Structural Linguistics Vs. Universal Grammar/Generative Grammar
What is basic – Grammar or the building blocks that go into syntax?
Ullman Ppt Ullman-CBBC2006
The Interactive Activation Model explained
Past tense Connectionists Rumelhart and McClelland were trying to model cognitive processes for computer [David Rumelhart respected in field of cognitive science]
Vs generativists generative phonology and their descendents, such as those of Chomsky and Halle
Vs The Words and Rules (WR) theory Pinker and Prince
Stephen Pinker: in Words and Rules looking at a single aspect of language and examining it from every angle.
the study of the biological and neural foundations of language
Cortex: surface of the brain “gray matter“
white matter: connecting fibers beneath the cortex
cerebral hemispheres: left/right halves of the brain
corpus callosum: network of 2 million fibers connecting the hemispheres
contralateral brain function: left side of brain controls functioning of right side of body and right hemisphere of brain controls left side of body.
Modularity of the Brain
First indications came from phrenology – practice of determining personality traits and abilities based on reading the bumps on the skull. Proposed by Franz Joseph Gall in early 1800s. Phrenology has been discarded but Gall’s concept of modularity has been upheld.
Paul Broca – 1864: related language to the left side of the brain, based on autopsies of people who had language deficits and damage to the left frontal lobes of brian. This area came to be calledBroca’s area
Broca’s Aphasia: language disorder that results from injury to Broca’s area
Aphasia: any language disorder that results from brain damage caused by disease or trauma
Carl Wernicke – 1874 – identified aphasia in patients with damage to the back left portion of brain. (Wernicke’s area)
Wernicke’s aphasia: patients who spoke fluently but had numerous lexical errors; using jargon and nonsense words. Had difficulty in comprehending speech.
Childhood brain lesions
Hemiplegic children: have lesions on one side of the brain; shows differing cognitive abilities
surgical severing of the corpus callosum – no communication between two side of brain
contralateral stimuli (opposite side) outweigh ipsilateral stimuli
reason: stimuli don’t have to cross the corpus callosum
EEG – based evidence: Event-related Brain Potentials (ERPs)
Cognitive neurophysiology is the study of changes in brain function and the relationship of such changes to thought processes. The primary physiological signal that we measure is the electroencephalogram or EEG. The EEG reflects summated potentials generated by the electrochemical signaling processes by which networks of neurons process information. The EEG changes in predictable ways as a function of level of alertness, type and/or intensity of mental activity, and particular forms of brain pathology. We record the EEG by arrays of electrodes attached with conductive gel to many locations across the scalp. Similar sensors are attached to the face in the region of the eyes to record the electro-oculogram or EOG, that is, the electrical potentials generated by eye movements and blinks. The EOG can also provide useful information about mental state.
For a more in-depth explanation of ERPs: Coles & Rugg 1995
Other interesting applications of ERPs:
Brain Fingerprinting for Counter-Terrorism
Language Perception & learning strategies
Neural basis of musicality
Historical Evidence for Brain Modularity: Studies of Aphasia Carl Linnaeus (1745) studied jargon aphasia, a disease in which the patient substitutes a semantically similar word for the intended word.
Johannes Gesner (1770) attributed language difficulties to specific impairment of language memory. He observed bilingual asymmetry in which an abbot who had brain damage could read Latin but not German.
Broca’s aphasics – agrammatic aphasia: utterances without function words, problems understanding syntactic structure
Wernicke’s aphasics – may produce fluent but unintelligible speech, substitute one sound for another (table -> sable) or one word for another. (chair -> table) Also jargon aphasia.
One way that has been tried to help such patients communicate is to have them write the words they want to communicate. In England a Lightwriter has been used to help aphasic patients communicate. Words can be typed and show up on two screens, one for the writer and one for the person they want to communicate with.
Acquired dyslexics: people who lose the ability to read after brain damage
Linguistic savants: individuals who are handicapped in certain spheres but remarkably talented in others
Specific Language Impairment: Seems to have genetic basis, affect identical twins – support modular view of language facility
FoxP2 is the first identified gene that is specifically involved in speech and language development in humans (not in book)
The Critical Period: period from birth to puberty when language acquisition proceeds easily
evidence: “wild” children, Genie, Chelsea
Bird Songs: some species learn calls, like these:
But the other’s calls, like that of the cuckoo, seem to be biologically determined
Problem: spoken language existed long before written records are preserved.
Beliefs cloud the topic: monogenetic – belief that all langauges originated from a single source (Tower of Babel story)
Ullman & Pinker: Words/Rules Theory vs. Connectionist Model
About Joseph Greenberg
Terms in Greenburg (relevant to language typology)
Diachronic: looking at something (i.e., language) in respect to the passage of time
Synchronic: looking at something at a given moment in time.
Ways to Categorize Languages:
Genetic (historical or diachronic)
Word order (Syntax)
Types of Nouns or Verbs or Prepositions/adpositions
Types of languages in relation to the number of morphemes in a word:
|Type||Morpheme to Word ratio||Examples|
|Isolating||a word is usually one morpheme||Chinese, English|
|Synthetic||there is usually more than one morpheme per word||German, Japanese|
|Polysynthetic||there are a large number of morphemes per word||Mohawk, Yup’ik Inuit|
The History of Writing
Logograms: symbols that represent words (used in word-writing systems like Chinese)
Emoticons: strings of text characters that represent emotions; used in email and electronic communication
Modern Writing Systems
Reading, Writing, and Speech
This explains the ‘herb’ pronunciation differences between American and British English; Which one is the more conservative?
And how do you pronounce Worcester, Mass? Or Berkeley?
Linguistic Signs – arbitrary relationship between form & meaning
Lexicon: mental database of roots, inflectional and derivational morphemes
What does our morphological knowledge consist of?
|Morphemes (smallest units of meaning)
||Morphological Rules (how to combine morphemes)|
Free morphemes: can stand alone as a word
Bound morphemes: always appear as part of a word
|none in English||
|-able||none in English|
Better example of English infix: Minne-frigging-sota (A. Spokane)
Root: a lexical content morpheme that cannot be analyzed into smaller parts
Monomorphemic words: words which have only one morpheme
Derivational morphemes: create a new word with a different meaning, such as un- when added to a noun, thus creating the opposite meaning
Derived word: a word that has had a derivational morpheme added to it
Derivation is governed by rules reflecting a hierarchical structure
Tree diagrams for representing a word
Inflectional morphemes: create words with a different grammatical meaning, such as ‘make’ becoming makes’ when the third person singular suffix is added.
Lexical gaps: Not all possible words are formed by a language
*I admire your coolth.
Heard of cranberry morphemes?
Sign Language Morphology
Sign languages have root morphemes, affixes, free and bound morphemes, and morphological rules.
Derivation is accomplished through modification of the hand movement and the space in which the signs are articulated. (Sign uses a rectangular space in front of the body for signing)
Right-most word is the head (determines the meaning and grammatical category)
Words derived from initials of several words.
Pronunciation can be based on the letters, sounded out as a word or just sounding out each letter.
Created because of incorrect morphological analysis: pease –> pea
Words abbreviated then the abbreviation becomes lexicalized: facsimile –> Fax; pianoforte -> piano
Dis (from disrespect) = clipping
Words from Names
Words that came from a person’s name; sandwich, jumbo, paparazzi
Two words are combined and parts deleted; smog, motel, infomercial
Function words, such as it or to only have a grammatical meaning
Exceptions and Suppletions
Suppletive forms are irregular and are treated differently by the grammar; their inflections may even be “invisible”
New words, however, come into the language usually with regular inflections, such as geek(s), fax(es). But sometimes borrowed words come in to the language with the plural form of their native grammar; datum/data
SO, these words have to be memorized – regular rules don not apply. See lists of irregular plurals in English
Morphology and Syntax
Some languages allow affixes to grammatical relationships, while others rely on word order.
There is often more than one way to express grammatical relations
Fun with Morphological Analysis
The Martian linguist – where does this idea come from? It’s from Chomsky; he uses it this way:
What is Language?
Knowledge of the sound system
Knowledge of words
How do you recognize the ‘funny’ sentences? (p. 11)
(Posited by Chomsky)
Second, the distinction between competence and performance, first expounded by Chomsky in 1965, remains problematic to all sociolinguists. A speaker’s competence is the underlying ability to produce and interpret well-formed sentences in a given language and to distinguish well-formed from ill-formed strings. The specifics of such competence are generally established by eliciting intuitions (or using the analyst’s own intuitions) of grammaticality. Performance, on the other hand, covers not only the manifestation of competence on actual occasions of language use, but the effects of memory, perception, and attention on language behavior. In 1986, Chomsky revised the competence/performance dichotomy, preferring a distinction between I(nternal) and (E)xternal language.
As Sidnell (2000) points out, this change in terminology involved no
significant alteration in the underlying abstraction except a slight
change of focus on what constitutes E-language. While generativists are interested exclusively in competence/ I-language and have not elaborated any coherent theory of performance/ E-language, the distinction is problematic to sociolinguists, most obviously because it treats language as intrinsically asocial…(Sociolinguistics: Method and Interpretation By Lesley Milroy, Matthew Gordon)
Comment: Get used to this…many do not revise their linguistic truisms even long after they have been abandoned by the original theorist. This happens a lot with Chomsky in particular.
What is Grammar?
Mental grammar– Rules that exist in the brain of the speaker and
permit use of the language
Descriptive: telling what people say
Grammatical: an utterance
that conforms to the mental grammar’s rules as well as the linguist’s descriptive
Ungrammatical: deviates from a speaker’s intuitions; this might mean the utterance is part of a different dialect or register. (i.e., British English: at the weekend;
AAE I be waiting; double negatives
are permitted in Ind-European language
Prescriptive: telling people what they should say;
Dialect varieties- standard, prestige
Teaching grammar – used to learn a second / foreign language
to everything a speaker knows about their language:
Universal grammar: laws representing the universal properties of all language
Important quote: (p. 19) “To discover the nature of this universal
grammar whose principles characterize all human languages is the major aim of linguistic theory.”
How close are we?
Most current researchers in language acquisition question Chomsky’s proposed language acquisition device (LAD) and the existence of an underlying structure to children’s utterances.
Summary -what we know about language (p.27)
Boas, in “The Limitations of the Comparative Method of Anthropology,” said:
Boas wanted to replace the comparative method with one that emphasizes observation of culture traits in detail and in context with neighboring cultures. He proposed an inductive approach (we would call it ’bottom-up’ today) of exploring culture. Ethnographic research is based on observation without preconceived notions (or hypotheses), but with an open mind.
Paper on the Sound Patterns of Language lays the ground work for Phonemics.
He wanted to show that sounds are influenced by their environment (other sounds) and that they have a ‘psychological reality” for speakers. He argues that it is not physical aspect sod the sound that are meaningful but psychological aspects of how users experience the sounds.
Note: Voiceless Dental Fricative compared to Voiced Dental Fricative
Choose one of the questions (from 1,2,3,4,6,10) on pp. 30
– 32 to discuss. Then share your conclusions.
Course #: IMA540 – Focused Study II Title: Linguistics and Expression Credits: 3
Mode: Course Term: Fall 2014
Instructor: Jill Robbins, Ph.D. Student: Tyler Bean
Class Time: Weds. 8:00 – 10:00 pm
Assignments and schedule:
Weekly/ongoing conferences with instructor; note-taking and/or journaling
|Human Language, Animal Language, Language Universals, Typology, Linguistic Relativism,Morphology||1(8/27)||IL Chapter 1: What is Language
Boas (1896)Sapir (1925)
|1,3, 4, 6, 11|
|2 Sept 3||IL Chapter 3: MorphologyWhorf (1956) p. 57-64||4, 5, 7, 8, 10|
|3 9/10||IL Chapter 12: Writing||9, 10, 11, 12|
|4 9/17||Greenberg (1974) p. 11 -57||Aspect paper+|
|Brain and Language, Language and Cognition, Psycholinguistics,||5
|IL Chapter 2: Brain & LanguageSkinner (1980)||7, 8, 9, 13|
|Ullman & Pinker (2002)|
|7 10/8||Chomsky (1980)Ullman (2004)||Aspect paper+|
|Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis (part 1), Meaning of Language, Truth, Generative Semantics||8 10/15||Tannen, D. (2005) Ch 2 – 4|
|9 – 10/24||IL Chapter 5: The Meaning of Language||4, 6, 7, 14, 15|
|10 – 10/29||Lakoff (1980) Chapters 1-7 (p. 1-34)|
|1111/5||Tannen (2013) Ch 6.||Aspect paper+|
|Sociolinguistics, Language in Modern Society, Language Change, Computers and Language Analysis||1211/12||IL Chapter 9: Language Processing: Humans and ComputersLabov (1982) Chapters III & IV (optional Ch. I & II.)||2, 3, 4, 7|
|1311/19||IL Chapter 10: Language in SocietyLabov (2013) Ch. 1-4.||11, 14, 15, 16|
|1412/3||IL Chapter 11: Language Change||6, 7, 11, 12|
|(Dec 12)||Synthesis||Research Paper|
I co-authored the Integrating EFL Standards Into Chinese Classroom Settings Series, described below.
[from TESOL.org] The four books in this series were written to inspire and support all Chinese English-language educators. They combine the best of traditional Chinese teaching with the Ministry of Education’s call for new and creative approaches to instruction.
Features, in Chinese and English:
These features offer Chinese teachers, administrators, and supervisors a dynamic approach to good teaching.
The complete series includes:
Integrating EFL Standards Into Chinese Classroom Settings
Portfolio-Based Professional Development and Appraisal
Background of China English as a Foreign Language Standards (CEFLS) Project
CEFLS was a 30-month standards-development, materials writing, and teacher education project. Three organizations collaborated on this project: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), with headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, in the United States; The McGraw-Hill Companies, with headquarters in New York City, New York, in the United States; and National Foreign Language Teaching and Research Association (NFLTRA), with headquarters in Beijing, China.
Teacher Performance Standards (PDF)
The CEFLS project’s teacher performance standards are built around eight domains. These domains are derived from research into previously published standards as well as the reflections of CEFLS writers, reviewers, and associates on the characteristics of good teaching.
To create these teacher performance standards, CEFLS participants consulted the Chinese Ministry of Education’s (MOE) English Curriculum Standards (2003). CEFLS was specifically inspired by the stated desire to “change the formal teaching methods that emphasize grammar and vocabulary teaching and ignore the cultivation of language use” (MOE, 2003, p. 1). CEFLS continues the curriculum’s emphasis on learner and teacher attitudes, engaging the students’ interests, task-based learning, and performance objectives.
Learner Content Standards (PDF)
The CEFLS Project’s learner content standards correlate to the Chinese Ministry of Education’s (MOE) English Curriculum Standards (2003) and form a harmonious overlay with the MOE’s standards. These content standards for learners provide a concise, clear, and complete statement of the outcomes toward which Chinese EFL teachers may guide their students. They offer teachers a supportive structure along with the freedom to pursue the outcomes in their own creative ways and though whatever resources are at their disposal.