the study of language pdf free download

the study of language pdf free download

Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Discuss on our WP Forum. Subscribe to Posts. Cambridge Extra. There have been many interesting developments in the study of language over the past two decades, but it is still a fact that any individual speaker of a language has a more comprehensive unconscious knowledge of how language works than any linguist has yet been able to describe.

Consequently, as you read each of the following chapters, take a critical view of the effectiveness of the descriptions, the analyses, and the generalizations by measuring them against your own intuitions about how your language works. By the end of the book, you should feel that you do know quite a lot. At the end of each chapter, there is a section where you can test and apply what you have learned. An early version of the written material was developed for Independent Study students at the University of Minnesota.

Later versions have had the benefit of expert advice from a lot of teachers working with diverse groups in different situations. I am particularly indebted to Professor Hugh Buckingham, Louisiana State University, for sharing his expertise and enthusiasm over many years as a colleague and friend. For my own introductory course, I remain indebted to Willie and Annie Yule, and, for my continuing enlightenment, to Maryann Overstreet.

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Is this content inappropriate? Report this Document. Flag for Inappropriate Content. Download Now. Related titles. Carousel Previous Carousel Next. Personalized experience. Get started with a FREE account. Load more similar PDF files. Gilland and R. Jespersen, O. Norton Gesture Corballis, M. Ingold eds. Get outa there! Hey you! Incredulous, I traced the source of the command to a large seal reclining vertically in the water, with his head extended back and up, his mouth slightly open, rotating slowly.

A seal was talking, not to me, but to the air, and incidentally to anyone within earshot who cared to listen. Deacon There are a lot of stories about creatures that can talk. We usually assume that they are fantasy or fiction or that they involve birds or animals simply imitating something they have heard humans say as Terrence Deacon discovered was the case with the loud seal in Boston Aquarium.

Yet we think that creatures are capable of communicating, certainly with other members of their own species. Is it possible that a creature could learn to communicate with humans using language?

Or does human language have properties that make it so unique that it is quite unlike any other communication system and hence unlearnable by any other creature? To answer these questions, we first look at some special properties of human language, then review a number of experiments in communication involving humans and animals.

Animals and human language 11 Communication We should first distinguish between specifically communicative signals and those which may be unintentionally informative signals. Someone listening to you may become informed about you through a number of signals that you have not intentionally sent.

Similarly, the blackbird is not normally taken to be communicating anything by having black feathers, sitting on a branch and looking down at the ground, but is considered to be sending a communicative signal with the loud squawking produced when a cat appears on the scene. So, when we talk about distinctions between human language and animal communication, we are considering both in terms of their potential as a means of intentional communication.

Properties of human language While we tend to think of communication as the primary function of human language, it is not a distinguishing feature.

All creatures communicate in some way. However, we suspect that other creatures are not reflecting on the way they create their communi- cative messages or reviewing how they work or not. Humans are clearly able to reflect on language and its uses e. This is reflexivity. Displacement When your pet cat comes home and stands at your feet calling meow, you are likely to understand this message as relating to that immediate time and place.

Animal communication seems to be designed exclusively for this moment, here and now. It cannot effectively be used to relate events that are far removed in time and place. Humans can refer to past and future time. This property of human language is called displacement. It allows language users to talk about things and events not present in the immediate environment. Indeed, displacement allows us to talk about things and places e.

Animal communication is generally considered to lack this property. We could look at bee communication as a small exception because it seems to have some version of displacement. For example, when a honeybee finds a source of nectar and returns to the beehive, it can perform a complex dance routine to communicate to the other bees the location of this nectar. Depending on the type of dance round dance for nearby and tail-wagging dance, with variable tempo, for further away and how far , the other bees can work out where this newly discovered feast can be found.

Yes, but it is displacement of a very limited type. Certainly, the bee can direct other bees to a food source. However, it must be the most recent food source.

It cannot be that delicious rose bush on the other side of town that we visited last weekend, nor can it be, as far as we know, possible future nectar in bee heaven. The connection is quite arbitrary. This aspect of the relationship between linguistic signs and objects in the world is described as arbitrariness. However, this type of game only emphasizes the arbitrariness of the connection that normally exists between a word and its meaning.

Animals and human language 13 Figure 2. English examples are cuckoo, crash, slurp, squelch or whirr. However, these onomatopoeic words are relatively rare in human language.

For the majority of animal signals, there does appear to be a clear connection between the conveyed message and the signal used to convey it. This impression we have of the non-arbitrariness of animal signaling may be closely connected to the fact that, for any animal, the set of signals used in communication is finite.

That is, each variety of animal communication consists of a fixed and limited set of vocal or gestural forms. Many of these forms are only used in specific situations e. Productivity Humans are continually creating new expressions and novel utterances by manipulat- ing their linguistic resources to describe new objects and situations.

The communication systems of other creatures are not like that. Cicadas have four signals to choose from and vervet monkeys have thirty-six vocal calls. Nor does it seem possible for creatures to produce new signals to communicate novel experiences or events. Ten bees were taken to the top, given a taste of the delicious food, and sent off to tell the rest of the hive about their find.

The message was conveyed via a bee dance and the whole gang buzzed off to get the free food. The problem seems to be that bee communication has a fixed set of signals for communicating location and they all relate to horizontal distance. This limiting feature of animal communication is described in terms of fixed reference. Each signal in the system is fixed as relating to a particular object or occasion.

These signals are fixed in terms of their reference and cannot be manipulated. Watch out for that flying snake! Cultural transmission While we may inherit physical features such as brown eyes and dark hair from our parents, we do not inherit their language. We acquire a language in a culture with other speakers and not from parental genes. An infant born to Korean parents in Korea, but adopted and brought up from birth by English speakers in the United States, will have physical characteristics inherited from his or her natural parents, but will inevitably speak English.

A kitten, given comparable early experiences, will produce meow regardless. This process whereby a language is passed on from one generation to the next is described as cultural transmission. It is clear that humans are born with some kind of predisposition to acquire language in a general sense. However, we are not born with the ability to produce utterances in a specific language such as English.

We acquire our first language as children in a culture. The general pattern in animal communication is that creatures are born with a set of specific signals that are produced instinctively. There is some evidence from studies of birds as they develop their songs that instinct has to combine with learning or exposure in order for the right song to be produced. If those birds spend their first seven weeks without hearing other birds, they will instinctively produce songs or calls, but those songs will be abnormal in some way.

Cultural transmission of a specific lan- guage is crucial in the human acquisition process. Animals and human language 15 Duality Human language is organized at two levels or layers simultaneously. In speech production, we have a physical level at which we can produce individual sounds, like n, b and i. As individual sounds, none of these discrete forms has any intrinsic meaning.

In a particular combination such as bin, we have another level producing a meaning that is different from the meaning of the combination in nib. So, at one level, we have distinct sounds, and, at another level, we have distinct meanings. This duality of levels is, in fact, one of the most economical features of human language because, with a limited set of discrete sounds, we are capable of producing a very large number of sound combinations e. Among other creatures, each communicative signal appears to be a single fixed form that cannot be broken down into separate parts.

If the dog was operating with the double level i. Talking to animals If these properties of human language make it such a unique communication system, quite different from the communication systems of other creatures, then it would seem extremely unlikely that other creatures would be able to understand it.

Some humans, however, do not behave as if this is the case. There is, after all, a lot of spoken language directed by humans to animals, apparently under the impression that the animal follows what is being said. Riders can say Whoa to horses and they stop or so it seems , we can say Heel to dogs and they will follow at heel well, sometimes , and a variety of circus animals go Up, Down and Roll over in response to spoken commands.

Should we treat these examples as evidence that non-humans can understand human language? Probably not. If it seems difficult to conceive of animals understanding human language, then it appears to be even less likely that an animal would be capable of producing human language. After all, we do not generally observe animals of one species learning to produce the signals of another species. And, in some homes, a new baby and a puppy may arrive at the same time.

Baby and puppy grow up in the same environment, hearing mostly the same things, but about two years later, the baby is making lots of human speech sounds and the puppy is not. But perhaps a puppy is a poor example. Chimpanzees and language The idea of raising a chimp and a child together may seem like a nightmare, but this is basically what was done in an early attempt to teach a chimpanzee to use human language.

In the s, two scientists Luella and Winthrop Kellogg reported on their experience of raising an infant chimpanzee together with their baby son. In the s, a chimpanzee named Viki was reared by another scientist couple Catherine and Keith Hayes in their own home, exactly as if she was a human child. Viki eventually managed to produce some words, rather poorly articulated versions of mama, papa and cup. In retrospect, this was a remarkable achievement since it has become clear that non-human primates do not actually have a physically structured vocal tract which is suitable for articulating the sounds used in speech.

Washoe Recognizing that a chimpanzee was a poor candidate for spoken language learning, another scientist couple Beatrix and Allen Gardner set out to teach a female chim- panzee called Washoe to use a version of American Sign Language.

As described later in Chapter 15, this sign language has all the essential properties of human language and is learned by many congenitally deaf children as their natural first language. From the beginning, the Gardners and their research assistants raised Washoe like a human child in a comfortable domestic environment.

In a period of three and a half years, Washoe came to use signs for more than a hundred words, ranging from airplane, baby and banana through to window, woman and you. Some of the forms appear to have been inventions by Washoe, as in her novel sign for bib and in the combination water bird referring to a swan , which would seem to indicate that her communication system had the potential for productivity.

Washoe also demonstrated understanding of a much larger number of signs than she produced and was capable of holding rudimentary conversations, mainly in the form of question—answer sequences. A similar ability with sign language was reported by Francine Patterson working with a gorilla named Koko not long after. Sarah and Lana At the same time as Washoe was learning sign language, another chimpanzee was being taught by Ann and David Premack to use a set of plastic shapes for the purpose of communicating with humans.

The basic approach was quite different from that of the Gardners. Sarah was systematically trained to associate these shapes with objects or actions. She remained an animal in a cage, being trained with food rewards to manipulate a set of symbols. Once she had learned to use a large number of these plastic shapes, Sarah was capable of getting an apple by selecting the correct plastic shape a blue triangle from a large array.

Notice that this symbol is arbitrary since it would be hard to argue for any natural connection between an apple and a blue plastic triangle. Sarah was also capable of producing Figure 2. Sarah got the chocolate. A similar training technique with another artificial language was used by Duane Rumbaugh to train a chimpanzee called Lana. The language she learned was called Yerkish and consisted of a set of symbols on a large keyboard linked to a computer. When Lana wanted some water, she had to press four symbols, in the correct sequence, to produce the message please machine give water.

Figure 2. There is, however, a lot of skepticism regarding these apparent linguistic skills. This is only one of the many arguments that have been presented against the idea that the use of signs and symbols by these chimpan- zees is similar to the use of language. They also emphasize a major difference between the experiences of Washoe and Nim.

While Nim was kept in a windowless cell as a research animal and had to deal with a lot of different research assistants who were often not fluent in American Sign Language, Washoe lived in a domestic environment with a lot of opportunity for imaginative play and interaction with fluent signers who were also using sign language with each other. They also report that another group of younger chimpanzees not only learned sign language, but also occasionally used signs with each other and with Washoe, even when there were no humans present.

Kanzi In a more recent set of studies, an interesting development relevant to this controversy came about almost by accident. Although Matata did not do very well, her son Kanzi spontaneously started using the symbol system with great ease. He had learned not by being taught, but by being exposed to, and observing, a kind of language in use at a very early age. Kanzi eventually developed a large symbol vocabulary over forms. By the age of eight, he was reported to be able, through the association of symbols with spoken words, to demonstrate understanding of spoken English at a level comparable to a two-and-a-half-year-old human child.

He had also become capable of using his symbol system to ask to watch his favorite movies, Quest for Fire about primitive humans and Greystoke about the Tarzan legend.

Using language Important lessons have been learned from attempts to teach chimpanzees how to use forms of language. We have answered some questions. Were Washoe and Kanzi capable of taking part in interaction with humans by using a symbol system chosen by humans and not chimpanzees? In a very broad sense, language does serve as a type of communication system that can be observed in a variety of different situations.

In another situation, we observe very similar behavior from chimpanzees and bonobos when they are interacting with humans they know. It is in this more fundamental or abstract sense that we say that language is uniquely human. In the following chapters, we will begin to look in detail at the many elements that make up this uniquely human phenomenon. Animals and human language 21 Study questions 1 Why is reflexivity considered to be a special property of human language?

B We recognized a distinction early in the chapter between communicative and informative signals. D What was the significance of the name given to the chimpanzee in the research conducted by the psychologist Herbert Terrace? E We reviewed studies involving chimpanzees and bonobos learning to communicate with humans.

Can only African apes accomplish this task? Are there any studies involving the Asian great ape, the orangutan, learning how to use a human communication system? F Consider these statements about the symbol-using abilities of chimpanzees in animal language studies and decide if they are correct or not. What evidence can be used to argue for or against the accuracy of these statements?

II The most persistent criticism of the chimpanzee language-learning projects is that the chimpanzees are simply making responses like trained animals for rewards and are consequently not using language to express anything.

Read over the following reports and try to decide how the different behaviors of these chimpanzees Dar, Washoe and Moja should be characterized. Signs are represented by words in capital letters. I was hoping for Washoe to potty herself and did not comply.

Greg was hooting and making other sounds, to prevent Dar from falling asleep. This went on. Finally I woofed and Moja leapt on me and hugged me. Moja stares longingly at Dairy Queen as we drive by.

For background reading, see Rimpau et al. Gardner and T. Wang ed. The Emergence of Language 16—27 W. Freeman Lana Rumbaugh, D. Archibald, M. Aronoff and J. Gardner and B. Gardner, B. Others may stumble but not you On hiccough, thorough, lough and through. Well done!

And now you wish, perhaps, To learn of less familiar traps? Beware of heard, a dreadful word, That looks like beard and sounds like bird. Watch out for meat and great and threat They rhyme with suite and straight and debt. You see the sign and you decide to ask what kind of new thing this is.

When you hear the pronunciation, you recognize the word usually written as chef. How did he arrive at that other spelling? Take the first sound of the word sure, the middle sound of the word dead, and the final sound of the word laugh.

If we cannot use the letters of the alphabet in a consistent way to represent the sounds we make, how do we go about describing the sounds of a language like English? One solution is to produce a separate alphabet with symbols that represent sounds.

Such a set of symbols does exist and is called the phonetic alphabet. In this chapter, we will look at how these symbols are used to represent both the consonant and vowel sounds of English words and what physical aspects of the human vocal tract are involved in the produc- tion of those sounds. Phonetics The general study of the characteristics of speech sounds is called phonetics.

Our main interest will be in articulatory phonetics, which is the study of how speech sounds are made, or articulated. Other areas of study are acoustic phonetics, which deals with the physical properties of speech as sound waves in the air, and auditory phonetics or perceptual phonetics which deals with the perception, via the ear, of speech sounds.

Voiced and voiceless sounds In articulatory phonetics, we investigate how speech sounds are produced using the fairly complex oral equipment we have.

We start with the air pushed out by the lungs up through the trachea or windpipe to the larynx. Inside the larynx are your vocal folds or vocal cords , which take two basic positions.

Sounds produced in this way are described as voiceless. Sounds produced in this way are described as voiced. Because these are voiced sounds, you should be able to feel some vibration. The pragmatic approach to the study of language, then, is clearly concerned with does he suggest that the context-free. George Yule The Study of Language now available onlinebibliothek. English phonetics and phonology: A practical coursewww. Sentence and utterance. Free UK delivery on eligible orders.

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