MSU IAH 231C - Linguistics Midterm & Final Study Guide

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Unit 1: chapter 1How is language related to such components of human experience:Thoughts:We are used in thinking in terms of “events”We think about causation relations between eventsIn the same way words combine in language, elements of language of thought combine to form complex thoughtsConceptual Semantics-the discipline that studies the language of thoughtwords have a fixed meaningwords can be analyzedwords are related to the language of thoughtThe same situation can be thought of in different waysWe can think of different ways of seeking a given situationShown in verb constructions (language)IDEA: We think of situations differently (thought) and express them in different perspectives through words (language)Reality:Words are linked to reality (when we speak the truth)We can talk truthfully about false thingsFactive verb- requires what is known to be trueStates the sentence given as a factClear case where words are linked to reality:namesOne-to-one relationship between a name and a personTheft try to use your same identityCommunity:Parents name (language) their children (their pick)Baby names follow a cyclic fashion, and frequently become a thing of the past, and acquire certain connotations.Somebody must come up with a name, but the whole community must agree on itSome words are accepted by the community and become part of a shared vocab, others are rejected and disappearIDEA: studying the rise and fall of names will be a window into how community adopts and rejects new tendencies (human nature)Emotions:Many words are emotionally loadedSome words have:Denotation- what they refer to is the sameConnotation-different emotions associated with themSwear words-words with lots of emotions and little meaningReligion-we find many emotionally charged words hereSex and excretion are to technical for normal convo or taboo-- improperSocial Relations:IDEA: Language offers a window into social relationsDirect requests- based on literal meaning of the wordsIndirect requests- rely on interlocutor guessingNote: There is no difference between language and language of thoughtUnit 2: first part of chapter 2There are multiple construals of the same situationContainer vs. content locative constructionsLanguage Acquisition:Newborns cant speak a languageA few yrs later they become adult native speakersAt some point in their development, children acquire a languageHow children learn a language:The common sense approach to language acquisition: Children learn a language by imitating their parentsProblems with this approach:Quantitatively- even though children only hear limited (finite) number of sentences, they can produce an unlimited (infinite) number of sentencesQualitatively- Children say things they have never heard beforeChildren generalize; however, they do not tend to over-generalizeMystery/miracle/problem with language acquisition: children imitate and generalize but their generalizations are somehow constrainedChomsky’s Universal Grammar- Children are born with some type of genetically coded grammar (a universal grammar) that helps them come up with the right generalizationsNote: Part of the part of language acquisition is generalizationsNote: Noam Chomsky proposed the idea of universal grammar as a mechanism that helps children come up with the right generalizations about the language they are trying to learn.Verbs!Sentences are built around themVerb constructions: the verbs and elements that they require to form a complete sentenceIntransitive verbs- only require a subjectEx. Max snoredTransitive verbs- require a subject and a direct objectOblique object-an object introduced by a prepositionVerbs establish what the relationship between the different elements of the sentence isVerbs assign role: agent/experiencer or recipientIt is the verb itself that determined the elements that it requiresUngrammatical sentences- sentences that sound odd to a native speakerNote: ungrammatical sentences you can say to your friends but do not say them in a formal situationYou can change the organization of a sentence using passive/active voiceLocative verbs (verbs related to location):Content-locative constructionThe direct object of the sentence is the content that is being movedThe content undergoes the movementThe subject is causing the content to be moved to the containerGestalt shift interpretation: A causes B to move to CA-subjectB-contentC-containerEx. Hal loaded Hay into the wagonEx. Jared sprayed water on the rosesEx. Betsey splashed the paint on the wallEx. Jeremy rubbed oil on the woodContainer-locative constructionThe direct object of the sentence is the container where something is being placedGestalt-shift interpretation: A causes C to change state by moving B to itEx. Hal loaded the wagon with hayEx. Jared sprayed the roses with waterEx. Betsey splashed the wall with paintEx. Jeremy rubbed the wood with oilLocative rule:Locative verbs can appear in two constructions:Subject—verb—content—preposition + containerSubject—verb—container—preposition + contentCAN ALTERNATE! Locative Alternation!Problem with the rule: it over-generalizesIt seems that we cannot apply the locative rule to some verbsGestalt shift: A different construal of the same eventSemantic reconstrualWe have exactly the same elements in the sentence, but we view them from a different perspectiveA causes B to move to C—content-locative constructionA causes C to change state by moving B to it- container-locative constructionA causes C to change (cause-to-change)A causes B to move (cause-to-move)Parallelism- same shift that happens when we look at pictures (we can view an old woman, or a young lady)Holism effect: Significant state changeA causes C to change state by moving B to itIn container-locative constructionsContainer changes state- it becomes full, or emptyEx. Hal loaded the wagon with hayThe wagon became full with hayEx. Hal loaded hay into the wagonThe wagon was filled with some hayThere has to be a change of state of the direct object for a holism effect!The direct object position is reserved for those entities that are substantially changed in the manner specified by the verb.Ex. Moondog drank from the glass of beerThe glass of beer did not undergo a holism effect (change of state) because it was not emptied.Ex. Moondog drank the glass of beerThe glass of beer underwent a holism effect (change of state) because it was emptied.IDEA: language has allowed us to discover another

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MSU IAH 231C - Linguistics Midterm & Final Study Guide

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