Very soon we will meet, be introduced to linguistics, and do some puzzles. There will be cookies for new folk (and cookies for old folk, supplies permitting). We’ll be in room 346 after 9th period, come by and have some fun!
Main takeaway from this lecture: Be careful what you post on the internet, because linguistics may be studying it. Also, how “Honey We’re Killing the Kids” used language to make its points and a linguistic dissection of moderator techniques to shut down threads without making people hate them.
Continue reading Language on TV and in Forums (Cynthia Gordon, 5/18)
Agreement is weird. Agreement in English is especially weird, because we can’t seem to make up our minds about whether we want it or not (the answer is no, guys, come on, it’s not that hard). Making up our minds seems to be a common problem, though, especially when it comes to sentences like “The key to the cabinets is behind the sofa”. Chris Hammerly talks about why this sentence in particular is so often misconjugated.
When children are learning words, they acquire new words by noticing how words are used. This is all well and good, but when people use words like “think”, “want”, or “believe”, it can be hard for a kid to figure out a concrete relationships. While “want” is easy for kids, “believe” takes a long time to acquire. Researchers used to believe this has to do with when kids acquire the ideas (they believed kids took longer to understand different people had different beliefs), but new studies suggest otherwise. Read the slides or the notes below for more information.
Semantics is the study of “what does that sentence even mean actually?”. Human languages aren’t great at being specific, so linguistics try to write the meaning of sentences in precise first order logic. But when those darn donkey sentences start messing everything up, we need something more…dynamic. Read lecture notes below or the slides for details (part 1 and part 2).
Alia Lancaster of the UMD came and talked about the way native speakers of English perceive Arabic phonemes. Slides are here.
Isaac Eaton talked about the Indo-European language family, with a focus on phonology. There might be slides one day.
Sophomore Raphael Mu talked about Backus Normal Form, a method of describing syntax in context-free grammar, and its applications in programming languages.
This Wednesday, we learned about various types of puns with sophomore Gabe Udell. A video of the lecture is available here.