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1

Language as a distinct system of knowledge in the mind. How is it manifested?

MIND, BODY, BRAIN.
It is manifested in the body through speech, sign, and writing. The physical basis of the linguistic cognitive system in the brain.

2

A working definition of the mind

That aspect of a person constituted by the conscious and unconcious processes of attending, knowing, thinkinb, percieving, remembering, desiring, and solving problems ..... and the content of those processes; Knowledge, ideas, concepts, memories ...

3

Cognitive system of a language involves:

COGNOSCO "i know"

- the conscious and
unconscious processes and content of knowledge of language.

4

Major tasks of linguistics:

- identify the knowledge of language that is a general phenomenon in human beings

- identify the conscious and unconscious knowledge that speakers acquire of a given language

5

Knowledge affects our perception (MIND)

We hear a range of similar sounds as ‘the same sound’, selectively ignoring certain differences.

eg. phonetic illusion of [n] and [n̪].
same sound to english speakers, clearly distinct to Tamil speakers.

6

Neurolinguistics
(Language in terms of Brain)

Are certain parts of the brain responsible for certain aspects of language?

We have evidence for how language is stored and processed in the brain from
- direct monitoring or measuring of brain function during language-based activity
- effect of physical disruption to brain (inc. INJURY)

7

The external manifestation of language is in physical expression by the
body

- SOUND in speech
- VISUAL/tactile in writing
- VISUAL/tactile in sign languages

8

Language acquisition

is linguistic knowledge learned, like table manners, or does it develop, like walking?

- Noam Chomsky argues that L1 acquisition is a central issue, bc certain fundamental linguistic knowledge is INNATE

(nativist claim: some inherited language-specific abilities that underlie all languages)

- If lang ability is (in some aspects) innate, it is part of our shared
human genetic inheritance.
EG. U can put baby in any lang environment, +they’ll pick up the language of the environment they’re in.

NOT ALL ASPECTS INNATE (diff lang = diff words)

9

Evolution of language?

major claim = human language is different in kind from the
communication systems of other existing species.

If lang ability innate, HOW did we evolve this ability? WHAT point? WHAT stages?

10

What do we know if we know a language?

A knowledge of language involves a knowledge of how MEANING is
associated with linguistic FORM.

We can say that FORM ENCODES MEANING.

11

Kinds of linguistic form and meaning:

- The sounds of morphemes like un-, –ing, read (minimal
meaningful units)

- The sounds of specific words like cats, mat, decylindrification

- Syntactic structures (phrases, clauses and sentences)

12

Phonology definition

knowledge of sounds and patterns of sounds

- The INDIVIDUAL SOUNDS in a language.
EG - /d/ or /k/ in Australian English.
EG - trilled ‘r’ in Scottish English.

- The ORGANISATION or PATTERN of sounds within words in a language.
EG - plentile is a ‘possible’ English word.
EG - *ngdapsh is not a ‘possible’ English word.

13

Morphology definition

knowledge of meaningful parts of words and their organisation

- INDIV MEANINGFUL PARTS
eg. dogs = DOG + plural

- POSSIBLE COMBOS
eg. walk+ing but not *beware+ing

- ORDER of meaningful parts
eg. un-believe-able but not *able-believe-un

14

Syntax definition

knowledge of WELL-FORMEDNESS according to the PRINCIPLES by which words are COMBINED in the language.

Mary wants everyone to like her.
- ‘her’ can be another female or Mary.

Mary likes her.
- ‘her’ can be another female, but not Mary.

*** SEMANTIC KNOWLEDGE IS NOT THE SAME AS KNOWLEDGE OF ANOMALY IN A GIVEN WORLD ***
In what world would this sentence not be anomalous?
The cute little kittens sewed the milk.

15

Sentences can pose processing difficulties while being perfectly
well-formed.

Garden-path sentences ‘(mis-)lead you down the garden path’

- U start to process the sentence as having one structure but then realise that doesn’t work, so re-process it.

- A bouncer glassed by a drunk patron ... wants the man convicted of the unprovoked attack to be jailed.
- Throw me down the stairs my hat.

16

Pragmatic Knowledge

Using language requires knowledge outside of language:

- knowledge of the physical and social world
- guesses about what other people know, intend, expect etc.

"No, Iosha gave it... a girl in my class gave it to me."
MID SENTENCE CHANGE DUE TO GUESSES ABOUT WHAT HEARER KNOWS

17

the physical processes of speech

- Anatomical function = generally common to humans, regardless of what lang they speak
- linguistically important aspects, EG specific articulations, are different in different languages

Physical manifestations of: THE SOUND SYSTEM

18

The sound system

how words & utterances are constituted (made up)
- some aspects specific to each lang
- some fundamental aspects general to lang.

19

Speech sounds vs other sounds

We can distinguish.
There is definable range of speech sounds used in human lang - VARIES ENORMOUSLY, e.g. click sounds in Xhosa

Possible sounds not used in language:
- hiccups
- tooth grinding
- burps
- "whistled lang" arent independent languages (silbo)

20

Perception of other languages

Perception of speech sounds in other languages = influenced by a person’s knowledge of the sound system of their first/main/only language.

Perception of speech sounds (even in OWN lang) = influenced by their knowledge of the sound system of that language.

- VISUAL CUES can influence perception of speech sounds
- LITERACY complicates perception of speech sounds

Anne + Anthem. English speakers think dental [n] and plain [n] are same sound because they are used interchangeably in english, not important difference

but in Arrernte:
aneme (sit, be) + anheme (rain, wet) the dental n is used to distinguish words. as diff as night and day