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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

slide13

Mutability

Languages change.

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

English 306A; Harris

slide14

Parity

All languages are equal.

English 306A; Harris

slide15

Universality

  • All grammars share some basic properties.
    • Words
      • Nouns
      • Verbs
    • Sentences
      • Assertions
      • Questions
    • Semantic roles
      • Agents
      • Patients
      • Locations

English 306A; Harris

slide16

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

slide18

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

slide21

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

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

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

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 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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