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Language - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Language. What is language?. Language vs. communication Why do we say that bees do not have a “language?”.

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what is language
What is language?
  • Language vs. communication
    • Why do we say that bees do not have a “language?”

Image taken from the Yamada Bee Farm site

requirements for language
Requirements for Language
  • Regular (grammar)

“Twasbrillig, and the slithytoves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

  • Productive
other characteristics of language
Other Characteristics of Language
  • Arbitrariness
  • Discreteness

The structure of language

  • Phoneme

map  tap

/m/ /t/

map  mash

/m/ /š/


The structure of language

  • Phonetic ambiguity
    • Ream ember us poke can cent tense off in contains men knee word knot in ten did tube bee herd.

Problems with understanding speech perception - Phonemes can sound different in different contexts

the structure of language
The structure of language
  • Speech Perception
    • Speech is categorical
    • Phonological rules
the structure of language1
The structure of language


  • Morphemes





the structure of language2
The structure of language
  • Syntax

Tree diagram

the structure of language3
The structure of language
  • Context Effects
    • Words that fit sentence

The Eskimos were frightened by the walrus.

The bankers were frightened by the walrus.

    • Lexical ambiguity
    • Understand truth conditions
the structure of language4
The structure of language
  • Garden path sentences
    • The cotton shirts are made from comes from Arizona.
the structure of language5
The structure of language
  • Sentence comprehension
  • Experiment:
    • With this possibility, Taylor left the capital. After he had returned to Manhattan, he explained the offer to his wife.
    • Taylor did not reach a decision until after he had returned to Manhattan. He explained the offer to his wife.
language comprehension production
Language Comprehension & Production
  • Sentence comprehension
    • What is happening when we experience ambiguity ?
      • All meanings of ambiguous words are available at first, but this period is very short
the structure of language6
The structure of language
  • Semantics
    • A theory of semantics (meaning) must explain:
      • Anomaly
      • Self-contradiction
      • Ambiguity
      • Synonymy
      • Entailment
the structure of language7
The structure of language
  • Pragmatics
  • Types of utterances
    • Assertives
    • Directives
    • Commissives
    • Expressives
    • Declarations
levels of language
Levels of Language
  • Phonemes
  • Morphemes
  • Syntax
  • Semantics
  • Pragmatics