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1 LIN 1310B Introduction to Linguistics Prof: Nikolay Slavkov TA: Qinghua Tang CLASS 25, April 10, 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "1 LIN 1310B Introduction to Linguistics Prof: Nikolay Slavkov TA: Qinghua Tang CLASS 25, April 10, 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 LIN 1310B Introduction to Linguistics Prof: Nikolay Slavkov TA: Qinghua Tang CLASS 25, April 10, 2007

2 2 Today Announcements and Reminders: -Assignment 3 is due today, April 10. If you need a couple of more days, you can submit it on Thursday by 4pm at the Linguistics department secretariat (either directly to the secretary or in the mailbox). -Assignment 3 marks and an answer key will be posted on the website. If you want your assignment back, you can pick it up from my office (by appointment). -Bring an ID for the final exam. -No office hours after today. You can me to make an appointment if you wish to see me before the final exam. Today’s Lecture: -Finish Semantics -Review for final exam

3 3 Review from last time Interpretation of pronouns (binding theory) C-command: NPa c-commands NPb if the first category above NPa contains NPb. Principle A: a reflexive must be bound (c- commanded by its antecedent) in its minimal IP. Principle B: a pronoun must be free (not c- commanded by its antecedent) in its minimal IP.

4 4 Review from last time Beliefs and attitudes; presupposition. Setting: deictics.

5 5 Discourse Discourse is the connected series of utterances (in a story, conversation, lecture, etc.). Discourse is a source of context that we use when we communicate. Often different elements in a sentence may get their interpretation based on factors/referents outside of the sentence. E.g. The money fell under the table. The burglar picked it up from there.

6 6 Discourse Consider the following data: 1.The girl is playing in the back yard. 2.A girl is playing in the back yard. What is the difference between 1 and 2?  In 1, the definite article the suggests that we somehow know the girl.  In 2, the indefinite article a suggests that we do not know the girl. But how do we get to know or not know the girl?  She may or may not be introduced in the discourse.  Therefore the assignment of the definite or indefinite article is largely determined by discourse.  One key area in discourse analysis is how the distinction between new and old information is presented.

7 7 Discourse Consider the following: John Dunn won the prestigious Pulitzer prize. The prestigious Pulitzer prize was awarded to John Dunn. What is 1 about? What is 2 about?  1 is about John Dunn.  2 is about the prestigious Pulitzer prize.  What a sentence or a portion of a discourse is about is its topic.

8 8 Discourse But how is topic determined? We know intuitively what a sentence or a passage/portion of discourse is about, but how do we know that? In what syntactic position does the topic in the sentences in the previous slide? => in subject position. therefore it seems that topic is often encoded in subject position. i.e. we interpret the subject position as what the sentence is about.

9 9 Discourse Consider the following: Once upon a time, there was a merchant with two sons. The older son wanted to be a scholar. He spent his time reading and studying. As for the other son, he preferred to travel and see the world. =>new info introduced in first sentence; older son=topic in second and third sentence; new topic in the fourth sentence. =>special expressions such as AS FOR can signal new topic.

10 10 Discourse Interestingly, in some languages, there is special morphology that indicates topic. E.g. Japanese: Speaker A: Dare-ga kimasita-ka? Who-Nom came-Ques? Speaker B: John-ga kimasita. John-Nom came. Speaker A: John-wa dare-to kimasita-ka? John-top who-with came-Ques? ‘Who did John come with?

11 11 Conversational Maxims A different factor that plays an important role in interpretation is the rules of conversation. Consider the following: A: Can you help me write my assignment? B: Well, I have a really bad headache. Does speaker B want to help with the assignment? No. But how do we know that. Speaker B does not explicitly say ‘I can’t help you with the assignment’ Yet we somehow know that the answer is no. This is because we can draw inferences, so we don’t necessarily need everything to be said explicitly. That is, we are aware of the conversational implicature.

12 12 Conversational Maxims The rules of conversation can be very intricate and subtle. They may also vary from culture to culture. Can you think of any examples? One general rule that is said to apply to conversational interactions in general is called the cooperative principle.

13 13 Conversational Maxims The Cooperative Principle: Make your contribution appropriate to the conversation. The Cooperative Principle is a very broad, general rule. There are several specific maxims that are part of the Cooperative Principle. Typically these maxims need to be observed in order for normal communication to occur. However, in certain cases, some of the maxims may be violated or suppressed to produce a special effect, or to serve some specific communication purpose.

14 14 Conversational Maxims The Maxim of Relevance: Make your contribution relevant Consider the following: A: Can you help me with this assignment? B: Look there’s a birdie flying in the sky.  The response by speaker B violates the maxim of relevance. There are at least two potential interpretations here. what are they? - one is a complete communication failure; - another is that speaker B wants to change the topic. => so, a maxim is typically obeyed, but can be violated to produce a specific effect, such as changing the topic.

15 15 Conversational Maxims The Maxim of Quality: Make your contribution one that is true. Do not say things that are false or things for which you lack adequate evidence. Consider the following: A: What’s the weather like today? B: It’s snowing (on a sunny day).  B is obviously not telling the truth. What potential interpretations could there be? -failure of communication. (B doesn’t know how to communicate properly) -sarcasm, joke, etc.  So the maxim of quality can be suspended in certain cases when we have specific communication purposes.  The maxim of quality doesn't necessarily mean that people don’t lie. People can have many reasons to lie, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not aware of the maxim of quality.  Politeness is another reason for suspending this maxim.

16 16 Conversational Maxims The maxim of quantity: do not make your contribution any more or any less informative than necessary. Consider the following: A: How do I get to the Rideau Centre? B: Oh, you just take the transitway there. or B: There are these express buses that go on what’s called the transitway. You can take bus 95 in the direction of Orleans and ask the bus driver to let you off at McKenzie King station. The Rideau Centre is right at the bus stop.

17 17 Conversational Maxims The maxim of manner: avoid ambiguity and obscurity; be brief and orderly. Consider the following: A: Whose purse is this? B: It’s my mother’s. or B: It belongs to the person who gave birth to me. Violating the maxim of manner: A: You’ll be fortunate indeed if you can get him to work for you. What are the two interpretations of this sentence?

18 18 FINAL EXAM Cumulative (i.e. will include questions from morphology, syntax and semantics) Longer than the first two tests. Same type of questions (true/false, multiple choice, interpret data, trees, etc.) How to study for the final: review the study guides (posted on the web site), class notes, text chapters and DGD exercises.


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