference:
Sound/Meaning Connections
• One obvious point is that languages differ in
terms of how sounds are paired with
meanings
• For instance, one thing we have to learn
when we learn a foreign language is what the
words of that language are (obviously)
• Examples:
English
Dog
Cat
Tree
German
Hund
Katze
Baum
Differences
• This is just the arbitrariness of sound/meaning
connections viewed across languages
• It may be that languages have different vocabularies
for different things
• This has caused some to think that the language that
we speak fundamentally affects how we think about
or categorize reality
• This is the so-called Whorfian Hypothesis: language
determines thought
• This hypothesis has been largely discredited, as
discussed in various places
Interpreting this
• Given that languages are simply going
to vary in terms of their set of
sound/meaning connections; some
further questions
– What other types of variation are there?
• Variation in inventories
• Variation in e.g. word-order requirements
– How much variation is there when we are
looking at rules rather than inventories?
Inventory Differences
• Another way in which languages differ is in
terms of their inventories of elements
• Recall that we discussed this in our unit on
phonology:
– English: 30 something phonemes
– Abkhaz: A language spoken in the Caucasus;
one dialect has c. 67 consonant phonemes
– Hawaiian: smaller phoneme inventory
Inventory Differences, cont.
• Remember that we are interested in breaking down
phonemes into more abstract units; features for
– Place of articulation
– Manner of articulation
– Voicing; etc.
• The idea in this type of variation is that a restricted
inventory defined in these terms is in principle
available, and that specific languages make specific
choices from that inventory.
Inventory, cont.
• Inventory differences show up in e.g.
morphology as well; consider number (recall
morphology slides)
– English: Singular and Plural
• I go, we go, etc.
– Classical Greek: Dual as well:
• Lu-ei `he/she/it looses’
• Lue-ton `they-2 loose’
• Luo-usi `they loose’
– Lihir (Oceanic)
• Wa `you’
• Gol `you-2’
• Gotol `you-3’
• Gohet `you-PAUCAL’
• Go `you-PL’
Further differences
• When it comes to morphology and syntax, we
see another way in which languages differ
• With morphology:
– What is expressed ‘in a word’ differs greatly from
language to language
– Similarly, whether or not we see discrete pieces,
or multiple adjustments to a single piece
• With syntax:
– how trees are linearized (where the head of the
phrase is)
– Fixed vs. free word order
Syntactic differences
• In syntactic typology, we see other
types of differences; some cases that
involve the order of words and phrases:
– Whether a language has a fixed wordorder or not
– What the fixed word-order of the language
is in the first place
– Whether there have to be subject and
object Noun Phrases in the first place
English Word Order
• One fact that is clear about English is that
major constituents occur in a fixed order:
– Subject Verb Object (SVO)
• Other orders change the meaning; put
differently
– The cat chased the dog; and
– The dog chased the cat.
Describe different events altogether. In English, information about the
Subject and the Object requires a fixed syntactic order
• Think carefully about e.g.
– The cat, the dog chased
General Patterns
• The general pattern- one that accounts for
part of the word order facts- is that in English,
the heads of phrases precede the
complements of the heads
• Recall that we have phrases like XP with
head X
• In English we find [X YP], not YP X
• E.g. PP: [to [the store]]; VP [eat [an apple]]
Another way of putting this
• The trees we draw for constituent structures
are like mobiles
• Linear orders respect these structures: lines
cannot cross
•
V
eat
VP
NP
N
apples
*[[the apples] eat]
Ok: [ eat [the apples]]
• Later we’ll see languages that have this tree
structure, but a different order for the
elements
Remember
• The example of inversion with auxiliaries:
– Is [the unicorn that is in the garden] t eating
apples?
• In order to know which is to move to the front,
we have to know the phrase structure. The
linear order does not tell us.
• In the way we think about syntax, the mobile
is important for movement and other syntactic
phenomena, but in the end it has to have a
linear order
English Phrases
• The fact that the head precedes the
complement is general in English; this is
called the head-initial pattern
• In other languages, as we will see later, the
reverse pattern is found; these are head-final
patterns
• There are sporadic examples in English in
which the reverse appears to be found as
well:
Examples with notwithstanding notwithstanding,
English is a head-initial language
Elsewhere
• Some languages are primarily headfinal; e.g. Hindi. Compare
– Rahul had read the book.
– Rahul-ne kitaab-ko paRh-aa thaa
Rahul
book
read
AUX
• There’s a kind of “mirror-image” effect
here (think trees…)
Structures
S
NP
Rahul
AuxP
Aux
had
VP
V
read
NP
the book
This is the English version….
Head final
S
NP
Rahul
AuxP
VP
NP
the book
Aux
V
read
“had”
This is the Hindi version. Look carefully at what has
changed.
A puzzle
• Which “basic” orders are possible?
• What about VSO:
– Welsh:
• Lladdodd y ddraig y dyn.
killed the dragon the man
‘The dragon killed the man.’
See the next lecture…
Free Word Order
• Some languages do not require major
constituents to appear in a fixed order
• Such languages are sometimes
described as having free word order
• In such languages, participants in the
event and subject, object etc. are
identified by other means
Examples
• One language with free word order is
Mapudungun, which is spoken in Chile
and Argentina
• Here is a basic sentence:
INche pefin metawe
I
see vessel
‘I see the vessel’
Word Orders
• In addition to allowing SVO sentences,
all of the other possible arrangements
are grammatical as well:
– INche metawe pefin.
– Metawe iNche pefin.
– Metawe pefin iNche
– Pefin metawe iNche
– Pefin iNche metawe
SOV
OSV
OVS
VOS
VSO
Agreement and Free Word
Order
• How are the grammatical roles of these noun phrases
determined?
• Above the verb is given as
pefin
• This verb actually has a lot of information in it:
Pe-fi-n
See-Object.Marker-1sS
• That is, the verb says that the subject is first person singular,
and that there is a third person object.
• Thus the different word orders can be understood as expressing
the same basic proposition
Descargar

Ling 001: Linguistic Typology