Language Theory Class #2 08.28.06

  • Linguistics is a sub-set of Cognitive Science.
  • Linguistics is only a study of natural langauges (not like esperanto)
  • If Language is a mirror to the mind, unnatural language (created langauges) are like fun house mirrors.
  • The different schools of thought in lingustics define linguistics in very different ways (parsing the parts of a sentence vs. trying to figure out how the mind works with words) (surface language vs. deeper meaning).
  • What is the nature of language? (Innate? Arbitrary? Messy? Rule Governed? All languages use some aspect of word order (place holders, SVO (Subject/Verb/Object) or SOV) and/or inflection to differentiate meaning, Spontaneous? Recreated with every generation (generative)? Novel? *These are not really questions, but things to think about).
  • What is it that makes language possible? Context.
  • How does communication work? Physical, Cognative, Non-Verbal, Conventions/Social aspects of language.
  • Maxims of:
    • Quality
    • Quantity
    • Manner
    • And one more that I can’t remember.
  • Prescriptive rules vs. Descriptive rules. Generative Grammar is the best of both worlds. It is both at the same time.
  • Language is a preeminent trait that develops in a child spontaneously and formal instruction is not neccesary.
  • Children instinctually desire language (the art of langauge) (according to Darwin).
  • What is the difference between teaching language, vocabulary, and grammar.
  • Language is prior to undersanding symbols. Language is not a substitution for symbolic representation.
  • Black English Vernacular (BEV) – it has its own grammar.
    • Double Negatives are okay.
    • Deletion of verb “to be” and other unnecessary pieces of english.
    • Contracting auxiliaries.
  • The distinction between a language and a dialect is political rather than linguistic.

0 Comments

  1. Me

    “Linguistics is only a study of natural langauges (not like esperanto)”
    “If Language is a mirror to the mind, unnatural language (created langauges) are like fun house mirrors.”

    That’s bull.

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