Presentation on theme: "'Our pupils do NOT speak Doric, they speak Aberdonian"— Presentation transcript:
1 'Our pupils do NOT speak Doric, they speak Aberdonian 'Our pupils do NOT speak Doric, they speak Aberdonian!’ First impressions of a sociophonetic study of adolescents in AberdeenThorsten BratoDepartment of EnglishGieІen Graduate School for the HumanitiesJustus-Liebig-Universität GieІenMonday 2nd OctoberTaylor A31, pmAll welcomedetails of other upcoming CLR seminars at<http://www.uni-giessen.de/graduiertenzentrum/en/home/profile-tbrato.html>Thorsten BratoDepartment of EnglishGieІen Graduate School for the HumanitiesJustus-Liebig-UniversitКt GieІen
2 AT4013- Language in Culture and Society Class reps?Course guide, readingsLecture-tutorialsAssignmentsMy work on language and culture, ethnopoetics, descriptive grammar
3 What is Language? Something we do all the time without reflection. Teaching our language to someone who doesn’t know it is hardCompetence = this ‘hidden knowledge’Performance = what we can see people doingWe can speak it just fine, but teaching our language to someone who speaks a different one would be hard -- this “hidden knowledge” is competence - the stuff you know when you know a language.Since competence is not readily available to conscious thought, we have to observe linguistic performance and induce the knowledge underlying the performances.Competence consists of the ability to generate the proper sounds in the proper order, combing units of sounds with particular ideas to express concepts.
4 What is Language? Africa 2,092 Americas 1,002 Asia 2,269 Europe 239 A dialect with an army.Africa 2,092 Americas 1,002Asia 2,269EuropePacific 1,310TOTAL 6,912Data from
5 What is the origin of Language? Best guess seems that language developed in parallel with the species.We don’t know and we can never know.Bad question.Origins don’t necessarily explain what’s going on
6 Some definitions of Language Sapir: “a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols.”Bloch & Trager: “a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by means of which a social group cooperates.”Hall: “the institution whereby humans communicate and interact with each other by means of habitually used oral-auditory arbitrary symbols.”Chomsky: “a set (finite or infinite) of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements.”Sapir 1921: “Language is a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols.”(Not broad enough; language communicates more than this. Too broad, includes all kinds of gestures and other symbols which aren’t language.)Bloch and Trager 1942: “A language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by means of which a social group co-operates.”(Narrowly focused on social functions)Hall 1968: Language is “the institution whereby humans communicate and interact with each other by means of habitually used oral-auditory arbitrary symbols.”Robins 1979 avoids a formal definition because they “tend to be trivial and uninformative , unless they presuppose ... some general theory of language and of linguistic analysis.”Chomsky 1957, Syntactic Structures: “From now on I will consider a language to be a set (finite or infinite) of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements.”Covers more than just natural languages, but all natural languages meet the definitionNot only are there structural properties in language, but they are so abstract, so complex and so highly specific to their purpose that they couldn't be learned from scratch by an infant grappling with the problem of acquiring his native language = innate to human brainFocuses on the purely structure properties of languagesopen-ended, arbitrary symbol systems
7 Communication Systems All: 1. A mode of communication2. Semanticity/Meaning3. Pragmatic functionSome: 4. Interchangeability5. Cultural transmission6. Arbitrariness7. DiscretenessHuman 8. DisplacementLanguage 9. Productivity1. A mode of communication: means of transmission - vocal auditory (production and reception of sounds), visual (gestures, tail wagging, grimaces), tactile (bees dancing), chemical (moths)2. Meaning3. Pragmatic function: serve a useful purpose, from aiding physical survival to influencing others’ behaviorMost animals possess some kind of ‘signaling’ communication system.Invariant: spider mating dance - male goes through elaborate gestures to inform female he is indeed a spider and not a crumb or a fly to be eatenFiddler crabs - 4- varieties, each species uses its own particular claw- waving movement to signal to anotherFixed meaning, finite set, not broken down into smaller elements4. Interchangeability: each individual human can both send messages and comprehend the messages of others. Bombyx mori (silkworm) moth uses a chemical communication system. When the female is ready to mate, she secretes a chemical that males can trace back to her. The males themselves cannot secrete this chemical; then can only be receivers.5. Although the ability to learn languages is innate, it is not automatic or pre-programmed. Korean babies learn English. Mistreated children don’t learn any language well.6. Arbitrary connection between signifier and signified. Increases the flexibility and versatility of a communication-system in that the extension of the vocabulary is not constrained by the necessity of matching form and meaning in terms of some more general principle We will discuss this in more detail tomorrow.7. Discreteness: Humans tend to speak in sentences or at least phrases composed of smaller units (words), which are themselves composed of smaller units (morphemes) which are themselves composed of smaller units (phones). The smallest units are finite and small in number, but the various permutations make for infinite possibilities of combination. The levels are somewhat independent. The rules of phonological combination to make up words are in no way related to the syntactic rules for combing words into sentences. Thousands of words from sounds.Most evidence suggests that this is limited to human language, but apes may be taught combing smaller elements into larger ones, although what they do is limited and crude.8. Displacement refers to the ability to communicate about things that are not present in space or time. We can talk about apples without seeing them, friends in other countries, and vacations I am planning for the future.Animals can’t say: If I were you, I wouldn’t sit on that wobbly chair. Or People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.Bees? “there’s a food source 40 feet from the hive at a 45° angle from the sun” - displacementor it is “fly 45° for 2 minutes for good food”9. Productivity - open-ended system — ability to produce and understand any number of messages that have never been expressed before and that may express novel ideas.animal communication systems seem to be closed systems, the number of signals is fixed
8 What is Linguistics? Anthropology studies human beings in the round Linguistics studies language in all its forms.Description of languagesTheory of LanguageHistorical connections from Grammar, philologyHas many contemporary connectionsPhilosophy, history, archeology, literature, anthropology, sociology, psychology, neuropsychology, biology, physics, mathematics, computer programmingLinguistics -study of language and languages - can connect to mathematics, physics, biology, philosophy, history, archeology, literature, sociology, psychology, neuropsychology
9 Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913 ) Swiss linguist, working on Indo-European philology came to reinvent the system, the way language is theorized.Course in General Linguistics posthumously compiled from notes and lecture notes of his students.Modern structuralism - rules of relations among elementsSemiology (semiotics)
10 Competence and Performance Language is more than rules.Not just vocabulary and grammar.Saussure’s langue and paroleLanguage and speakingLanguage is a social system, shared by a speech communitySpeaking always happens in a contextCompetence is generally what we are trying to describe, but we only have performances as data. Thus generalizations about patterns in performances are used to abstract to a competence.To be fluent in a language requires not only mastery of its grammatical rules but also competence in the appropriate use of the sentences that are structured by those rules.Actually, “rules” doesn’t accurately describe the connection between competence and performance. Vocabulary provides a set of items based on principles of phonological and morphological combination. Grammar is more than rules, as the inability to program computers to speak, or even to translate simple phrases.Out of sight, out of mindDutch: from face, opinionRussian: from the sighting, from the mindCompetence is based on a set of principles for organizing resources into appropriate combinations at the right time and place. Creativity is the bending of old forms into new shapes, know which rules to break and which to follow.
11 Study Language (langue) not speech (parole) “The subject matter of linguistics comprises all manifestations of human speech, whether that of savages or civilized nations, or of archaic, classical or decadent periods.”Describe all observable languagesTrace their histories (families), reconstructionDetermine permanent, universal forces, deduce general lawsDelimit and define the disciplineScope of linguistics given on p6 (Chapter 2)P7: "The thing that constitutes language is ... unrelated to the phonic character of the linguistic sign.”far from it being the object that antedates the viewpoint, it would seem that it is the viewpoint that creates the object; "9langue should not be confused with langage (human speech)"[Langage] is both a social product of the faculty of speech and a collection of necessary conventions that thave been adopted by a social body to permit individuals to exercise that faculty." straddles several areas of physcial, physiological, psychological, individual and society"Language, on the contrrary, is a self-contained whole and a principle of classification."
12 Saussurian Duality of Language 1) Oral - aural pairing2) Union of sound-image and concept3) individual and social4) Synchronic and diachronic realitiesAn established system on the one handAlways a product of the past“... the linguistics phenomenon always has two related sides, each deriving its values from the other.”1) articulated syllables are acoustical impressions, but made by vocal tract2) sound, a complex acoustical-vocal unit, combines in turn with an idea to form a complex physiological-psychological unit3) both individual and social4) Speech always implies both an established system and an evolution; at every moment it is an existing institution and a product of the past.The single parts of pairs are meaningless without the complementary side of the pair, each derives meaning in its opposition to the other.
13 Langue is the true object of study Parole (speech, speaking, articulation) is messy, heterogeneous, variable, based in the individual, changingLangue (language, competence)“is both a social product of the faculty of speech and a collection of necessary conventions that have been adopted by a social body to permit individuals to exercise that faculty.”must use language as the norm of all other manifestations of speech.langue “It is both a social product of the faculty of speech and a collection of necessary conventions that have been adopted by a social body to permit individuals to exercise that faculty.”speech is many-sided, heterogeneous“we cannot put it into any category of human facts, for e cannot discover its unity.”execution of language is always individual =parole“Language, on the contrary, is a self-contained whole and a principle of classification. as soon as we give language first place among the facts of speech, we introduce a natural order into a mass that lends itself to no other classification.”“... beyond the functioning of the various organs there exists a more general faculty which governs signs and which would be the linguistic faculty proper.”
14 Social crystallization of langue “Among all the individuals that are linked together by speech, some sort of average will be set up: all will reproduce—not exactly of course, but approximately—the same signs united with the same concepts.”The social, the essentialNot the individual, accidental, accessory“Among all the individuals that are linked together by speech, some sort of average will be set up: all will reproduce—not exactly of course, but approximately—the same signs united with the same concepts.”SOCIAL CRYSTALLIZATION OF LANGUAGE“In separating language form speaking we are at the same time separating: (1) what is social from what is individual; and (2) what is essential from what is accessory and more or less accidental.“Language is not a function of the speaker; it is a product that is passively assimilated by the individual.”“Speaking, on the contrary, is an individual act”“Language is a well-defined object in the heterogeneous mass of speech facts. It can be localized in the limited segment of the speaking-circuit where an auditory image becomes associates with a concept. It is the social side of speech, outside the individual who can never create nor modify it by himself;”
15 Two people conversing Example of parole in action Purely psychological phenomenon is followed in turn by a physiological process follwed by physical process
16 Semiotic circuitDiagramatic represention of parole - systematization -what we are afterMust leave the individual fact and approach the social fact (p13)
17 langue is no less concrete than parole “Whereas speech is heterogeneous, language, as defined is homogeneous. It is a system of signs in which the only essential thing is the union of meanings and sound-images, and in which both parts of the sign are psychological.linguistic signs are not abstractions“Language, unlike speaking, is something that we can study separately. ... We can dispense with the other elements of speech; indeed, the science of language is possible only if the other elements are excluded.”“Whereas speech is heterogeneous, language, as defined is homogeneous. It is a system of signs in which the only essential thing is the union of meanings and sound-images, and in which both parts of the sign are psychological.linguistic signs are not abstractionscan reduce linguistic signs to conventional written symbols, impossible for acts of speaking“Language is a system of signs that express ideas, and is therefore comparable to a system of writing, the alphabet of deaf-mutes, symbolic rites, polite formulas, military signals, etc. But is the most important of these systems.”
18 Two modes of analysisSynchronic - description of the state of a language at a particular momentDiachronic - change through time, comes from comparing sequences of synchronic analysesAntecedents are not origins
19 Linguistics as a model for general semiology “Language is comparable to a symphony in that what the symphony actually is stands completely apart from how it is performed; the mistakes that musicians make in playing the symphony do not compromise this fact.”“By studying rites, customs, etc., as signs, I believe that we shall throw new light on the facts and point up the need for including them in a science of semiology and explaining them by its laws.”“Language is comparable to a symphony in that what the symphony actually is stands completely apart from how it is performed; the mistakes that musicians make in playing the symphony do not compromise this fact.”
20 Saussurian principles Language is form, not substanceUnits of language can only be defined by their relationshipsStructuralism first enunciated by Prague School of Linguists following these principles(Roman Jakobson, Nikolay Trubetskoy)add to this Saussurian principle that language is form, not substanceForm of the 8.25 train from Geneva to Paris remains the same even if different locomotive and coaches each day - defined in relation to the other trains in scheduleunites of language can only be defined by their relationshipsstructuralist doctrine first articulated by Roman Jakobson, S. Karchevski, and N. Trubetskoy - who founded the Linguistic Circle of Prague“ .... structural comparison and genetic comparison/”laws of structure of linguistic systems and their evolution.”“The sensory content of phonological elements is less essential than their reciprocal relationships within the system (structural principle of the phonological system).”
21 Semiotic point of view: system of signs An open-ended, arbitrary symbol system –A signal is transmitted from a sender to a receiver (or group of receivers) along a channel of communication. The signal will have a particular form and will convey a particular meaning (or message). The connection between form and meaning constitutes a code.open-ended, arbitrary symbol systemsSemiotic point of view:A signal is transmitted from a sender to a receiver (or group of receivers) along a channel of communication. The signal will have a particular form and will convey a particular meaning (or message). The connection between form and meaning constitutes a code. A sender encodes a message and the receiver decodes it.language is medium-transferable (unlike animal communication systems)Arbitrary, flexible, open-endedProblem with this view is sometimes referred to as implicature: meanings are fuzzy in the sense that they don’t have clear boundaries, also modified by things such as tone and manner of speakingYou can do that if you really want to.Logician lecturing on positive and negative statements for an entire hour concludes, “and while two negatives can be taken as a positive statement, two positives can never be taken for a negative.”From the back: “yeah, right”
22 Emile Benveniste explanation of Structuralism Saussure never uses the word ‘structure’:“Language is a system that has its own arrangement.”The system is an interdependent whole.If one part is modified, the whole system is affected because it remains coherent.Saussure doesn’t use the term structure, he uses the term systemlanguage forms a system, not a conglomeration of elements“Language is a system that has its own arrangement.”the system is primary“... to consider a term as simply the union of a certain sound with a certain concept is grossly misleading. To define it in this way would isolate the term from its system; it would mean assuming that one can start from the terms and construct the system by adding them together hen, on the contrary, it is from the interdependent whole that one must start and through analysis obtain its elements.”his students were earlier publishing similar statements and attributing them to SaussureGrammont: “There are no isolated phonetic changes. ... The whole set of articulations in a language in effect constitutes a system in which everything hold together, in which everything depends strictly on everything else. As a result, if a modification is produced in one part of the system, there is a good chance that the whole system will be affected, for it is necessary that the system remain coherent.”
23 Structuralism Trubetskoy: A science of the whole - system of relations “One cannot determine the place of a word in a lexical system until one has studied the structure of the said system.”A science of the whole - system of relationssystem is formed of units that mutually affect one anotherdistinguished from other systems by the internal arrangements of these unitsarrangement is structureTrubetskoy: “One cannot determine the place of a word in a lexical system until one has studied the structure of the said system.”this idea of structure - organization of the system - was connected to a greater scientific view of linguistics - much like the development of geology, physics, biology into the analysis of systems and not isolated organisms or phenomenon Unified Theory of Everythinganalyzing a language as a system is a matter of analyzing its structureE.B. “Each system, being formed of units that mutually affect one another, is distinguished from other systems by the internal arrangements of these units, an arrangement which constitutes its structure.”the whole is greater than the sum of its parts (Remember Gestalt psych, Turner)network of dependences
24 French structuralism Benveniste: “The structuralist doctrine teaches the predominance of the system over the elements, and aims to define the structure of the system through the relationships among the elements, in the spoken chain as well as in formal paradigms, and shows the organic character of the changes to which language is subject.”EB: “The structuralist doctrine teaches the predominance of the system over the elements,This means that the whole is greater than the sum of its partsand aims to define the structure of the system through the relationships among the elements,So it is not the qualities of the elements themselves that are important but the nature of the relations among elementsin the spoken chain as well as in formal paradigms, and shows the organic character of the changes to which language is subject.”The system has a life of its own - in this sense organic - if you change one aspect, the whole system changes as a result in the modified set of relations among elements.
25 Arbitrariness Benveniste, ‘Nature of the Linguistic Sign’: E.B. “Each system, being formed of units that mutually affect one another, is distinguished from other systems by the internal arrangements of these units, an arrangement which constitutes its structure.”network of dependencesEB: “The structuralist doctrine teaches the predomincance of the system over the elements, and aims to define the structure of the system through the relationships among the elements, in the spoken chain as well as in formal paradigms, and shows the organic character ofthe changes to which language is subject.”Benveniste points out the arbitrariness across systems and the necessity within systems (Whorf)Darwin part of his times, many others coming up with similar ideas, evolution not even his term, Spencer, he used transmutationWhorf points out that the logic of the system strikes the native as natural, common sense is based on this ‘natural logic’Benveniste, ‘Nature of the Linguistic Sign’:Arbitrariness of the sign is when analyzed across systemsThe linguistic sign is non-arbitrary (necessary) within the system.Can’t say just anything and be speaking English.Natural logic of the system (Whorf)
26 Langue, parole, langage langue - language the formal system of grammar (code)parole - speechthe realization of langue in actual talklangage - language/speechthe overall phenomenon of which langue and parole are subpartsLangue is a whole into itself and a principal of classificationWhile langue is wholly mental, homogeneous, and systematic, it is not abstract because the associations of which they consist are ratified by collective consent, stored in the individual brain, and sufficiently tangible to be recorded in writing.14“For language is not complete in any speaker; it exists perfectly only within a collectivity.”Linguistics is after the social, the essential, not the individual , accessory, accidental parts of langauge
27 Science of signs - semiology studies the life of signs within societyshows what constitute signs, what laws govern themlanguage is the prototypical semiological systemsemiology is the science that studies the life of signs within societyshows what constitute signs, what laws govern themlinguistics is a science insofar as it is a subset of semiologylanguage is the prototypical semiological system“If we are to discover the true nature of language we must learn what it has in common with all other semiological systems”“Language is a system of signs that express ideas, and is therefore comparable to a system of writing, the alphabet of deaf-mutes, symbolic rites, polite formulas, military signals, etc. But it is the most important of all these systems.” (p16)“’language, better than anything else, offers a basis for understanding the semiological problem; but language, must … be studied in iteself; heretofore language has almost always been studied in connection with something else, from other viewpoints.”
28 Phonemes Minimal meaningful contrast in sound. Smallest unit of meaningful difference in sounds.“The units which we call ‘phonemes’ are in themselves of no importance: it is the differences among them that count.”Notes for Video, then switch to powerpoint.C. F. Hockett in “How to Learn Martian”If we can pride ourselves on the number of modern developments which were anticipated by the lively imaginations of an earlier generation of [science fiction] authors, I think perhaps we shold temper this pride with a bit of shame that we have been such Johnny-come-latelies about phonemes, morphemes, intonations, constructions, immediate constituents, the impact of language on culture, and the like.… in modern times the phonemeic principle was stated, in onr way or another, as early as about 1910; the earliest mention I have been able to track down in science fiction postdates World War II.”
29 Phonetics Description of all the sounds in a language Phonology is the study and theory of sounds in Language
30 Phonetics websites www.abdn.ac.uk/langling/resources/phonetics.html or
31 Phonetics studies and describes perceptible differences top stop little kitten hunter
32 Phonemics analyses meaningful contrasts in sound Voiced vs. unvoiced is a meaningful contrast in English, carries a heavy functional loadBit - pitDone - tonCould - goodMinimal Pairs highlight phonemic contrasts
33 Not all differences are meaningful Aspiration in English is not meaningfulTop - stopth tRedundantly associated with voicelesstab tapb - p or ph
34 Other languages contrast aspirated and unaspirated Hindi/tali/ = “key”/thali/ = “strip”/kap/ = “cup”/kaph/ = “phlegm”/ph l/ = “fruit”/p l/ = “moment”/b l/ = “strength”Korean/keda/ = “fold”/kheda/ = “dig out”
35 More examples of phonemic contrasts StressEnglish: present, object, construct, implant,Pitch/ToneChineseLengthKorean: il “day” i:l “work”seda “to count” se:da “strong”pam “night” pa:m “chestnut”German: die Stadt, der Staat
36 Etic distinctionsExternal frameworks or universal classificatory gridsLinguistic typologies (e.g., analytic, inflecting, agglutinating, polysynthetic)Linnaean classification of plants & animals (genus, species)Disease (medical pathology)But are these just our (Western) emic categories, deployed universally?
37 emics Not the natives’ model System-internal description and analysisExplains social or cultural elements according to indigenous definitions/categoriesNot the natives’ modelBoas’s secondary rationalization, Turner’s exegetical modelsEmic models, like phonemes, are constructions formalized by the analyst on the basis of distinctive features present in indigenous usage