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Chapter 7: Universals…. … and language typology NOTES: About exercising : it keeps you healthy: physically & mentally… I’ve tried to match the slides to the order of the textbook this time…. Language Universals. Determine what is possible and impossible in language structure

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chapter 7 universals

Chapter 7: Universals…

… and language typology

NOTES:

About exercising: it keeps you healthy: physically & mentally…

I’ve tried to match the slides to the order of the textbook this time…

language universals
Language Universals
  • Determine what is possible and impossible in language structure
  • For Example
    • Languages appear to have
      • /p, b, t, d, k, g/
      • OR JUST/p, t, k/
      • BUT NOT/b, d, g/
word order
Word Order…
  • watashi-wa inu-ga mimashita I (subject) dog (object) saw(I saw a dog) (default structure)
  • watashi-ga inu-wa mimashita I (object) dog (subject) saw(A dog saw me) (marked structure)
  • *mimashita inu-ga watashi-wa (saw) dog (object) I (subject)

SOV

OSV

VOS

word order continued
Word Order Continued
  • What is English’s default word order?
    • Can we change to a marked structure?
    • Why would we want to?
  • Given what we’ve discussed…
    • Is there a universal word order?
why do we care about universals
Why Do We Care? (About Universals)
  • Practical
    • Simplifies language study & description
  • Theoretical Understanding
    • Human mind
    • Social organization of everyday life
cautions
Cautions
  • Deep information on limited set
    • > 6,000 languages
    • < 1,000 well researched & documented
  • Cognitive & social inferences
    • Typically based on logic
      • (not solid proof)
language typology

Language Typology

Classifying languages according to their structural characteristics

typology categories
Typology Categories
  • Default Word Order
    • SVO, SOV, etc
  • Phonological Characteristics
    • Voiced stops or not
  • Language Groupings
    • May be mixed
    • Should be meaningful
    • Not related to language families
semantic universals
Semantic Universals
  • Basic terms: (blue, dog, man…)
    • Morphologically simple
    • Less specialized in meaning
    • Not recent additions to the language
  • Pronouns
    • All languages (appear to) have
      • 1st person pronouns
      • 2nd person pronouns
phonological universals
Phonological Universals
  • All languages:
    • At least three vowel phonemes
      • High front, Low, High back
    • Never more nasal vowels than non-nasal
    • Notice: Rules include
      • “either… or”
      • “tend to have…”
      • “generally…”

Remember /p,t,k/ from slide #2

syntactic morphological
Syntactic & Morphological
  • Word order revisited…
    • Tendency for Subject to precede Object
    • Word order can be manipulated for rhetorical effect
  • Standard word order affects
    • Possession
    • Prepositions vs. postpositions
    • Head noun of relative clauses
now you try it
Now You Try It
  • For a language you know, what is its word order?
  • What’s the relationship between:
    • Possessor and possessed
    • Pre/post-position & noun phrase
    • Relative Clause & head noun
hedges revisited
Hedges Revisited
  • Absolute Universals
    • All languages have at least 3 vowels
  • Universal Tendencies
    • Verb initial languages tend to use preposition + noun phrase
possible origins of universals
Possible Origins of Universals
  • Monogenetic theory
    • All languages from one source
  • Physiological factors
    • Phonological: High, Low, Back
  • Cognitive processing
    • Children’s acquisition patterns
  • Social issues
    • Pronouns
recommended exercises

Recommended Exercises

TBA

Enough of each to get the point