Presentation on theme: "The Properties of Human Language"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Properties of Human Language Unique system of communicationInformative signals: signals which you have not intentionally sent body languageCommunicative signals: signals you use intentionally to communicate something
2 Properties of human language DisplacementHuman language refers to the past, present and future- last night, at school, I’m flying to Paris next weekAbstract concepts: Things that do not exist in real life, e.g. superman, batman, Santa ClausAnimal communication- immediate momentE.g.: Bee language: dance routine to communicate the location of nectar
3 Properties of human language Arbitrarinessno natural connection between a linguistic form and its meaning= arbitrary relationshipDog in English and كلب in Arabic.In animal communication-a connection between the message and the signal used to convey the message.Consists of a fixed and limited set of vocal forms
4 Properties of human language ProductivityHumans are capable of creating new expressions for new objects- infinitea language user can manipulate his linguistic resources open endednessAnimals have limited set of signals to choose from- fixed referenceCannot produce any new signals to describe novel experiences.
5 Properties of human language Cultural transmissionWe acquire language with other speakers not from parental genesThe first language is acquired in a cultureA Korean child living in USA.Animal communicative signals are produced instinctively.Evidence for dialect differencesSuggests that may be impact of “culture”
6 Properties of human language DualityTwo levels: distinct sound & distinct meaningPhysical level at which we can produce individual sounds e.g. n, b, i.Meaning level: when we produce sounds in combination e.g.: nib, binEconomical featureAnimal communicative signals appear to be fixedTypically cannot be broken into parts- meow is not m+e+o+wAgain, some evidence this may not be completely true
7 Talking to animals Is language the exclusive property of human beings? Are the communication systems used by other creatures at all like human linguistic knowledge?
8 Chimpanzees and language Some researchers devoted their time to teach a chimpanzee how to use human language- not successful1930s Gua- was able to understand 100 words but did not produce any1940s Viki- produced poorly articulated versions of mama, papa, and cupResult non-human primates lack a physically structured vocal tract needed to produce sounds
9 Talking to animal Washoe Use a version of American Sign Language Raised like a humanAfter 3 and half years came to use more than 100 wordsAirplane, baby, bananaCombine them to produce sentencesMore fruit
10 Talking to animals Sarah and Lana They both use word symbols Use a set of plastic shapes that represent words to communicate with humansTrained to associate shapes with objects or actionsWas capable of producing sentencesMary give chocolate Sarah
11 The controversy Can animals speak human-like languages? NO Terrace argues researchers over-interpreted their resultsAnimals produce a particular behavior in response to a particular stimulus or ‘noise’, but do not actually understand what the words mean.
12 KanziLearned the symbols not by being taught but by being exposed to it in an early age.Were those chimpanzees capable of taking part in interactions by using symbols chosen by humans and not chimpanzees?Did they perform linguistically on a level of a child their age?Humans possess a natural, inborn facility to be creative with symbols; as far as we know, animals do not.
13 Koko the Gorilla Use sign language and language boards/ computers Example of a conversation (live via internet)HaloMyBaby: Is Koko aware that she's chatting with thousands of people now?LiveKOKO: Good here.DrPPatrsn: Koko is aware.Question: Do you like to chat with other people?[…]LiveKOKO: fine nippleDrPPatrsn: Nipple rhymes with people, she doesn't sign people per se, she was trying to do a "sounds like..."
14 Koko the GorillaAlso interested in emotional content of words, how interpreted our behaviors and objectsKoko reportedly cried when told of the death of Robin Williams.
15 Language learning? Rico: Chaser: Kaminski, Call & Fisher, 2004 Learned 200 nounsChaser:Pilley and Reid, 2011Learned 600 names of objectsAlso can deduce new objects; show inferenceMay be partially do to novelty effects