Study Guide Essay

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Chapter 1 - General Introduction • Linguistic knowledge ○ Part of knowing a language means: knowing what sounds (or signs) are in a language and what sounds are not (how they start, end, middle); certain sequences of sounds signify certain concepts or meanings; being able to produce new sentences and to understand sentences never heard before • Different kinds of linguistic knowledge - also represented as different parts of language competence ○ phonology (sound/gesture systems); ■ Note: phonological knowledge requires phonetic abilities (sounds/gestures and how they are produced and perceived) ○ morphology (word structure) ○ syntax (phrase and sentence structure) ○ semantics (linguistic meaning of morphemes, words, phrases, and sentences) ○ pragmatics (how meaningful words, phrases, and sentences are used and interpreted in real world contexts) ○ lexicon (your “mental dictionary”--all the arbitrary information that you know about individual words, including, e.g., sound, structure, part of speech, meaning, and contextual appropriateness) • Prescriptive v descriptive grammars ○ The grammar (generally) is the knowledge speakers have about the units and rules of their language ○ Descriptive grammar - linguist's description or model of the mental grammar, including the units, structures and rules; explicit statement of what speakers know about their language; linguists don't make right/wrong distinctions ■ E.g. in some special cases 'allowed' ○ Prescriptive grammar - rules of grammar brought about by grammarians' attempts to legislate what speakers' grammatical rules should be, rather than what they are • Grammaticality judgments and their role in linguistics ○ 'sift through' performance to get through competence stuff ○ Pertains to language ○ Descriptive grammars by linguists? ○ Positive grammaticality judgments • Universal grammar ○ The underlying core of similarities among all languages which may therefore be biologically built-in to all healthy humans • Language diversity ○ Consonant inventories range; tonal languages; word length ○ Word order example • Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis ○ Language constrains, changes or manipulates the way you think ○ see the article from Scientific American in Blackboard ○ Does language influence thought? ○ A family of ideas about linguistic determinism and linguistic relativity, associated with the names of two pioneering American linguists, Edward Sapir (1884-1939) and his student Benjamin Lee Whorf (1897-1941) ○ Ideas center around the notion that linguistic diversity matters (it’s a “big deal”) § Matters in how people categorize or “see” the world § Matters in how people express ideas § Matters in how speakers’ attention is directed (or not directed) § Matters in aesthetic framing and perception (“you loose something when you translate poetry from one language to another) • Hockett's features of language • What features of language do honey bees demonstrate and what important aspects are they lacking? ○ Demonstrate: displacement, discreteness, arbitrariness ○ Lack: creativity/productivity, openness, cultural transmission, innateness??, duality of patterning?? ○ European honey bees use dances to communicate: § distance of food source □ round (within 20 feet away) □ sickle-shaped (20-60 feet away) □ tail-wagging performed during the dance (60+ feet away) § direction of food source □ angle(s) the bee follow(s) as it dances in the hive § richness of food source □ duration of the dance □ speed of the dance
Chapter 2 - Language and the Brain • What are ○ Localization § different human cognitive abilities and behaviors are localized in specific parts of the brain ○ Contralateral brain function § left controls right, right controls left § sensory information from right goes to left, vice versa