WHAT IS LANGUAGE?Introduction to Linguistics
WHAT IS LANGUAGE?
The design features of a language (Charles Hockett) Mode of communicationSemanticityPragmatic functionInterchangeabilityCultural transmissionArbitrarinessDiscretenessDisplacement Productivity
Evidence for arbitrariness
Discreteness/duality of patterning
Productivity All human languages use a finite set of linguistic data to generate an infinite set of possible sentences the creative aspect of language
A mystery: where does language come from? (1)Ding-Donghumans make to mimic the sounds of the world around them.boom = explosionoink = the sound made by a pig. Bow-wowhumans form their first words by imitating animal sounds.It seems difficult to accept that humans learned to speak to one another by talking to the animals.
A mystery: where does language come from? (2)Pooh-poohthe first words developed from sighs of pleasure, moans of pain, and other semi-involuntary cries or exclamations. Uh-ohhuman language begins with the use of arbitrary symbols that represent warnings to other members of the human band. Yo-he-holanguage arose in rhythmic chants and vocalisms uttered by people engaged in communal labour.
A mystery: where does language come from? (3)Language is a human instinctHuman beings are born with the ability to speak language. Universal Grammar (UG)
Universal Grammar (UG)Definition The properties that all human languages share. Feature InnatenessHuman beings are born with language ability. Evidence Children can acquire languages they are exposed to with ease.
What does it mean by saying you speak Mandarin Chinese ? Linguistically, you possess the linguistic knowledge of Mandarin Chinese. SoundsWordsSentences
Linguistic KnowledgeKnowledge of sound systemThe inventory of sounds in a languageChinese: [+l], [-r]. Lai, *rai The possible arrangement of sound sequencesEnglish: [nuk]; [snuk]; *[sknuk]; *[mnuk]Chinese: [mau]; [myau]; *[aum]; *[yaum]Knowledge of wordsForm and meaning => arbitraryKnowledge of sentences and non-sentencesAll students love linguistics; *Love linguistics all students
Competence vs. PerformanceCompetence What you know about linguistic knowledgeA perfect linguistic systemPerformance How you use this linguistic knowledge in actual speech production and comprehensionExample: Competence: John likes German cars.Performance: You dont*John like German car.
What is grammar?What a speaker knows about language.Linguistic knowledge, competenceComponents PhonologyMorphologySyntaxlexicon
Types of grammarDescriptive grammarTo describe what you know about grammarJohn is the person who/whom I met yesterday. [bau lou], [pou lou]Prescriptive grammarTo tell you how you should use about grammarJohn is the person *who/whom I met yesterday. *[bau lou], [pou lou]Teaching grammarUsed to learn a language
Do you agreeApes and dogs have their own languages. We just dont understand them.The Formosan languages (e.g., Paiwan, Atayal) are aboriginal languages. They are not as good as Chinese, English, or French.
The truth isWherever humans exist, language exits.All languages are equal - no primitive language