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Linguistics Unit 11 Linguistics: the scientific study of language Linguists: interested in discovering and describing the rules that

govern the communication system we call language Language: a rule-governed communication system Rule-governed system: when a system is based on rules that its users know and follow (Morse code, semaphore, traffic signals, communication among bees, birds, dolphins and nonhuman primates) Morphology: the study of the way in which words are constructed out of smaller meaningful units Phonology: the study of the sound system of language; how the particular sounds used in each language form an integrated system for encoding information and how such systems differ from one language to another Pragmatics: how the meaning conveyed by a word or sentence depends on aspects of the context in which it is used (such as time, place, social relationship between speaker and hearer, and speakers assumptions about the hearers beliefs) Semantics: the study of meaning; how words and sentences are related to the (real or imaginary) objects they refer to and the situations they describe. Syntax: the study of the way in which sentences are constructed; how sentences are related to each other Symmetry Condition: states that in a two-handed sign, if both hands move, they have the same handshape and type of movement (ex: DRAMA, MAYBE) Dominance Condition: states that in a two-handed sign, if each hand has a different handshape, then only the active hand can move; the passive hand serves as a base and does not move. (ex: WORD, MONEY) Seven basic handshapes of the non-dominant hand: B, A, S, O, C, 1 (or G), 5 Arbitrary: the form of the symbol does not reflect the form of the thing or activity it symbolizes (WRONG, LOUSY) Iconic: the form of the symbol is an icon or picture of some aspect of the thing or activity being symbolizes (GIRL, BOY) Both spoken languages and signed languages have iconic and arbitrary symbols. Example, cock-a-doodle-doo is iconic.

What makes a rule-based system a true language? 1. Language is productive, meaning there are an infinite number of sentences that can be produced. 2. Language has ways of showing the relationship between symbols. Many code systems are based on sequence. Language can so a relationship between the symbols (words). The boy sit(s) on the couch. Sits changed in relation to the boy. 3. Language has ways to introduce new symbols. Language permits the constant introduction of new symbols by a variety of avenues. New signs and new words are added constantly. 4. Language can be used for an unrestricted number of topics (domains). 5. The symbols can be broken down into smaller parts. In ASL, signs can be broken into handshape, location, palm orientation and movement. In English, words are broken down into letters. 6. More than one meaning can be conveyed by a symbol or group of symbols. 7. Language can refer to the past, future and nonimmediate situations. Its not restricted to the present. 8. Language changes across time. 9. Language can be used interchangeably among all users. All users of a language can send and receive messages. 10. Language users can monitor their use. We listen, make corrections, start over, clarify etc. 11. Parts of the system must be learned from other users. Humans are born with the innate ability to learn language from adults and peers. Insects and animals may do that to some extent. 12. Language users can learn other variants of the same language. We can learn regional dialects and variations. 13. Language users use the language to discuss the language. We write books, dictionaries, linguistic textbooks etc. This is exclusive to humans.
1. Lingusitics of American Sign Language by Valli, Lucas, & Mulrooney. 2005 Gallaudet University. Summarized by Nicole Wise, Wise Communications Tampa, Fl, myaslmentor.com