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Language Systems COM 370—Psychology of Language John R. Baldwin.

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2 Language Systems COM 370—Psychology of Language John R. Baldwin


4 A Model of Language &pos=15&p=slim+shady&fr=yfp-t-501 Y'all act like you never seen a white person before Jaws all on the floor like Pam, like Tommy just burst in the door … I'm like a head trip to listen to, cause I'm only givin you things you joke about with your friends inside your living room The only difference is I got the balls to say it in front of y'all and I don't gotta be false or sugarcoated at all I just get on the mic and spit it…

5 Applying the model ► Syntax:  Sentence structure  Parts of speech ► Morphemes  Locate different types of morphemes: ► Bound, unbound ► Derivational, inflectional ► Phonemes ► Semantics ► Context

6 Language Systems Elements of Language: Once over Lightly… ► Phonetics: the sounds of a language ► Phonology: how sounds are put together ► Morphology:  the breaking up of sounds into words: ► Ihavetogohomeearlytoday. ► I have to go home early today ► Rhaidimifyndadre’ngynnarheddiw ► Rhaid I mi fynd adre’n gynnar heddiw  the parts of sounds that have meaning, can work together: “coffeelike”; “bookly” “incentivate”


8 Language Systems (continued) ► Syntax: the arrangement of sounds into grammatical sentences  You up pick at o’clock will eight  I will picks you up at eight o’clock  I will pick you up at eight o’clock  At eight o’clock, I will pick you up ► Grammaticality (is it correct?) versus semantic acceptability (does it make sense?)

9 Language Systems (continued) Semantics: the meaning of utterances ► Ambiguity (more than one possible meaning)  I like chocolate cakes and pies.  I’ll meet you at the bank.  Visiting relatives can be dreadful  I saw her duck ► Semantic “equivalence”?  John is an unmarried male = John is a bachelor?  The car bumped the truck = The truck was bumped by the car?  Spanish: “Las llaves se me perdieron.”

10 Language Systems (continued) ► Pragmatics: the relation of language to context; social conventions, etc. ► How (when, to whom) would you…  ask a favor?  point out something potentially embarrassing?  Tell a joke ► Styles of Speech: Registers, dialects ► Discourse? Social ideas (ideologies) embedded within the other elements of speech

11 Language Elements 2 ► Phonemic: the sounds ► Phonology: the relation of sounds to sounds ► Morphemic: the relation of sounds to meaning ► Syntax: the relation of words to each other ► Semantics: the relation of words to what they represent ► Pragmatics: the relation of utterances to social settings ► Discourse: the relation of utterances to ideas

12 ► An exercise… Thought questions ► What does/can language do? ► How is human language different from what other animals do?

13 Language in a System: Communication Sending Receiving Interpreting All of These Meaning Pragmatic Conceptual




17 Language productivity (continued) ► EMERGENT ► EVOLVES ► BUT ALWAYS RULE GUIDED (set by language and culture)  Phonetic  Semantic  Syntactic  Pragmatic

18 A thought question:


20 Now…in more detail: Phonetics ► What are the phonemes in the following words?  “wash”  “strength”  “milieu”  “foyer”  “limber” ► Explain how you produce these sounds? ► What are some phoneme types in other languages that English does not have? What are some phonetic confusions with other languages?

21 Phonemes and the mouth…

22 (phonetics) ► ► What are some types of phonemes? (how would you label them)? Useful terms in describing them?  Consonants / vowels / semi-vowels  The Phonetic Alphabet ► What are some phonemes that do not go together in English? ► Why is this information useful?


24 Morphology ► Morphemes in word structure  Conjugation  Declension  Prefixes and suffixes ► Rules on prefixes and suffixes  Stems with a given affix usually combine to form the same part of speech: -able, -un, -dis  Words joined with an affix usually result in the same part of speech: -usable, disuse, abuse

25 Conjugation English ► I know ► He/she/it knows ► You know ► We know ► Y’all know ► They know ► [yo] conosco ► [tu] conoces ► [él/ella/Ud.] conoce ► [nosotros] conocemos ► [vosotros] conocéis ► [ellos/ellas/Uds] conocen English Greek ► ginosko ► ginoskeis ► ginoskei ► ginoskomen ► ginoskete ► ginoskousin

26 Declension The boy ► Subj: The boy(s) ► Poss: Of the boy(s)/the boy’s(s’) ► IO: (to) the boy(s) ► DO: the boy(s) ► (Vocative): Oh boy! ► Subj:Der Junge/ die jungen ► Gen: Des Jungen/der jungen ► Dat: Dem Jungen/den Jungen ► Acc: Den Jungen/Die Jungen German Greek ► Nom: logos ► Gen: logou ► Abl: logou ► Loc: logo ► Inst: logo ► Dat: logo ► Acc: logon ► Voc: loge

27 Morphology Categorizing Morphemes ► Bound: Needs to be attached to a word  Affixes ► Prefix ► Suffix  Inflectional ► Conjugation : verbs ► Declension: nouns ► Free: Can exist by itself

28 Morphology ► Categorizing Morphemes  Derivational: Change the meaning of the word or the part of speech ► Ex: happy (ADJ) + un = unhappy (ADJ) ► Ex: happy (ADJ) + ness =happiness (N)  Inflectional: Root meaning of word stays the same, as does part of speech ► Conjugation: Ex: She runs; he walked ► Declension: Megan’s; Megans ► [A bad joke]

29 An exercise ► Find the Morpheme


31 Syntax Lexical Categories: clusters or groups of words according to function ► Nouns (N) ► Verbs (V) ► Adjectives (ADJ) ► Adverbs (ADV) ► Determiners (DET) ► Auxiliary Verbs (AV) ► Prepositions (P): (P + NP = PP!) ► Pronouns (PRO)

32 Content and Function Words ► Content words (contentives): “Carry the principal meaning of the sentence” —”name the objects, events, and characteristics that lie at the heart of the message the sentence is meant to convey” (Clark & Clark, 1977, p. 21) ► Function words: The “glue” that holds the content words together, “to indicate what goes with what and how.”

33 Content or Function??? ► Pronoun ► Determiner (e.g., articles) ► Adjectives ► Prepositions ► Nouns ► Conjunctions ► Adverbs and conjunctive adverbs ► Verbs, regular, linking, and auxiliary ► Relative pronouns

34 Syntax Ways to Organize Sentences ► Linear Order ► Hierarchical Structure: Propositions and Constituents: “Semantically coherent groups” Ex: Most executives eat at really fancy restaurants Ex: Enraged Cow Injures Farmer with Ax

35 Clark & Clark Ch. 1 exercises ► Sentence: Wellington’s fresh, young troops defeated Napoleon’s well-trained army.”  Find the “propositions” (p. 10-11)  Diagram the sentence (p. 12) ► Main phrases (NP & VP, or “subject” and “predicate” ► Adjectives, articles, and so on ► Adjective and Adverb clauses  Different ways to say the same thing?  Why is this useful!?


37 Give me Ambiguity, or… ► Defining Ambiguity: ► Types of Ambiguity:  Structural: when constituents can be grouped in more than one way  Lexical: when a word can be a member of more than one lexical category  Semantic: when a word or phrase (or gesture) can mean more than one thing. [Also frequently called lexical!]

38 Examples: Ambiguity ► Larry raises miniature badgers and racoons. ► We need more intelligent leaders. ► Iraq Bombs Gut Factory (headline) ► Free Wales ► Wet Paint ► The little girl hit the child with the toy ► Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim (headline) ► Teacher Strikes Idle Kids (headline)

39 Student Quotes ► “She said she was having problems with her job [at a school]. She said it was because of a bad principle.” ► There was a high degree of gender differentiation within her family, with her father resting on the top. ► Where I work if a person comes in by them self to eat the customers sometimes expect me to sit down and converse with them.

40 ► The only information given about the college was that it was a liberal arts college off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. ► “Stella was flapping and fighting the currants in the river…” ► “In our findings, a variety of beauty definitions arouse.” ► Barthes felt this was the problem with mythic shits. ► The sample could have screwed our data.

41 Applications ► Learning structure and clearer speaking:  PP = preposition + object of preposition ► “This is important for both Susan or myself” ► “This is important for both Susan and I” ► “This is important for both Susan and me”  VT versus VI: “It’s good to be able to critique”  Adjective or Noun?: “lots of positives,” “prejudice,” “the dominate characteristic”  Help! I need an AV: “I would of been there…”  entences/vqlc/post.htm entences/vqlc/post.htm entences/vqlc/post.htm

42 Dude!

43 Productivity: Old Words ► ► ► ► page1.html page1.html page1.html ►

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