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Hocketts Design Features

Ling 101 9/6

Reviewing last week

Linguistics looks as language as it is used, not how it should be used

Language is the combination of Meaning, Expression and Context

Meaning- What is being communicated


Expression- What we can see; Words, sentences, tone, stress etc.

Context- All on the non-linguistics aspects that allow meaning to be understood from
expression; culture, setting, relationships, audience and all forms of messy human stuff

Popular views of language tend to be informed by their views of speakers, not


real world data

Descriptive, not prescriptive- 1.3.3

We will get into this more later, just keep this in mind for now

Writing and spelling are poor linguistic evidence- 1.3.2

Why Does Defining Language Matter?

Language is uniquely human; communication is not

Bees, ants, whales, birds, dogs etc. all have complex communication

Difference of degree, not type

Language has been hard to define; these features give us parameters

Body language and Gestures

We use linguistic and non-linguistic communication

Clothes, hair and jewlery

Thumbs up

Crying

Blushing

Pragmatic Function

It must accomplish something

Warning, Attracting a Mate, Marking Territory, Ordering Coffee

Mode of communication

Mode- how a message is sent

Speaking and Signing are the primary MODES, Writing is a secondary MODE in human
language

Scent, Claw Marks, Color etc. are common MODES in animal communication

Updated from the original Auditory-Visual channel

Semanticity

Features must have a fixed meaning (even if you dont know it)

Chumpa is tuffy this time of year

Not every level always has meaning

Phonology- place and manner

Interchangeability

Users must be able to send AND receive messages

Most interspecies communication fails

Octopus color flash

Some intraspecies communication fails

Gender specific pheromones

Arbitrary

Form and Meaning are not inherently connected

May be Representational- seemingly connected

Onomatopoeia

Whale/microorganism

Discreteness

When features of the system can be separated and recombined

Sounds

Words

Most animal communication fails here

Whales

Talking parrots

Cultural Transmission

The communication is learned through interaction with other users

The system is not innate

All human language is learned; there is no genetic predisposition to any particular langauge

Does not make it language

Whales, birds, pet dogs

Displacement

The ability to communicate things outside of the immediate environment

Hypotheticals (and lies)

Other times

Non-present or non-extant entities

ALL KNOWN ANIMAL COMMUNICATION LACKS DISPLACMENT

Productivity

The ability to express novel concepts

The ability to produce and understand an unlimited number of utterences that


have never been used before

Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

Corpra