martes, 2 de septiembre de 2014

RESUMEN "El Lenguaje", de George Yule, en INGLÉS

Para los estudiantes de Filología y/o Lingüística, que tengan que leerse este tostón (pero interesante) libro y no les apetezca hacerlo entero, les dejo este resumen que he elaborado de casi toooodos los capítulos (faltan unos pocos, de 20, pero los principales y más importantes están recogidos y bien sintetizados). El libro lo leí en inglés (The study of Language), porque es el único que encontré de segunda mano, por 5 euritos... En Español debían ser todos nuevos, por 25 euros, así que leí en Inglés por imperativo económico. El resumen lo hice en inglés por practicar un poco y por comodidad, para no tener que traducirlo todo.

Decidí difundirlo porque no hay ningún resumen decente en la red y creo que este está bien. No os agobiéis porque esté en Inglés, ya que el Inglés que he usado es bastante facilito y común... No hay apenas palabras raras...

¡Suerte y ánimo!

Y si eres de la Complu y tu profe es Horcajada... ¡Más ánimo aún, cariño!


    1) The origins of language

We simply do not know how language originated. Spoken language developed well before written language.
      • The divine source: If human language did emanate from a divine source, we have no way of reconstructing that original language.
      • The natural sounds source: the suggestion is that primitive words are imitations of the natural sounds. All modern languages have some words with pronunciations which seem to “echo” naturally occuring sounds could be used to support this theory.
        This theory has been called the “bow-bow theory”. While it is true that a number of words in any language are onomatopoeic (echoing natural sounds), it is hard to see how most of the soundless entities in our world could have been referred to in a language that simply echoed natural sounds.
        One other “natural sound” proposal has come to be know as the “yo-heave-ho theory”: the sounds of a person involved in physical effort could be the source of our language. However, other primartes have grunts and social calls, but they do not seem to have developed the capacity for speech.
      • The oral-gesture source: many of our physical gestures, using body, hands and face, are a means of nonverbal communication still used by modern humans. However, it proposes an extremely specific connection between physical and oral gesture. Originalli, a set of physical gestures was developed as a means of communication.
Physiological adaptation: some of the phisical aspects of humans which are not shared with other creatures. Human lips have much more intricate muscle interlacing than is found in other primates and their resulting flexibility certainly helps with sounds like p, b, and w. The human mouth is relatively small, can be opened and closed rapidly, and contains a very flexible tongue, which produces a variety of sounds. The human larynx differs in position from that of monkeys. The position of human parynx makes it much more possible for the human to choke on pieces of food. The human brain is lateralized: it has specialized functions in each of the two hemispheres. All languages require the organizating and combining of sounds or signs in specific constructions.

Speech and writting: Humans have incorporated versions of naturally occuring sounds such as cuckoo and ding-dong, and also cries of emotional reaction, such as wow. All this noise-making and gesturing seems to be characteristic of only one of the major functions of language use, which we may describe as the interactional function (how humans use language to interact with each other)
There ir another major function of language, the transactional function (humans use their linguistic abilities to communicate knowledge, skills and information. It must be developed for the transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next.

    2) The development of writting

There are a very large number of the languages found in the world today which are only used in the spoken form and don't have a written form. The development of writting is a recent phenomenon.

Pictograms and ideograms: The distinction between pictiograms and idiograms is essentially a difference in the relationship between the symbol and the entity it represents. When symbols come to be used to represent words in a language, they are described as examples of logograms.
Logograms: The relationship between the written form and the object it represents has become arbitrary. A written system which was word-based had come into existence. Many chinese written symbolds are used as representations of the meaning of words and not of the sounds of the spoken language.
Rebus writting: Is the procces in which we use existing symbols to represent the sounds of language. The symbol for one entity is taken over as the symbol for the sound of the spoken word used to refer to that entity.
Syllabic writting: It is when a writing system employs a set of symbols which represent the pronunciations of syllables. Modern japanese has a large range of single symbols which represent spoken syllables and is consequently often described as having a syllabic writing system.
Alphabetic writing: If you have a set of symbols being used to represent syllables beginning with a b or an m sounds, then you are actually very close to a situation in which the symbols can be used to represent single sound types in a language. An alphabet is a set of written symbols which each represent a single type of sound. The alphabets of Arabic and Hebrew consist of consonant symbols.
    3) The properties of language

Displacement: Human language-users are perfectly capable of producinf messages equivalent to GRRR, last night, over in the park. Displacement property allows the users of language to talk about thing and event not present in the inmediate environment. This property allows the human create fiction and describe possible future worlds.
Arbitrariness: There is no “natural” connection between a linguistic form and its meaning. A property of linguistic signs is their arbitrary relationship with the objects they are used to indicate.
Productivity: Language-users manipulate their linguistic resources to produce new expressions and new sentences. It is an aspect of language which is linked to the fact that the potential number of utterances in any human language is infinite.
Cultural transmission: It is the process in which language is passed on from one generation to the next. The general pattern of animal communication is that signals used are instinctive. Human infants, growing up in isolation, produce no “instictive” language.
Discreteness: The sounds used in language are meaningfully distinct. The difference between a b sound and a p sound is not very great, but when these sounds are used in a language, thery are used in such a way that the occurrence of one rather than the other is meaningful.
Duality: Language is organied at two levels. We have the physical level at which we can produce individual sounds, like n, b and i. At one level we have distinct sounds, and, at another level, we have distinct meanings.
Reciprocity: Any speaker/sender of a linguistic signal can also be a listener/receiver).
Specialization: Linguistic signals do not normally serve any other type of purpose.
Non-directionaly: Linguistic signals can be picked up by anyone within hearing, even unseen.
Rapid fade: Linguistic signals are produced and disappear quickly.

4) Animals and human language

There is a lot of spoken language directed by humans to animals, under the impression that the animal follows what is being said. Non-humans can understand human language? Surely not.
Animal produces a particular behavior in response to a particular sound-stimulus, but dosn't “understand” the meaning of the words uttered.
Teaching chimpanzees: The outcome of raising animal and child together may seem rather obvious, but this is basically the technique which was emplyed in early attemps to teach chimpanzees to use human language. The chimpanzee was reported to be able to undestand about hundred words, but did not “say” any of them. Non-human primates don't have a physically structured vocal tract which is suitable for producing human speech sounds.
One of the most important lessons for those who study the nature of language is the realization that we clearly do not have a totally objective and non-controversial definition of what counts as “using-language”.

    1. The sounds of language

The sounds of spoken English don't match up with letters of written English. In order to know the distinction between the letters and the sounds we can produce separate alphabet with symbols which represent sounds (phonetic alphabet)

Phonetics: It is the general study of the characteristics of speech sounds. Articulatory phonetics is the study of how speech sounds are made.
Acoustic phonetics deals with the physical properties of speech as sounds waves “in the air”.
Auditory phonetics deals with the perception of speech sounds.

Voiced and voiceless sounds: In asticulatory phonetics we investigate how speech sounds are produced using the fairly complex oral equipment we have.
-Voiceless: when the vocal cords are spread apart.
-Voiced: when the vocal cords are drawn together and the air from the lungs repeatedly pushes them apart as it passes through.

Place of articulation: Most consonant sounds are produced by using the tongue and other parts of the mouth to constrict the shape of the oral cavity through which the air is passing.
  • Bilabials: There are sounds formed using both lips: pat, bat, mat. P is voiceless and b and m are voiced.
  • Labiodentals: Sounds formed with the upper teeth and the lower lip: fat. Vat
  • Dentals: Sounds formed with the tongue tip behind the upper front teeth: thin, bath
  • Alveolars: Sounds formed with the front part of the tongue on the alveolar ridge: top, dip, sit, zoo
  • Alveo-palatals: Sounds produced with the tongue at the very front of the palate, near the alveolar ridge: shoot, child.
  • Velars: Sounds produced with the back of the tongue against the velum: cook, kick.
  • Glottals: The glottis is the space between the vocal cords in the larynx. When the glottis is open the sound produced is that represented by [h].

Manner of articulation: HOW the sounds are articulated.
  • Stops: The set [p], [t], [k], [d], [g], [b] are produced stopping of the airstream and then letting it go abruptly.
  • Fricatives: The manner of articulation used in producing the set of sounds [f], [v], [s], [z], … involves almost blocking the air is pushed through, a type of friction is produced and the resulting sounds are called fricatives.
  • Affricates: If you combine a brieg stopping of the airstream with an obstructed releare which causes some friction, you will be able to produce the sounds at the beginning of cheap and jeep.
  • Nasals: morning, knitting, name
  • Liquids: led, red.
  • Glides: The sounds [w] and [y] are produced very much as transition sounds. They are “semi-vowels”. They are usuarly produced with the tongue moving to or from a position associated with a neighboring vowel sound.

Vowels: While the consonant sounds are mostly articulated via closure or obstruction in the vocal tract, vowel sounds are produced with a relatively free flow of air. To describe vowel sounds, we consider the way in which the tongue influences the “shape” through which the airflow must pass.
Diphthongs: The combined vowel sounds are called diphthongs. In pronuncing diphthongs, we move from one vocalic position to another.

    6) The sound patterns of language

  • Phonology
    It is the description of the systems and patterns of speech sounds in a language. It is concerned with the abstract or mental aspect of the sounds in language rather than with the actual physical articulation of speech sounds.
  • Phonemes
    Each one of these meaning-distinguishing sounds in a language is described as a phoneme.
    An essential property f a phoneme is that it functions contrastively
  • Minimal pair and sets
    When two words such as pat and bat are identical in form except for a contrast in one phoneme, ocurring in the same position, the two wors are described as a minimal pair: fan-van; bet-bat; site-side.
    When a group of words are differentiated, each one from the others, by changing one phoneme, in the same position, then we have a minimal set: feat, fit, fat, fate, fought, foot.
  • Phones and allophones: While a phoneme is an abstract unit of sound, there can be dofferente phonetic realizations of any phoneme. These phonetic units are technically described as phones. There is a difference in pronunciation of the /i/ sound in words like seed and seen: in seen, the effect of the nasal consonant [n] makes the [i] sound nasalized. This nasalization can be represented by a diacritic over the symbol. So, the are at least two phones used in English to realize a single phoneme. These phonetic variants are technically know as allophones.
  • Assimilation: When two phonemes occurin sequence and some aspect of one phoneme is taken by the other, the process is know as assimilation.
  • Elision: The omission of a sound segment which would be present in the deliberate pronunciation of a word in isolation is technically described as elision.

    7) Words and word-formation processes

You can understand a new word in your language. This is way there is a lot of regularity in the word-formation processes in your language.
  • Coinage: It is the invention of totally new terms: aspirin, nylon.
  • Borrowing: It is when you take over of words from other languages: alcohol, croissant, piano. It is also loan-translation (direct translation of the elements of a word into the borrowing language).
  • Compounding: It is a joinning of two separate words to produce a single form: wallpapper, textbook.
  • Blending: It is the combining of two separate forms to produce a single new term: smoke and fog → smog. Motor + hotel → motel.
  • Clipping:It occurs when a word of more than one syllable is reduced to a shorter form: gasoline → gas.
  • Backformation: verbs from nouns, reduced: television → televise.
  • Conversion: It is the change in the function of a word when a noun comes to be used as a verb: adjectives as dirty become the verb to dirty.
  • Acronyms: Often consist of capital letters: UNESCO, NATO, NASA.
  • Derivation: It is poroduced with affixes: un-, mis-, pre-.
  • Prefixes and suffixes: Some affixes have to be added to the beginning of a word (prefixes), and the other are added to the end of the word (suffixes).
  • Infixes: It is incorporated inside another word.

    8) Morphology

Nitakupenda, it is “I will love you” in Swahili. But, is it a single word? It is divided in four parts, ni-ta-ku-penda.
This exercise, i which we have investigated is known as morphology. It is the study of forms, and it analyzes all those basic element which are used in a language. What we have described as “elements” in the form of a linguistic message are more technically known as morphemes.

  • Morphemes: talk, talks, talked, talking...: -s, -er, -ed, -ing. All these elements are described as morphemes. It is a minimal unit of eaning or grammatical function.
  • Free Morphemes: they can stand by themselves as single words: tour, and.
    • Lexical morphemes: boy, man, house.
    • Functional morphemes: and, but, when, because, on...
  • Bound Morphemes: they cannot normally stand alone
    • Derivational morphemes: are often used to make words of a different grammatical category from the stem: -ness changes the adjective good to the noun goodness.
    • Inflectional morphemes: It indicates aspects of the grammatical function of a word: plural, singular, past tense, comparative...: -ed, -s, -ing, -er.
  • Morphs and allomorphs: If we consider phones as the actual phonetic realization of phonemes, then we can propose morhps as the actual forms used to realizes morpheme. Cats consist of two morphs, realizing a lexical morpheme and an inflectional morpheme (plural). So, we can recognize allomorphs.

    9) Phrases and sentences: grammar

The term grammar is frequently used to cover a number of different phenomena.
  • Traditional categories: It also uses a number of other categories, including “number”, “person”, “tense”, “voice and “gender”. We consider them in terms of concord and agreement. In English, gender is described in terms of natural gender (biological sex), but in other languages nouns are classified accordinf to their gender class and articles and adjectives take different forms to agree with the gender of the noun.
  • The descriptive approach: The analyst collects samples of the language she is interested in and attempts to describe the regular structures of the languages as it is used. It is the basis of most modern attempts to characterize the structure of different languages.

    10) Syntax

It is the studying of the structure and ordering of components within a sentence.
  • Generative grammar: The explicit system of rules which Noam Chomsky proposed would have much in common with the types of rules found in mathematics.
  • Recursiveness: It is the capacity to be applied more than once in generating a structure.
  • Different approaches: For some, the only relevant issues are syntatic ones, how to describe structure, independt of meaning considerations. For others, the meaning component is primary.

    11) Semantics and pragmatics

Work in semantics deals with the description of word and sentence meaning and, in pragmatics, we deal with the characterization of speaker-meaning.
When linguists investigate the meaning of words in a language, they are normally interested in characterizing the conceptual meaning and less concerned with the associative or stylistic meaning of words.
  • Synonymy: they are two or more forms, with very closed related meanings, which are often intersubtituable in sentences: answer-reply; liberty-freedom.
  • Antonymy: Two forms with opposite meanings.
    • Gradable antonyms: big-small. Can be used in comparative constructions.
    • Non-gradable antonyms: dead-alive.
  • Hyponymy: It is when the meaning of one form is included in the meaning of another: dog-animal; carrot-vegetable.
  • Homophony: It is when two or more different forms have the same pronunciation: meat-meet; bare-beer.
  • Homonymy: It is used when one form has two or more unrelated meanings: bank (river), bank (financial).
  • Polysemy: can be defined as one form having multiple meanings which are all related by extension.
    The distinction between homonymy and polysemy is not always clear cut. One indication of the distinction can be found in the typical dictionary entry for words. If a word has multiple meanings (polysemic), then there will be a single entry. If two words are treated as homonyms, they will tipically have two separate entries.

When we read or hear pieces of language, we normally try to understand not only what the words mean, but what the writer or speaker of those words intended to convey. Pragmatics is the study of intended speaker-meaning.
  • Deictic expressions: some words in the language cannot be interpreted at all unless the physical context, especially the physical context of the speaker: they, that, here, tomorrow, now.
  • Presupposition: Speakers continually design their linguistic messages on the basis of assumptions about what their hearers already know.

    12) Discourse analysis

Some of the most interesting questioons arise in connection with the way language is used, rather than what its components are. When we carry this investigation further and ask how it is that we make sense of what we read in texts, understand what speakers mean despite what they say and succesfully take part in that complex activity called converrsation, we are undestaking what is known as discourse analysis.
We know that texts must have a certain structure which depends on factores quite different from those required in the structure of a single sentence. Some of those factores are described in terms of cohesion.
Our ability to make sense of what we read is probably only a small part of that general ability we have to make sense of what we perceive or experience in the world.
The co-operative principle is stated in the following way: “make your conventional contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged”. This general description of the normal expectations we have in conversations helps to explain a number of regular features in the way people say things.

    15) First language acquisition

A child growing up in the first two or three years requires ionteraction with other language-users in order to bring the language faculty into operation with a particular language. The child must also be physically capable of sending and receiving sounds signals in a language. In order to speak a language, a child must be able to hear that language being used. However, hearing language sounds is not enough.
If there is some general biological program underlying language acquisition, it is certainly dependent on an interplay wiith many social factores in the child's environment. What this acquisition “capacity” then requires is a sufficiently constant input from which the regularities of the particular language can be worked out.

Pre-language stages: The prelinguistic sounds of the very early stages of child language acquisition are simplky called “cooing” (velar consonants such as [k] and [g] and high vowels such as [i] and [u]. The sound production at this stage is described as “babbling” and may contain syllable-type sounds such as mu and da.
Between 12 ad 18 months, children begin to produce a variety of recognizable single unit utterances. This period (one-word stage) is characterized by speech in which single terms are uttered for everyday objects such as “milk”, “cookie”, “cat”. We can use the term holophrastic if we believe that the child is actually using these forms as phrases os sentences.
Depending on what one count as an occurrence of two separate words, this stage (two-word stage) can begin around 18-20 months. By the time the child is 2 years old, a variety of combinations will be appearing. The adult interpretation of such combinations is very much tied to the context of their utterance. The child not only produces speech, but receives feedback which usually confirms that the utterance “worked”.

Between 2 and 3 years old, the child will begin producing a large number of utterances which could be calssified as multiple-word utterances. There is a stage which is described as telegraphic speech, which is characterized by strings of lexical morphemes in phrases such as Andrew want ball. The child has clearly developed some sentence-building capacity by this stage and can order the forms correctly.

It is often assumed that the child is being “taught” the language, which seems to underestimate what the child actually does. The child's linguistic production is mostly a matter of trying out constructions and testing whether they work or not.
Adults simply don't produce many of the types of expressions which turn up in children's speech.

    16) Second language acquisition

Most people attempt to learn another language during their teenage or adult years, in a few hours each week of school time with a lot of other occupations. Adults' tongues “get stiff” from pronouncing one type of language and just cannot cope with the new sounds of another language.
The term acquisition refers to the gradual development of ability in a language by using it naturally in communicative situations, and the term learning applies to a conscious process of accumulating knowledge of the vocabulary and grammar of a language. Activities associated with acquisition are those experienced by the young child and by those who “pick up” another language from long periods spent in social interaction in another country. Activities associated with learning have traditionally been used in language-teaching schools.
The optimum age may be during the years 11-16 when the flexibility of the language acquisition faculty has not been completely lost.
  • Grammar-translation method: Long lists of words and a set of grammatical rules have to be memorized, and the written language rather than the spoken language is emphasized.
  • Direct method: in this method: we recreate the exposure which young children have in language acquisition. Emphasis was placed on the spoken language, while vocabulary lists and explanations of grammatica rules were avoided.
  • Audilingual method: it was strongly influenced by a belief that the fluent use of a language was essentially a set of habits which could be developed with a lot of practice. It involves hours spent in a language laboratory repeating oral drills.
  • The communicative approach: It is a reaction against the artificiality of “pattern-practice” and also against the belief that consciously learning the grammar of a language will result in an ability to use the language. The functions of language (what it is used for) should be emphasized rather than the forms of the language (grammatical structure).

    18) Language history and change

During the nineteenth century, when the historical study of languages was the major preoccupation of linguists, a term came into use to describe that common ancestor. It incorporated the notion that this was the original form of a language which was the source of modern languages in the Indian sub-continent and in Europe.
Cognates is the process in which we have just employed in establishing some possible family connection between different languages. A cognate of a word in one language is a word in another language which has a similar form and is used with a similar meaning.
Comparative reconstruction is when we use information from these cognate sets. The aim of this procedure is to reconstruct what must have been the original form in the common ancestral language.
The most natural development principle is based onthe fact that certain types of sound-change are very common, whereas other are extremely unlikely. These are well-documented types of sound change:
  • final vowels often disappear
  • voiceless sounds become boiced between vowels
  • stops become fricatives
  • consonants become voiceless at the end of words

The reconstruction of proto-forms is an attempt to determinate what a language must have been like before written records began. To see how one language has undergone substantial changes through time, let us take a brief look at the history of English.

One of the most obvious differences between Modern English and the English spoken in earlier periods is in the quality of the vowel sounds. The change known as metathesis involves a reversal in position of two adjoining sounds: bridd → bird.
Another change involves the addition of a sound to the middle of a word, which is known as epenthesis: spinel → spindle.

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