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'Our pupils do NOT speak Doric, they speak Aberdonian

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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 Aberdeen Thorsten Brato Department of English GieІen Graduate School for the Humanities Justus-Liebig-Universität GieІen Monday 2nd October Taylor A31, pm All welcome details of other upcoming CLR seminars at <http://www.uni-giessen.de/graduiertenzentrum/en/home/profile-tbrato.html> Thorsten Brato Department of English GieІen Graduate School for the Humanities Justus-Liebig-UniversitКt GieІen

2 AT4013- Language in Culture and Society
Class reps? Course guide, readings Lecture-tutorials Assignments My 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 hard Competence = this ‘hidden knowledge’ Performance = what we can see people doing We 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 1,002 Asia 2,269 Europe Pacific 1,310 TOTAL 6,912 Data 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 definition Not 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 brain Focuses on the purely structure properties of languages open-ended, arbitrary symbol systems

7 Communication Systems
All: 1. A mode of communication 2. Semanticity/Meaning 3. Pragmatic function Some: 4. Interchangeability 5. Cultural transmission 6. Arbitrariness 7. Discreteness Human 8. Displacement Language 9. Productivity 1. 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. Meaning 3. Pragmatic function: serve a useful purpose, from aiding physical survival to influencing others’ behavior Most 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 eaten Fiddler crabs - 4- varieties, each species uses its own particular claw- waving movement to signal to another Fixed meaning, finite set, not broken down into smaller elements 4. 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” - displacement or 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 languages Theory of Language Historical connections from Grammar, philology Has many contemporary connections Philosophy, history, archeology, literature, anthropology, sociology, psychology, neuropsychology, biology, physics, mathematics, computer programming Linguistics -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 elements Semiology (semiotics)

10 Competence and Performance
Language is more than rules. Not just vocabulary and grammar. Saussure’s langue and parole Language and speaking Language is a social system, shared by a speech community Speaking always happens in a context Competence 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 mind Dutch: from face, opinion Russian: from the sighting, from the mind Competence 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 languages Trace their histories (families), reconstruction Determine permanent, universal forces, deduce general laws Delimit and define the discipline Scope 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; " 9 langue 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 pairing 2) Union of sound-image and concept 3) individual and social 4) Synchronic and diachronic realities An established system on the one hand Always 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 tract 2) sound, a complex acoustical-vocal unit, combines in turn with an idea to form a complex physiological-psychological unit 3) both individual and social 4) 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, changing Langue (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 essential Not 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 circuit Diagramatic represention of parole - systematization -what we are after Must 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 abstractions can 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 analysis Synchronic - description of the state of a language at a particular moment Diachronic - change through time, comes from comparing sequences of synchronic analyses Antecedents 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 substance Units of language can only be defined by their relationships Structuralism first enunciated by Prague School of Linguists following these principles (Roman Jakobson, Nikolay Trubetskoy) add to this Saussurian principle that language is form, not substance Form 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 schedule unites of language can only be defined by their relationships structuralist 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 systems Semiotic 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-ended Problem 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 speaking You 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 system language 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 Saussure Grammont: “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 relations system is formed of units that mutually affect one another distinguished from other systems by the internal arrangements of these units arrangement is structure Trubetskoy: “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 Everything analyzing a language as a system is a matter of analyzing its structure 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.” 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 parts and 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 elements in 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 dependences EB: “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 transmutation Whorf 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 systems The 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 - speech the realization of langue in actual talk langage - language/speech the overall phenomenon of which langue and parole are subparts Langue is a whole into itself and a principal of classification While 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 society shows what constitute signs, what laws govern them language is the prototypical semiological system semiology is the science that studies the life of signs within society shows what constitute signs, what laws govern them linguistics is a science insofar as it is a subset of semiology language 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 load Bit - pit Done - ton Could - good Minimal Pairs highlight phonemic contrasts

33 Not all differences are meaningful
Aspiration in English is not meaningful Top - stop th t Redundantly associated with voiceless tab tap b - 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
Stress English: present, object, construct, implant, Pitch/Tone Chinese Length Korean: il “day” i:l “work” seda “to count” se:da “strong” pam “night” pa:m “chestnut” German: die Stadt, der Staat

36 Etic distinctions External frameworks or universal classificatory grids Linguistic 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 analysis Explains social or cultural elements according to indigenous definitions/categories Not the natives’ model Boas’s secondary rationalization, Turner’s exegetical models Emic models, like phonemes, are constructions formalized by the analyst on the basis of distinctive features present in indigenous usage


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