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Language and Linguistics

Animal language and human language is different. We have

more words. But there are most differences than these.
Three dimensions
1. Discrete infinity create an infinite set of things using
limited resources. For eg: using a limited number of
alphabets (26) we can make unlimited words and
sentences. Any thought can be compiled into sentence. A
sentence can also be never ending. Might be interesting
but may go on infinitely. With regards to language, the
words are of discrete infinity and not continuous because
the words and sentences are made by adding these very
discrete signals instead of modifying the phonemes or
speech. Limited number of resources which are phonemes
used to created infinite words and sentences.
Animals also have a discrete set of calls but they cannot
combine them to make more and more complicated
systems. Limited combinations.
2. Displacement We can talk about things that are present
now but also in the past or about the future or are far
away like on the moon. Also of abstract things that are just
figments of our imagination. We can imagine.
3. Joint attention/shared intentionality We work together as
a team in order to achieve a personal or joint goal. We can
work together in complicated ways and try to reach each
others minds in order to help each other. Animals cannot
work in those complicated ways.
Second Video
1. Does every human has a language?
To communicate
To think
To show we are to which society we belong

2. Languages not languages or part of linguistic

Programming, music, flower
3. Sign language is a form language human language is
transferring one idea in one head to another.
Just like spoken languages many kinds of sign language
with different variations hundreds same functionality
native people probably deaf people
4. People without language wolf children children without
parents or whose parents refused to speak to them
probably because they were deaf and the former were
Physical or psychological abuse Genie locked up in a
room for many years and never learned many language.
Never figured it out.
Lose language- aphasia mostly after stroke. An aphasic
person was studied in the 19th century to understand the
relation between the brain and language.
5. Evolutionary origin of language every human has
language older or younger no fossil to prove
continuity based theories: based on animal
communication and a complicated form of them.
Discontinuity based theories: something different to allow
the possibility of it to occur difficult to decide.
Being human means using language.
Discussion with Marten and Inge
Why dont we all speak the same language?
1. By showing that one is different from another.
2. When generations are learning language, they might
make mistakes. They have to learn it again which is a
complicated thing. Things can go wrong. This is how
different languages have emerged.
3. All of todays languages have originated from one
language and this from East Africa. Just like Adam is the
father of all humans, there is one sole language that is
the ancestor of all languages. a mere speculation
4. Can a constructed language qualify as a language?
Languages used in movies like Star Trek and Game of

Thrones are sci-fi and fantasy based languages that

have originally been created by linguists. However, a
linguist cannot make a natural language because there
will be no native speakers as children would not be
learning it or picking it up naturally. Children who learn
these artificial languages might not be a good
experience for them, since they will not have a
community to speak but would certainly be very
interesting for the linguists to experience and
experiment and would make it a natural language if a
community existed.
Language Variation- How Many?
Only guess. Ethnologue- language encyclopedia only 300
languages by the end of the century which would be a pity
since language tells us about the beauty of human speech and
their culture.
Turkish used big words and small sentences
Veitnamese Small words and bigger sentences
French and Italian are sister languages because they have one
parent, Latin.
Germanic German and English
Romance French and Italian

Indo European

Niger- Congo
Basque Isolated and not related to any other language
Languages are similar because of reasons of contact (different
language speakers come in contact with a widely spoken
language) and physical similarities in human beings
Linguists work in 5 different areas
Library Ethonologue and INterenet as well looking into
reference books historical linguists or philologists looking
into literature and book
Bush Field work go to difficult places to study languages
spoken and not written.
Closet spend time to think about a language which are full of
mysteries and puzzles, or to write a grammar. Theoretical
linguists Grammarians
Laboratory phonologists working on people and speech
sounds machines and microphone ----- psycholinguists
working with peoples minds and their relations to language
technology ------brain scanner and use of language.
Street small differences in the language in the everyday life of
people. Tiny differences which can result in large variations
between languages.
Victoria Nyst Sign Language linguistic structure of sign
language. African sign language is different European Sign
language. Like spoken language, sign languages have different
structures spoken languages are build of sounds (phonologyparameters: of hand: locations, orientation, movement,
handshape, non menu features all work in the articulation of
sounds phonemic - distinctive) also part of sign language.

Sign language what is the effect of modality on universal

language? a whole new window of how human language
Embodiment of the object or the outline using the hand?
Mandarin Chinese Han People 1 billion people Singapore
and Malaysia standard Chinese chin yu dialect but

Phonetics studies physical and physiological aspects of
sounds how we produce them
Phonology studies as part of the language
1. Finite set of sounds 20 20,000 vowels and consonants
2. Building blocks for constructing words
All languages work with consonants and vowels
International Phonetic Alphabets writes all the sounds of
the vowels and consonants in all the languages of the world.
Common to all the languages.
Consonants mostly more than vowels.
1. Airstream is not hindered in vowels
2. Every syllable has to have a vowel sound but not a
Phonetics - Three dimensions in the production of sound
1. Place of articulation
a. lips (p, m, b) Labial sounds
b. Alveolar the tip of the tongue touches the upper
sections of the mouth (l, n, t, d) Alveolar Sounds
c. Velar (k, g, n) Velar Sounds
2. Manner of articulation
a. Stop/Plosive (p, t, k) no air
b. Fricative some air (f, s)
c. Nasal (m, n)

d. Sonorant unhindered (l, g)

3. Voicing using throat vibrations
Are there consonants that appear in all languages?
T and M are the candidates. Simple, easy to see M. All the
languages have the same word for mother.
What set of consonants are there?
One language that has most consonants southern Africa
4. Vowels not that many vowels Most consonants than
vowels different to distinguish between vowels no
obstruction when saying vowels- Vowels for grammar a,
e, o or u, in all lanauges
Phonology features that are dimensions in phonetics

Morphology and Syntax

Express thoughts in words and sentences. Some languages can
have big words which can express many thoughts while other
languages can have smaller words with fewer or just one
Morphology Study of word structure
Syntax Study of sentence structure
Criteria of words
Spaces only for spoken and not written languages
Meaning one concept
Pronunciation a word is one form that cannot be interrupted
- Prosody the way in which we pronounce words
and sentences together
- Space within words possible
Parts of a word

Uncovering (suffix)

un: affix (prefix)

cover: base

ing: affix

All the bits are called morphemes = prefix + base + suffix

Do languages have more word than others?


Typologists studies correlations of words

Pragmatics and Semantics

1. Phonology and phonetics
2. Morphology and syntax
1. Semantic - literal meaning, testable
2. Pragmatic what you want to achieve, why does the
speaker does this: to inform, to order, to apologize,
other, context, involves I telling something to you, no
sentence exists without pragmatics
Some utterances may not have a semantic meaning but
will definitely have a pragmatic meaning.
1. Performative Meaning
2. Speech acts