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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


    map  mash


Problems with understanding speech perception speech is continuous

Problems with understanding speech perception- speech is continuous


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

Tree diagrams of sentences 5 through 8

Tree diagrams of Sentences 5 through 8.


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

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