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Phonological Rules. Rules about how sounds may or may not go together in a language English: Words may not start with two stop consonants German: Devoicing rule—voiced consonants at the ends of words are devoiced, e.g. /g/--/k/

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phonological rules
Phonological Rules
  • Rules about how sounds may or may not go together in a language
    • English: Words may not start with two stop consonants
    • German: Devoicing rule—voiced consonants at the ends of words are devoiced, e.g. /g/--/k/
    • Turkish: Vowel harmony—in two syllable words the 2nd vowel is dependent on the first (front vowels and back vowels go together)
  • Morphemes—smallest units of meaning in a language
    • Words (lexemes) are open class morphemes
    • Word endings: plural s, past –ed, prefixes and suffixes, infixes are closed class morphemes
    • Typically convey tense, verb agreement, grammatical gender, number, negation
    • English is morphologically impoverished
  • Morphology and phonology are not independent:
  • English plural: Cats /s/ , dogs /z/, finches /Iz/
  • Tagalog future: reduplication rule
    • Bili (buy), bibili (will buy)
    • Kuha (get) kukuha (will get)
    • Sulat (write) susulate (will write)
  • Meanings of words and sentences and the relations between words and sentences
  • Some meaning relations:
    • Tautology: a necessarily true sentence
      • “A widower has no wife.”
    • Contradiction: a necessarily false sentence
      • “A widower has a wife.”
    • Anomaly: a sentence with no truth value
      • “The widower’s wife is a linguist.”
    • Synonymy: two sentences that have the same truth conditions
      • “I am a widower.”
      • “My wife passed away.”
  • Rules of the language specifying how sounds, morphemes, and words may be combined to form meaningful sentences.
  • Rules must generate all of the grammatical sentences in a language, and none of the ungrammatical ones
  • Related to, but separable from semantics.
    • Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.
    • *Green furiously sleep ideas colorless.
    • Charles ate a sandwich.
    • *Charles ate sandwich.
syntax noam chomsky s legacy
Syntax: Noam Chomsky’s Legacy
  • Chomsky (1957, 1965)
  • Revolutionized the study of language
  • Language acquisition was the inspiration
  • Believed that the ability to learn syntax is innate in humans (the “LAD”)
  • Linguist’s task is to describe this innate knowledge
transformational grammar
Transformational Grammar
  • Phrase structure rules

--Rules that specify the permissible sequences of constituents (words, phrases, etc.) in a sentence

--Each rule “rewrites” a constituent into one or more other constituents

  • Transformational rules
    • Apply to entire strings of constituents by adding, deleting, or rearranging constituents into new sequences.
    • Deep Structure vs. Surface Structure: Distinction between the underlying representation of a sentence and it’s surface form, that is, what you say.
deep structure vs surface structure why
Deep Structure vs. Surface Structure: Why?
  • Three basic kinds pieces of evidence:
  • Ambiguous sentences: “Visiting relatives can be boring.” “The zoo contained young llamas and gnus.”
  • Similar surface form but not meaning: “John is eager to please” vs. “John is easy to please.”
  • Similar meaning but not surface form: “Kim played the guitar.” and “The guitar was played by Kim.”