Language Theory 08/21/06

I am now taking a graduate course called Language Theory at the University of Colorado at Denver for my graduate program, “The Teaching of Writing.” It is taught by Ian Ying. This is my first introduction to Linguistics, so much of my notes will be of an elementary nature.


The required texts for this course:

An Introduction to Language and Communication

Linguistics: An introduction to language by Adrian Akmajian et al.

How the Mind Creates Language (Perennial Classics)

The Language Instinct: How the mind creates language by Steve Pinker.

Optional Texts for this course:

Theory and Practice

Analyzing Political Discourse: Theory and Discourse by Paul Chilton
The Pragmatics of Explicit Communication

Thoughts and Utterances: The pragmatics of explicit communication by Robyn Carston

The Semantics and Pragmatics of Discourse Markers (Cambridge Studies in Linguistics)

Relevance and Linguistic Meaning: The semantics and pragmatics of discourse markers by Diane Blakemore et al.

  • This is the first class that I have had that requires a book review. It has to be relating to linguistics, but I am not sure how loose the relationship can be. (Can I read Know-It-All?)
  • Chomsky (mostly a nativist) was one of the first to argue against B.F. Skinner’s ideas of behaviorism.
  • Language Aquisition Theories
    • Inside (within the brain) (Chomsky and Pinker)
    • Outside (within the environment and interaction)
    • A combination of both
  • The critical age of langauge aquisition is aprox. 5. If a kid does not have a hold of the language by this age then there is either something wrong with brain activity or the child’s environment.
  • Language values:
    • Be clear
    • Be brief
    • Be simple
    • (Be relevent)
  • Language Attrition: where you forget your native language because you don’t find it useful.

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