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Today Rules, Linguistic competence vs. linguistic performance

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1 Today Rules, Linguistic competence vs. linguistic performance
Design features Animal communication vs. human language Please write down this url: petstar/videogallery/season3/ep309_winner.html Readings: 1.3,1.4;

2 Linguistic competence
What we know when we ‘know’ a language. This knowledge is largely unconscious

3 How do we study linguistic competence?
By observing a speaker’s linguistic performance.

4 Grammar Descriptive grammar Prescriptive grammar
Describes the rules that govern what people do or can say (their “mental grammar”) Prescriptive grammar Prescribes rules governing what people should/shouldn’t say

5 Prescriptive rules “Don’t end a sentence w/ preposition!”
“Don’t split infinitives!” “Don’t use double negatives!”

6 Descriptive rules are linguists’ attempt to represent your mental grammar. Descriptive rules are natural, followed intuitively, need not be taught Prescriptive rules are not natural, must be learned by rote (in school) natural means: part of your mental grammar--your knowledge of language that allows you to produce grammatical utterances without thinking much about it. that part of your grammar made up of your internal phonetics, phonology, morph, syn Remember that your book talks about three types of grammar: mental, descriptive, prescriptive

7 language vs. communication

8 Design features Charles Hockett (1960)
Characterize language, distinguish it from other communication systems If a system lacks even one feature, it is communication, not language

9 Design features Discreteness Arbitrariness Cultural transmission
Displacement Interchangeability Productivity

10 Discreteness Larger, complex messages can be broken down into smaller, discrete parts e.g., [pat] [tap] [apt] p a t

11 Arbitrariness There is no (necessary) connection between the form of signal and its meaning e.g., ‘whale’ is small word for big animal, ‘microorganism’ is just the reverse Onomatopoeia, but… Rooster: cock-a-doodle-doo (Eng.); kokekokkoo (Jap.), kikirikí (Span.), cocorico (Fr.), ake-e-ake-ake (Thai)

12 Cultural transmission
At least some aspect of communication system is learned from other users e.g., child of French-speaking parents will learn French

13 Displacement Ability to talk about things not present in space or time

14 Interchangeability A user can both receive and broadcast the same signal e.g., speaker can be listener and vice versa

15 Productivity Speakers can create infinite number of novel utterances that others can understand e.g., “Little purple gnomes living in my sock drawer said, ‘Elvis lives’.” Elvis lives!! /

16 Vervet monkeys 3 alarm calls for different predators
‘snake’ ‘eagle’ ‘leopard’ Young vervets make mistakes

17 Vervet communication Yes: No:
Arbitrariness, Cultural transmission, Interchangeability No: Displacement, Productivity, Discreteness

18 ‘Einstein’ the parrot At home: Watch the following clip of Einstein the parrot What design features does he exhibit / fail to exhibit?

19 Multidimensionality Human language consists of several levels or dimensions of knowledge used by linguists to separate language into areas of study not entirely “modular” or discrete (e.g., phonetics and phonology inform each other)

20 Core Subfields Phonology: the study of how speech sounds pattern and how they are organized (i.e., the sound system) e.g., art, *rta (where ‘*’ = ungrammatical)

21 Core Subfields Morphology: the study of the formation of words.
e.g., unhappiness  un-happy-ness

22 Core Subfields Syntax: the study of the structure of sentences.
e.g., She hit the man with a hammer.

23 Core Subfields Semantics: the study of meaning in language.
Pragmatics: the study of how linguistic meaning depends on context. Semantics: Princess Bride’s inconceivable (lexical semantics) The boy kicked the ball. = The ball was kicked by the boy. Pragmatics: saying “yeah, right” as agreement vs. sarcastic disagreement John saw Mary. He said he liked her.

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