Language, Thought and Culture March 7, 2005
What do we know? • Voice No. 1 • Voice No. 2 • Voice No. 3 • Voice No. 4 • Voice No. 5 • Voice No. 6
How do we know? • Code (structure) • Performance
Linguistics • Descriptive Linguistics • Sociolinguistics • Historical Linguistics
Descriptive Linguistics (Grammar) • Phonology (Sound) • Phoneme • Morphology (unit of meaning) • Morpheme • Lexicon • Dictionary, vocabulary • Syntax • Structure, word order
Descriptive Linguistics • Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. • Furious idealess color greenly sleeps. • Syntax • Morphology • Semantics • System for conveying meaning.
Historical Linguistics • English • Germanic (Angles, Saxons, Jutes) • Celtic • Latin, Greek • Old Norse • French
Historical Linguistics • American English • American Indian languages • African languages • Spanish • Barbeque (Guiana)
Sociolinguistics • Performance • Conveys different meanings using the same code: • Class • Race • Gender • Politics
Language, Thought and Culture • Language structures thought and knowledge • Epistemology • Does language: • Describe reality? Or… • Create reality?
Structuralism Basic structures in the human brain Limited number of structures Infinite number of possibilities “Generative Transformational Grammar” Noam Chomsky Language, Thought and Culture
Evidence People can learn other languages Children learn new languages easier than adults Words can be translated between languages Noam Chomsky Language, Thought and Culture
Sapir-Worf Hypothesis: Languages produce different ways of thinking that affect perception of reality Edward Sapir Language, Thought and Culture
Evidence: Gender Palaung English Spanish, French Time English Hopi Edward Sapir Language, Thought and Culture
Where does meaning come from? • All communication is symbolic • Meaning of symbols is arbitrary • Because language is generative, we can make new meanings . . . Fo shizzle.
Language, Thought and Culture • Communication requires that we understand the code and the performance.
Language, Thought and Culture • People perform the code in creative ways to make a statement.