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Slide 1 Intro: Who am I? Who are you? The nature of this course and various courselike business  Syllabus – website:

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Presentation on theme: "Slide 1 Intro: Who am I? Who are you? The nature of this course and various courselike business  Syllabus – website:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Slide 1 Intro: Who am I? Who are you? The nature of this course and various courselike business  Syllabus – website:  Please come to class  Do the homework and problem sets (even if late)  There will be TAs for this course with special study sessions – info will be available at my website  Language Mini-Research Project and HW1 Language Mini-Research Project HW1

2 Slide 2 What is linguistics?  The study of how language works But what is language?

3 Slide 3 Human language different from animal communication  Speech organs designed for eating breathing AND speech  Humans also geared for speech perception But what is language?  Native speakers  Creativity of language  Creativity within systematic constraints

4 Slide 4 Systematic Creativity Nouns used as verbs The boat is on the beachThe captain will beach the boat Keep the airplane on the groundThe pilot will ground the airplane Put the wine in the bottleYou will bottle the wine I watched a tv show on my TiVOI will Tivo Heroes on Monday night Can say ”jail the robber” but not “prison the robber” because we already have the word imprison Why limitations to creativity? If new words constantly being made, then we wouldn’t understand each other - loss of systematicity

5 Slide 5 Systematic Creativity Patterns of sounds a. Praspd. *psapr b. clibe. *bfli c. travf. *tlick Word formation, pronunciation and meaning Traveme - a small trip Travemic = ? Travemicize = ? Travemicization = ?

6 Slide 6 Linguistic competence - what you know about language as a native speaker a subconscious set of rules, units, and mental constructs that enables the native speakers of a language to produce and understand an unlimited number of both familiar and novel utterances.

7 Slide 7 Grammar = the mental system that allows human beings to form and interpret the sounds, words and sentences of their language. (all elements of linguistic competence) Components of a grammar: 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

8 Slide 8 All languages have grammar (generality) If no grammar, no system and if no system, no communication and no language All grammars are equal (parity) No such thing as a primitive grammar or language No such thing as good grammar or bad grammar Myths about language Some languages are ungrammatical Some languages are better than others

9 Slide 9 Linguistics is descriptive Goal is to describe and explain the facts of languages and varieties Not prescriptive To prescribe the correct way to say something The English words Mary, merry and marry should be pronounced differently because they are spelled differently Some dialects of English do not make vocalic distinctions in certain words before /r/ when /r/ is followed by another syllable.

10 Slide 10 Linguistics is descriptive vs. prescriptive Coffee shop with a sign: “We’re sorry - no blended drinks today. The blender is broke.” The past participle of the verb to break should be “broken” Variation is found in the past participle of the verb to break and we hear “broken” and sometimes “broke”

11 Slide 11 All grammars have things in common (Universality) Universal traits that exists in all varieties of language All languages can have subjects, objects and verbs, but what order they can occur in in a sentence is language specific

12 Slide 12 English Changes Before Ic ne sey not (‘I don’t say’) He ne speketh nawt (‘He doesn’t speak’) I seye not the wordes We saw nawt the knyghtes. About I will not say the words. (*I will say not the words.) He did not see the knights. (*He saw not the knights.) Grammars change over time (mutability) Language is changing all the time

13 Slide 13 Grammatical knowledge is subconscious (inaccessibility) hunted, slipped, buzzed Something is grammatical in linguistics if a native speaker can say it in a natural way - this grammatical knowledge is what you feel like you can and can’t say (possible/impossible not should/shouldn’t) The blender is broke Something is ungrammatical in linguistics if a native speaker of a language would never say it in that way *broke the is blender

14 Slide 14 Prescriptive attitudes about language… The Oregonian Regarding Jeff Conn's opinions about whether or not Portlanders are developing their own unique dialect - Piffle! I've lived in Portland - and other western locations - and here's my take: Intelligently spoken "western speech" that is free of recently introduced speech influences from other regions (i.e. southern, Bostonian, ethnic, etc.) is the purest and most accent free English in the whole world. If you doubt me, go to England and converse with normal, everyday folks. Most have terrible pronunciation. Many of them are borderline unintelligible. London east-ender "Cockney" is totally indecipherable! Then go north to Scotland. Delightful people, but what they speak sounds nothing like what the dictionary pronunciation guide says it should sound like. Same thing in Ireland, and Australia. Lovely people. Terrible speech habits. But back to the U.S. There are too many people moving from other regions into our western stronghold to justify calling any bad speech habits as being anything but temporary. By far the biggest influence on Pacific Northwest speech is the same as with other western regions - and probably other parts of the country; namely, teenagers develop their own subnormal vocabulary and way of speaking. Although much more extreme than with previous generations, subnormal has always been associated with teenagers. The big difference now is that when young people eventually mature, they don't drop their language in favor of adult speech. Our adult language has become the prisoner of "teenspeak," and that is an utter abomination. True, languages evolve; but adults copying the speech of rebellious anti-social youth is not the hallmark of a great society. And this decline of the American language will probably continue indefinitely; when was the last time you heard a teenager say "It's time for me to speak good, correct English?" Like, man, it'll never happen. "'S'up?" "He goes," "She goes." Our language is dying, but it had a pretty good run. Luckily for me, most of my life has been during the good part.

15 Slide 15 Video: American Tongues Ch 1 Review Linguistic competence Prescriptive grammar/attitudes Descriptive grammar/attitudes Universality

16 Slide 16 Components of a grammar (fields of linguistics): 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 REVIEW

17 Slide 17 All languages have grammar If no grammar, no system … and if no system, no communication and no language All grammars are equal No such thing as a primitive grammar or language No such thing as good grammar or bad grammar REVIEW

18 Slide 18 Linguistics is descriptive Goal is to describe and explain the facts of languages and varieties (What we really do and don’t do) Not prescriptive To prescribe the correct way to say something (What we “should” or “ought” to do and not do) REVIEW

19 Slide 19 For next time: Read chapter 1 to go over what we talked about today Start chapter 2 and we will start on phonetics.


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