We kicked off a wonderful year of linguistics with a brief introductory lecture by Aaron Szabo covering the basics of linguistics. There were also cookies, courtesy of our official Linguistics Club Baker Alison Reynolds. Lecture slides are up here.
- Phones – Speech sounds
- Produced as air from the lungs is pushed through the glottis (opening between the vocal cords) and out the mouth.
- Classification: voicing, aspiration, nasal/oral sounds, places of articulation, and manners of articulation
- Produced by a continuous airstream and all are voiced.
- Classification: height of the tongue, part of the tongue involved, and position of the lips.
- Describes the way sounds function within a given language and operates at the level of sound systems and abstract sound units.
- Need to know more than the sounds of a language: dime -> time
- Contrasting sounds – distinguishing sounds between two words
- Phonemes – families of phones regard as a single sound
- Are abstract mental representations of the phonological units of a language
- Made up of phones
- Allophones – the different phones that are the realization of a phoneme
- Hypothesis: Language is a structure of the human mind
- Goal: make a complete model of this inner language (i-language)
- Pioneered by Noam Chomsky
- Attributes syntactic structure not to rules of grammar but to the properties of the syntactic categories themselves
- Syntactic units are arranged according to the dependency relation, opposed to the constituency relation of phrase structure
- Verb is structural center of all clause structures, all other units directly or indirectly depend on the verb
Stochastic/Probabilistic Grammars/Network Theories
- Theoretical approach based upon probability theory
- Focused upon form, but driven by explanation based upon the function of a sentence
- Lexical Semantics – the meanings of words and the meaning of relationships among words
- Phrasal Semantics – the meaning of syntactic units larger than the word
- Homonyms: different words that are pronounced the same, but may or may not be spelled the same (to, two, and too)
- Polysemous: word that has multiple meanings that are related conceptually or historically (bear can mean to tolerate or to carry or to support)
- Homograph: different words that are spelled identically and possibly pronounced the same; if they are pronounced the same, they are also homonyms (pen can mean writing utensil or cage)
- Heteronym: homographs that are pronounced differently (dove the bird and dove the past tense of dive)
- Synonym: words that mean the same but sound different (couch and sofa)
- Antonym: words that are opposite in meaning
- Complementary pairs: alive and dead
- Gradable pairs: big and small (no absolute scale)
- Hyponym: set of related words (red, white, yellow, blue are all hyponyms of “color”)
- Metonym: word used in place of another to convey the same meaning (jock used for athlete, Washington used for American government, crown used for monarcy)
- Retronym: expressions that are no longer redundant (silent movie used to be redundant because a long time ago, all movies were silent, but this is no longer true or redundant)
- Thematic roles – the semantic relationships between verbs and noun phrases of sentences
- Presuppositions – implicit assumptions required to make a sentence meaningful.
Areas of Research
- Historical Linguistics: Study of the history of a specific language and how languages change over time
- Sociolinguistics: Study of how language is shaped by social factors
- Developmental Linguistics: Study of the development of linguistic ability in individuals, particularly language acquisition in childhood
- Neurolingusitics: Study of the structures in the human brain that underlie grammar and communication