Ch 1 Introduction Linguistics: The scientific study of language. Rooted in our everyday knowledge of, thinking about, and talking about Lx Takes a descriptive approach (vs. prescriptivist school-based approaches) Empirically based: describes and accounts for patterns in speech and language
Linguistics-linked to many fields: Humanities: philology & philosophy; language teaching Social sciences: sociology, psychology, anthropology, & archaeology Physical sciences: biology, physiology, physics, mathematics, & speech production/perception (cf. neurology)
Branches of linguistics Phonetics: how to make sounds, the physics of sound waves, & how they are perceived. Phonology: how sounds pattern in a Lx Morphology: how words are made up of smaller meaningful units.
Branches of linguistics Syntax: how words form sentences & how they relate to each other (with morphology, this is the core of grammar). Semantics: involves the aspects of meaning in words and grammar. Pragmatics: involves those aspects of meaning when put to use.
Branches of linguistics Psycholinguistics: mental processes underlying Lx processing. Neurolinguistics: focuses on the brain’s language processing activities.
Signs (= form/meaning) E.g. # $ % & hand gestures, words Like a coin – both sides essential. Iconic signs Symbolic signs
Icons: a form resembling its meaning in some way: the form shows some characteristic of the corresponding concept. It shows salient features in stylized ways, ignoring other features. Some manual gestures are iconic: using digits for numbers, tight fist for fighting
Symbols Form and meaning are related purely by convention, being established and acquired by repetition. N.B. Icons also always involve some degree of convention and arbitrariness.
Lx as a sign system Symbolic signs in Lx: Phonetic or orthographic does not equal ‘meaning’ Iconic signs in Lx: Onomatopoeia – bowwow, wanwan Word lengthening - loooong Reduplication
Onomatopoeia in Nihongo Giseigo: sound imitation that reflects physical, audible noises relating to the action or mvmt of (in)animate objects. Gachagacha = rattle Chirinchirin = tinkle Kasakasa = rustle
Onomatopoeia in Nihongo Gitaigo: manner imitation that refers to feelings and figurative expressions about objects and natural surrounding, in which sound plays no part. Tobotobo = plodding Furafura = roam Kirakira = twinkle Betabeta = stick to Gisshiri = packed full, crowded
Onomatopoeia in Nihongo Often meaning has multiple layers: Barabara = very strong rain; or things broken up, scattered or disorganized Gorogoro = purring cat, rumbling noises but also manner, e.g discomfort caused by a lump, the way things are strewn around in abundance, or being idle
Reduplication – various derived meanings Plural tree-> trees Repetition kiss -> kiss a lot Intensity see -> look at carefully Scattered distribution house -> disprs’d Space gnaw at -> on all sides Continuation flash once -> is flashing Smallness club -> small club Past tense I leave -> I left
Relation b/w Lc signs – signs interrelate to form a coherent whole Syntagmatic: signs occur in combination with other signs Paradigmatic: alternative signs could be used to replace any member of the syntagm a word’s meaning is related to close alternates in the paradigm (cf. ‘we’)
Design features – of all Lx Arbitrariness Displacement (imagination) Cultural X-mission (genes aside) Duality (patterned @ 2 levels) Productivity (creativity) Reflexivity (meta analysis permittable)
Evolution of Writing Pre-WritingCave paintings Proto-WritingIdeographs Early WritingCuneiform
Pre-Writing Cave Paintings Lascaux, France (16k yrs ago)
Pre-Writing Cave Paintings Altamira, Spain (16-14k yrs ago) a
Proto-Writing (9k yrs ago) Ideographs/mnemonic symbols: Wayfinding signs (airports/train stations) Arabic numerals Formal Languages (in math & logic) * used “worldwide” regardless of how they are pronounced in different languages. N.B. Iconicity
Early Writing Cuneiform script (2700-2500 BCE) Begins in Sumerian civilization of southern Iraq. Originally pictographic. Derives from Mesopotamian accounting system (10k yrs ago). Inventory becomes streamlined in number (approx 400 by 3 rd m BCE) & in form (pictographs become convention– alized linear drawings cf. e.g.).
Cuneiform script is the earliest known writing system in the world.  Cuneiform writing emerged in the Sumerian civilization of southern Iraq around the 34th century BC  during the middle Uruk period, beginning as a pictographic system of writing. Cuneiform was the most widespread and historically significant writing system in the Ancient Near East. writing system Sumerian civilizationIraq34th century BC Uruk periodpictographicAncient Near East  The development of cuneiform writing was an evolution of an earlier Mesopotamian accounting system that had been used for five thousand years before.  Clay tokens had been used for some form of record-keeping in Mesopotamia since as early as 8,000 BC.  Cuneiform documents were written on clay tablets, by means of a reed stylus. The impressions left by the stylus were wedge shaped, thus giving rise to the name cuneiform ("wedge shaped," from the Latin cuneus, meaning "wedge").Mesopotamian 8,000 BC clay tabletsreedstylus Cuneiform script underwent considerable changes over a period spanning three millennia. In the course of the 3rd millennium BC the script became successively more cursive, and the pictographs developed into conventionalized linear drawings, the number of characters in use also refined from around 1,000 unique characters in the Early Bronze Age to around 400 characters in Late Bronze Age (Hittite cuneiform).3rd millennium BCBronze AgeHittite cuneiform
Cuneiform shift (in form) Stage 1 shows the pictogram as it was drawn around 3000 BC. Stage 2 shows the rotated pictogram as written around 2800 BC. Stage 3 shows the abstracted glyph in archaic monumental inscriptions, from ca. 2600 BC, & stage 4 is the sign as written in clay, contemporary to stage 3. Stage 5 represents the late 3rd millennium, & stage 6 represents Old Assyrian ductus of the early 2nd millennium, as adopted into Hittite. Stage 7 is the simplified sign as written by Assyrian scribes in the early 1st millennium, and until the script's extinction.
Semantic extension Pictograms originally referred to a concrete object, then activities and abstract concepts related to it (becoming morphograms – N,V, Adj…) Perennially productive (in language and throughout our sign systems)
Phonological extension Morphographic characters originally symbolized entire words but came to be associated more with pronunciations. Hence we began to graph: the (much more limited number of) phonemes, instead of the (innumerable) morphemes.
Morphographic WS Best example: Chinese Due to massive challenge of graphing all the morphs in a language, only a small number of kanji are ‘all morph’ (approx 90% are mixed with phonetic part). Using the rebus principle allows us to use existing morphographic kanji as a spring board for their homophones (cf. ‘I see’)
Phonographic WS ‘Mostly’ sound-based (cf. spelling conventions –through vs. though) What parameters for ‘graphing the phone’ syllables(syllabary) consonants only(abjads) consonants with diacritics(abugidas) consonants and vowels(alphabets) what else?
Your consent to our cookies if you continue to use this website.