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Language & Meaning. Humans’ accommodations for language Some characteristics of language Some aspects of meaning. We’re mammals. Distinctive traits include Lactation Mammalian “isolation cry” Neoteny Middle ear Larynx. We have special larynxes. Functions Controls airflow Phonates.

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Language meaning

Language & Meaning

Humans’ accommodations for language

Some characteristics of language

Some aspects of meaning

English 306A; Harris


We re mammals

We’re mammals

  • Distinctive traits include

    • Lactation

    • Mammalian “isolation cry”

    • Neoteny

    • Middle ear

    • Larynx

English 306A; Harris


We have special larynxes

We have special larynxes

  • Functions

    • Controls airflow

    • Phonates

English 306A; Harris


We have special larynxes1

We have special larynxes

  • Functions

    • Controls airflow

    • Phonates(Glottis)

English 306A; Harris


Glottis

Glottis

  • Glottis

    • Air flow

    • Phonation

English 306A; Harris


Glottis1

Glottis

  • Glottis

    • Air flow

    • Phonation

English 306A; Harris


Larynx tongue heimlich

Larynx, tongue, Heimlich

  • Apes, australopithecus, babies

    • Tongue rooted in mouth

    • Larynx behind mouth

    • Can breathe and swallow at the same time

  • Adult homo erecti +

    • Tongue rooted in throat

    • Larynx in throat

    • Cannot breathe and swallow at the same time

English 306A; Harris


Lower tongue root larynx

Lower tongue root + larynx =

  • Consonants and vowels

    (big flappy lips help too)

  • Syllables

  • Patterns of rhythm and modulation

English 306A; Harris


Lower tongue root larynx1

Lower tongue root + larynx =

Speech

English 306A; Harris


Oh and one more thing

Oh, and one more thing

English 306A; Harris


Oh and one more thing1

Oh, and one more thing

A brain

Motor cortex

Auditory cortex

Language areas

English 306A; Harris


Language properties

Language properties

  • Mutability

  • Parity

  • Universality

  • Tacitness

  • Displacement

  • Productivity (creativity)

English 306A; Harris


Language meaning

Mutability

Languages change.

 cool neat groovy far-out radical cool

English 306A; Harris


Language meaning

Parity

All languages are equal.

English 306A; Harris


Language meaning

Universality

  • All grammars share some basic properties.

    • Words

      • Nouns

      • Verbs

    • Sentences

      • Assertions

      • Questions

    • Semantic roles

      • Agents

      • Patients

      • Locations

English 306A; Harris


Language meaning

Tacitness

A great deal of grammatical knowledge is tacit knowledge.

[p] vs [ph] vs [p¬]

English 306A; Harris


Displacement

Displacement

  • Messages can refer to things remote in time and space, or both, from the site of the communication.

English 306A; Harris


Language meaning

Elements + combinatorics

  • At every level

    • Sounds combine into syllables and morphemes

    • Morphemes combine into words

    • Words combine into phrases and sentences

    • Sentences combine into turns or paragraphs

      • Turns combine into conversations

      • Paragraphs combine into texts

English 306A; Harris


Elements combinatorics

Elements + combinatorics =

  • Productivity (creativity)

    • New vocables

    • New words

    • New sentences

    • New meanings

English 306A; Harris


Elements combinatorics1

Elements + combinatorics =

Language

English 306A; Harris


Language meaning

Everything has meaning.

Everything is a sign.

English 306A; Harris


Types of signs

Types of signs

  • Indexical

    A mode defined by relationship of necessity (especially cause and effect). Prototypically, think fever.

  • Iconic

    A mode defined by relationship of resemblance. Prototypically, think picture.

  • Symbolic

    A mode defined by relationship of arbitrariness, convention, and learning. Prototypically, think word.

English 306A; Harris


Dimensions of signs

Dimensions of signs

  • Indexicality

    A semiotic tendency defined by relationship of necessity (esp. cause and effect).

  • Iconicity

    A semiotic tendency defined by relationship of resemblance.

  • Symbolicity

    A semiotic tendency defined by relationship of arbitrariness, convention, and learning.

English 306A; Harris


Bow wow pooh pooh yo he ho theories

Bow-wow-pooh-pooh-yo-he-ho theories

  • Index-to-icon-to-symbol migration theories

  • Pooh-pooh, Yo-he-ho

    Index-to-icon-to-symbol

  • Bow-wow

    Index-to-icon-to-symbol

English 306A; Harris


Metaphor and metonymy

Metaphor and metonymy

  • Indirect representation

    Something (called the vehicle) carries the primary signification for something else (tenor) that ordinarily holds that signification.

  • Metaphor is iconic

    The vehicle/tenor relationship is an asserted resemblance: the tenor is said to be like the vehicle in some way.

  • Metonymy is indexical

    The vehicle/tenor relationship is (not exactly necessary but) drawn from the same habitat: the tenor is related to the vehicle in some way.

English 306A; Harris


Metonymy metaphor

Metonymy, metaphor

to go tyson

to go ballistic

COMPARATIVE

REPRESENTATIVE

English 306A; Harris


Metonymy the principle of set membership

Metonymy—The principle of set membership

  • One element of a set or a relationship (the vehicle) singled out to represent other element(s) (the tenor)

    • Hollywood loves westerns.

    • Toronto collapses!

    • Calgary wins in OT!

    • All hands on deck.

    • Thirty head of cattle.

English 306A; Harris


Metaphor the principle of comparison

Metaphor—The principle of comparison

  • One element (the vehicle) represents another element (the tenor), to which it is unrelated.

    • My love is red, red rose.

    • Homer is a pig.

    • Toronto is toast.

    • The table leg is broken.

    • The orthopedic wing is closed.

    • Fire kills thousands every year.(Personification)

English 306A; Harris


Language meaning

English 306A; Harris


Pussy

“Pussy”

English 306A; Harris


Pussy1

“Pussy”

English 306A; Harris


Pussy2

“Pussy”

English 306A; Harris


Pussy3

“Pussy”

English 306A; Harris


Pussy4

“Pussy”

  • Metaphor

    • Tenor = vagina

    • Vehicle = cat

    • Attributes

      • Warm

      • Furry

English 306A; Harris


Pussy stage 1

“Pussy!” Stage 1

!

  • Metonymy (synecdoche)

    • Tenor = woman

    • Vehicle = pussy-as-vagina

  • The ultimate devaluing of a (category of a) person: to a small anatomical component.

English 306A; Harris


Pussy stage 2

“Pussy!” Stage 2

  • Metaphor

    • Tenor = the insult target

    • Vehicle = woman (not vagina)

    • Attributes

      • Weak

      • Soft

      • Quitter

    • Means ‘Opposite of a man’, but in a wholly evaluative way.

=

English 306A; Harris


Pussy metaphor metonymy metaphor

“Pussy”Metaphor Metonymy Metaphor

  • Indexicality, Iconicity

    • a relatively mundane example of ordinary language

    • not a fancy literary or rhetorical device

    • these processes, and figuration generally, are pervasive

English 306A; Harris


We now return you to regular programming

We now return you to regular programming

F

English 306A; Harris


Metonymy metaphor1

Metonymy, metaphor

to go tyson

to go ballistic

Representation

Comparison

The picture is metaphoric; the expression isn’t

Similarity

Association

English 306A; Harris


Conceptual metaphors

Conceptual metaphors

  • TIME IS MONEYspend a day, invest three months, bank your overtime, cost me a weekend, …

  • ARGUMENT IS WARhe attacked my point, I defended it well, she shot me down, I blew her out of the water, …

  • ANGER IS HEATyou make my blood boil, I was steamed, he has a fiery temper, she's a hothead, …

English 306A; Harris


Conceptual metaphors1

Conceptual metaphors

  • TIME IS MONEYspend a day, invest three months, bank your overtime, cost me a weekend, …

  • ARGUMENT IS WARhe attacked my point, I defended it well, she shot me down, I blew her out of the water, …

  • ANGER IS HEATyou make my blood boil, I was steamed, he has a fiery temper, she's a hothead, …

English 306A; Harris


Conceptual metaphors2

Conceptual metaphors

  • TIME IS MONEYspend a day, invest three months, bank your overtime, cost me a weekend, …

  • ARGUMENT IS WARhe attacked my point, I defended it well, she shot me down, I blew her out of the water, …

  • ANGER IS HEATyou make my blood boil, I was steamed, he has a fiery temper, she's a hothead, …

English 306A; Harris


Conceptual metaphors3

Conceptual metaphors

  • TIME IS MONEYspend a day, invest three months, bank your overtime, cost me a weekend, …

  • ARGUMENT IS WARhe attacked my point, I defended it well, she shot me down, I blew her out of the water, …

  • ANGER IS HEATyou make my blood boil, I was steamed, he has a fiery temper, she's a hothead, …

English 306A; Harris


Conceptual metonymy

Conceptual Metonymy

  • PRODUCER FOR PRODUCTI only read Dr. Seuss, she wore Calvin Klein last night, the Wolf Blass has too much tannin, …

  • CONTAINER FOR CONTAINEDthat’s a tasty dish, the needle was the death of her, he drank the whole bottle, …

  • PERSON FOR INSTRUMENTI’m parked out back, she’s the lead guitar, he’s the drill press, …

  • PLACE FOR PEOPLEBC voted conservative, Alberta likes cowboy movies, Thunder Bay is surprisingly liberal, …

  • PLACE FOR INSTITUTIONOttawa raised our taxes again, Queen’s Park changed the speed limits, …

English 306A; Harris


Conceptual metonymy1

Conceptual Metonymy

  • PRODUCER FOR PRODUCTI only read Dr. Seuss, she wore Calvin Klein last night, the Wolf Blass has too much tannin, …

  • CONTAINER FOR CONTAINEDthat’s a tasty dish, the needle was the death of her, he drank the whole bottle, …

  • PERSON FOR INSTRUMENTI’m parked out back, she’s the lead guitar, he’s the drill press, …

  • PLACE FOR PEOPLEBC voted conservative, Alberta likes cowboy movies, Thunder Bay is surprisingly liberal, …

  • PLACE FOR INSTITUTIONOttawa raised our taxes again, Queen’s Park changed the speed limits, …

English 306A; Harris


Conceptual metonymy2

Conceptual Metonymy

  • PRODUCER FOR PRODUCTI only read Dr. Seuss, she wore Calvin Klein last night, the Wolf Blass has too much tannin, …

  • CONTAINER FOR CONTAINEDthat’s a tasty dish, the needle was the death of her, he drank the whole bottle, …

  • PERSON FOR INSTRUMENTI’m parked out back, she’s the lead guitar, he’s the drill press, …

  • PLACE FOR PEOPLEBC voted conservative, Alberta likes cowboy movies, Thunder Bay is surprisingly liberal, …

  • PLACE FOR INSTITUTIONOttawa raised our taxes again, Queen’s Park changed the speed limits, …

English 306A; Harris


Conceptual metonymy3

Conceptual Metonymy

  • PRODUCER FOR PRODUCTI only read Dr. Seuss, she wore Calvin Klein last night, the Wolf Blass has too much tannin, …

  • CONTAINER FOR CONTAINEDthat’s a tasty dish, the needle was the death of her, he drank the whole bottle, …

  • PERSON FOR INSTRUMENTI’m parked out back, she’s the lead guitar, he’s the drill press, …

  • PLACE FOR PEOPLEBC voted conservative, Alberta likes cowboy movies, Thunder Bay is surprisingly liberal, …

  • PLACE FOR INSTITUTIONOttawa raised our taxes again, Queen’s Park changed the speed limits, …

English 306A; Harris


Conceptual metonymy4

Conceptual Metonymy

  • PRODUCER FOR PRODUCTI only read Dr. Seuss, she wore Calvin Klein last night, the Wolf Blass has too much tannin, …

  • CONTAINER FOR CONTAINEDthat’s a tasty dish, the needle was the death of her, he drank the whole bottle, …

  • PERSON FOR INSTRUMENTI’m parked out back, she’s the lead guitar, he’s the drill press, …

  • PLACE FOR PEOPLEBC voted conservative, Alberta likes cowboy movies, Thunder Bay is surprisingly liberal, …

  • PLACE FOR INSTITUTIONOttawa raised our taxes again, Queen’s Park changed the speed limits, …

English 306A; Harris


Conceptual metonymy5

Conceptual Metonymy

  • PRODUCER FOR PRODUCTI only read Dr. Seuss, she wore Calvin Klein last night, the Wolf Blass has too much tannin, …

  • CONTAINER FOR CONTAINEDthat’s a tasty dish, the needle was the death of her, he drank the whole bottle, …

  • PERSON FOR INSTRUMENTI’m parked out back, she’s the lead guitar, he’s the drill press, …

  • PLACE FOR PEOPLEBC voted conservative, Alberta likes cowboy movies, Thunder Bay is surprisingly liberal, …

  • PLACE FOR INSTITUTIONOttawa raised our taxes again, Queen’s Parkchanged the speed limits, …

English 306A; Harris


Indexicality is metonymic

Indexicality is metonymic

  • Defined by association (rather than similarity; often on necessity)

    There must be a certain physical, temporal, or metaphorical relation between referential objects for the words/expressions to function

English 306A; Harris


Indexicality

Indexicality

  • Egocentricity

    Speaker-oriented

    • Deixis (pointing words)

  • Anthropocentrism

    Human-oriented

    • Inherent orientation (human-body orientation projected to objects)

English 306A; Harris


Indexicality deictics

IndexicalityDeictics

  • Gk. deiktos ≈ “to show”

    • Pointing words

  • Langauge which orks by ‘gesturing outward’ from speaker, the EGO, to other objects

English 306A; Harris


Indexical orientation deictic centre lexical egocentricity

Indexical orientation — Deictic centreLexical egocentricity

  • Pronouns

    • EGO = 1st person (I, me, …)

    • EGO+others = 1st person plural (we, us, …)

    • Hearer-of-EGO = 2nd person (you, your, …)

    • Hearer-of-EGO+others = 2nd person plural (you, your, …)

    • Not-EGO-and-not-hearer-of-EGO = 3rd person (he, she, it, …)

    • Not-EGO-and-not-hearer-of-EGO+others = 3rd person plural (they, them, …)

English 306A; Harris


Indexical orientation deictic centre lexical egocentricity1

Indexical orientation — Deictic centreLexical egocentricity

  • Proximals

    • Speaking location

      • Where-EGO-is: here, near, …

      • Where-EGO-is-not: there, far, …

    • Speaking time

      • When-EGO-is: now, today, …

      • When-EGO-is-not: then, tomorrow, …

    • Relative location to speaker

      • Close-to-EGO: this, these, …

      • Not-close-to-EGO: that, those, ..

English 306A; Harris


Indexical orientation deictic centre expressive egocentricity

Indexical orientation — Deictic centreExpressive egocentricity

  • The speaker (or, in a rhetorical extention, the hearer) as the (default) reference point for everything else.

    • “The squirrel is behind the tree.”

    • “Mount Pinotubo is on the left”

English 306A; Harris


Indexicality anthropocentricity

IndexicalityAnthropocentricity

  • Gk. anthropos ≈ “man”

  • (hu)man-centred

  • Inherent orientation: human orientation projected onto artefacts and entities)

    • front, back

    • left, right

    • before, behind

English 306A; Harris


Deictic egocentric vs inherent anthropocentric orientation

Deictic (egocentric) vs. Inherent (anthropocentric) Orientation

English 306A; Harris


Iconicity is metaphoric

Iconicity is metaphoric

  • Defined by similarity (rather than association)

  • Sequential order

    “Don’t drink and drive”

  • Distance

    Immediacy of action

  • Quantity

    Reduplication

English 306A; Harris


Iconicity principle of sequential order

IconicityPrinciple of sequential order

  • Unless marked, the order of words (by default) mirrors the order of events.

    • He kicked sand in my face and I got mad.

    • I got mad and he kicked sand in my face.

English 306A; Harris


Iconicity principle of distance

IconicityPrinciple of distance

  • Linguistic distance (proximity) tends to mirror conceptual distance.

    • She squeezed me.

    • She gave me a squeeze.

    • She gave a squeeze to me.

English 306A; Harris


Iconicity principle of quantity

IconicityPrinciple of quantity

  • Length of utterance correlates with (speaker’s perception of) quantity of concept.

    • Dinosaurs lived a l o o o n g time ago.

    • Dinosaurs lived a long, long, long, … time ago.

    • Lawyerese.

    • Political speeches.

English 306A; Harris


Iconicity principle of quantity reduplication

Iconicity — Principle of quantityReduplication

  • Japanese

    hito 'person'

    hitobito ’group of people'

    kami 'god'

    kamigami ’group of gods'

  • Mandarin

    xiao 'small'

    xiaoxiao 'very small'

    gaoxing 'happy'

    gaogaoxingxing 'very happy'

English 306A; Harris


Iconicity principle of quantity reduplication1

Iconicity — Principle of quantityReduplication

English 306A; Harris


Iconicity principle of quantity reduplication2

Iconicity — Principle of quantityReduplication

Download the SIL IPA fonts to see these transcriptions in PPS files

English 306A; Harris


Iconicity principle of quantity conceptual reduplication

Iconicity — Principle of quantityConceptual Reduplication

  • Trinidad and Tobago

    [jEswij]

    • emphatic confirmation, agreement; interjective intensifier

    • yes-we?

    • yes-whee?

    • yes-oui!

English 306A; Harris


Any questions

Any questions?

  • Human accommodations for language

  • Features of language

  • Metaphoricity, metonymy

  • Symbolicity (arbitrariness, convention, learning)

  • Indexicality (relation of association)

    • Egocentricity (deixis)

    • Anthropocentricity (inherent orientation)

  • Iconicity (relation of resemblance)

    • Sequential order

    • Distance

    • Quantity

English 306A; Harris


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