Chapter 8 How (And When) is Language Possible?
Terms in this set (69)
to map the details of a specific language onto a universal grammar.
learn a language
discovering the specific details of how to speak and use that language by interaction with the individuals who speak it.
some scholars define broadly as the sending of signals. Other define more narrowly as the sending and receiving of signals.
design features of language
Charles Hockett - features by which human language could be identified and distinguished from more general category of animal communication.
-Defining what is unique to humans
four unique to human language
refers specifically to the use of speaking and haring as a key feature of language, reflecting an ideology of orality that persists even to this day.
sounds of human language are sent out in all directions
listeners perceive those sounds as coming from a specific direction
rapid fading (transitoriness)
language signals don't last very long
a speaker can send and receive the same signal
speakers can hear themselves talk (and signers can feel themselves sign) and that they can monitor what they say as they say or sign it.
language sounds are specialized for communication. when humans speak it is generally in order to transmit information.
specific sound signals (and specific signed signals) can be directly linked to specific meanings.
there is no necessary or casual connection between a signal and its meaning. Any signal can be used to refer to any thing.
units used for communication can be separated into distinct units that cannot be mistaken for one another.Nor do these units blend into one another.
refers to the fact that you can talk (and here, talk includes sign) about things that are not present.
feature that allows you to produce4 and comprehend entirely new utterances that you've never spoken or heard or seen before. Key feature in human language, whether it is spoken or written or signed.
the fact that language is learned in social groups.
duality of patterning
One of the most important features of a language system. It appears to be a combination of features of discreteness and productivity.
discrete units at one level can be combined to crate
different kinds of units at a different level
-/k, ae.t,s/ kaets, skaet, taeks, taesk
critical, according to Hockett, in distinguishing between human language and other forms of communication
thought by Hockett to be the last to emerge in the evolution of language
mixing two signals into one new one
combining calls to establish productivity
starting from closed calls (limited, specific)
a + b = a + b
danger + food = danger + food
moving to blended calls (prelanguage)
a+b = ab
danger + food = dangerous food
breakfast + lunch = brunch
making duality of patterning possible
isolation of units for recombining
a+b+c + abc, cba, bac, acb
/kaets, aekts, skaet, taeks, aeskt/
language is already hardwired into the human brain birth. In this view, a genetically built-in "core grammar" provides a universal set of rules.
language hard-wired in brain
language acquisition device helps with adjustments
Language acquisition device
compares specific languages with the core grammar and helps children to make the necessary adjustments as they acquire specific languages.
children need to hear language from others around them (stimulus) and to praise (positive feedback) from parents and/or caretakers to develop their linguistic abilities.
stimulus and reward
doesn't explain "mouses"
as children develop their intellectual abilities their linguistic abilities follow suit. Children must first comprehend concepts relating to quantity before they are able to use words such as more and less.
concepts comes first
research suggests simultaneity
theory theory (active construction of a grammar theory)
children observe and interact with the world around them and form theories about their experiences. Language, according to this idea, is the result of a complex set of theories that children create about the linguistic stimuli that they are exposed to.
children observe and build theories
different languages - different theories?
Korean vs English, verbs vs nouns
area of brain that controls the understanding of words and the ability to converse with others.
production of sentences
area of brain that affects clarity of speech. seems to be responsible for the motor movements that are required for coordinating facial, tongue, palate, and larynx movement.
production of words
We don't really know how humans first developed the capacity for language.
Some theories stress a greaual development, while others seek to find a single defining moment.
Language can be defined as a kind of communication.;
Many animals communicate, but only humans appear to have language.
Charles Hockett's design features help us to see how language is distinct from other forms of animal communication
Animal communication systems use some of Hockett's design features, but only human language uses all thirteen features that Hockett identified.
humans share nine features with contemporary primates, suggesting that those nine may have been part of the prehistoric primate communication system from which language emerged.
Four features of language - productivity, displacement, traditional transmission, and duality of patterning - are unique to humans.
Hockett suggested that the blending of distinct primate calls may have been a key factor in the development of human language.
Duality of patterning appears to remain a language feature uniquely possessed by humans.
Innatist theories argue that children don't learn language but are born with an internal grammar that they adjust to fit the specific language they hear around them.
Behaviorist theories argue that children learn by imitation and feedback.
Cognitivist theories suggest that children develop language simultaneously with their mental abilities
Theory theory suggests that children analyze language as they hear it, building theories about grammar and structure as they go.
Anthropological theories stress the importance of understanding the impact of the social group, and in particular the speech community, on the ways that children learn to speak and to use their language in socially appropriate ways.
Broca's and Wernicke's areas of the brain appear to be two key areas in which language is processed.
Both the Broca and Wernicke areas of the brain are present in the left hemisphere of the brain, so language is understood to be a primarily left brain activity.
The discovery of evidence of Broca's and Wernicke's areas in Homo habilis fossils dating from 1.8 and 2 million years ago suggests that a kind of proto-language was indeed possible at an early date.
Homo habilis as first brain with Broca's and Wernicke's areas
The analysis of the positioning of the larynx in various primates suggests that fully modern speech may not have been possible until 125,000 years ago, in Homo sapiens.
The design feature of language that refers to the fact that the sounds of human language are sent out in all directions, but that listeners perceive those sounds as coming from a specific direction is referred to as
broadcast transmission and directional reception
A theory that language is the result of a complex set of theories that children create about the linguistic stimuli they are exposed to is what kind of theory?
active construction of a grammar (or theory) theory
The design feature of language that refers to the fact that you can talk about things that are not present in which of the following
Traditional transmission is a design feature of language that has only been observed in humans
While research into brain functioning suggests that language might have been possible as early as 2 million years ago, fully modern speech may not have been possible until 100,000 years ago, in Homo sapiens, due to the importance of lowered larynx positioning.
Signing is controlled in a different area of the brain than spoken language
Although the capacity for speech appears to be part of the human genetic makeup, most linguistic anthropologists now believe that children learn languages:
primarily in social and cultural settings
The design feature of language that refers to the fact that language signals don't last very long is:
Ottenheimer's research with Shintriri suggested to her that the evolutionary shift from blended calls to duality of patterning may ha e occurred in the context of children's language play.
Which of the following is considered to be the most likely order of steps along the road to the evolution of full-fledged human language?
from closed calls through blended calls to duality of patterning
The design feature of language that refers to the fact that there is no necessary or casual connection between a signal and its meaning is:
Broca's area, an area of the frontal region of the left cerebral hemisphere of the brain, and Wernicke's area an area in the temporal lobe of the left hemisphere of the brain, appear to be the key areas of the brain in which language is processed.
Language areas of the brain appear to develop in response to the presence of linguistic signals
Children's language games such as Pig Latin or Shintiri are valuable tools in teaching children to turn their language into an object of analysis.
The design feature of language that refers to the fact that speakers can hear themselves talk and that they can monitor what they say as they say it is referred to as
Linguistic anthropologist Robbins Burling argues that some of the earliest instances of language use might have been
comprehending calls, rather than generating them
The design feature of language that refers specifically to the use of speaking and hearing as a key feature of language is
vocal auditory channel
When English-speaking children produce "incorrect" forms such as "sheeps," "gooses", and "taked" they are:
discovering and using grammatical regularities in their language
The design feature of language that allows you to produce and comprehend entirely new utterances that you've never spoken or heard before is which of the following?
A theory that as children develop their intellectual abilities, their linguistic abilities follow suit, is what kind of theory
language too complicated to have evolved over time
language developed all at once and is innate feature in humans
children born with universal grammar
only need to acquire specifics
Design features of language not unique to humans
broadcast transmission/directional response
Design features of language unique to humans (according to Hockett)
children and language
3 days - recognizing parents' sunds
3 months - cooing, playing with intonation
6 months - babbling, playing with sounds
9 months - beginning signs
1 year - recognizable spoken words
15 months - naming "explosion"
2 years - simple sentences, displacement
then - negatives, questions, clauses
ochs and schieffelinsettings
stress ethnographic field studies of children
language learned in social
encouragement by adults is not universal
baby talk is not universal
becoming part of a speech community
learning how and when to use language
ideas about language learning
bilingualism vs monolingualism
can adults learn more languages?
classwork vs fieldwork
convoluted surface of the brain
two millimeters thick
surface area 1.5 square yards
contains 100 million neurons
Oldest part of cortex
controls long term memory
Newer part of cortex
8O% of human brain
divided (by sulci) into lobes
two ceberal hemispheres
connected by corpus callosum
contexts for language use
Koobi Fora, Kenya
Broca's and Wernicke's areas present
in homo habilis 1.8 - 2 mya
but not in Australopithecus 1.26 - 1.8 mya
human vocal tract
Lowering of the larynx
where vocal cords are located
Lengthening of the pharynx
more space for tongue
increased vowel resonance
differentiation of vowels: [I] [a] [u]
Human infants born with high larynx
begins to lower at 3 months
reaches adult location by 3 - 4 years
except in adult males; further descent at adolescence
Evidence from the fossil record
Evidence from basicranium
where muscles attach
more curved = lower larynx
Austrlopithecus (1.5 mya) not curved
Homo habilis (2 mya) no data
Homo erectus (1.6 mya) some curve
early Homo sapiens (400,000 ya) definite curve
Homo sapiens sapiens (125,000 ya) ditto
Neanderthal (130,000 ya) no curve
origins of culture
Associating language with complex tools
evolution of tool design provides clues
complexity of upper Paleolithic tools
requires description (vs imitation)
Associating language with cultural complexity
art, music, ritual, cooperative hunting/childcare
Australopithecus (1.5 mya) first stone tools
homo habilis ( 2 mya) control of fire
Homo erectus (1.6 mya) organized hunting?
Early homo sapiens (400,000) shelters, burials
Homo sapiens sapiens (125,000) knitting, basketweaving
Neanderthal (130,000) burials, music
Putting it all toether
Using all four fields of anthropology:
culture (tools) possible 2.5 mya, early H. Habilis
signed language possible 2 mya, H. habilis
spoken language possible 125,000 ya, H sapiens
How is language possible
How do you open a closed call/sign system?
through blending (Hockett)
situations requiring communicating two ideas (dangerous food)
mimicking, pretending, discovering symbolism
How do you discover/use duality of patterning?
through identifying discrete recombinable units
also through play
playing with symbols
playing with language
shintiri, other pig latins