Uploaded by Audri Gundersen


SEMANTICS: the study of the meaning in language
1. Lexical Semantics: the study of the meanings of words
a. Reference: referring to a certain thing – proper names
b. Sense: refers to a thing that is more general – if you say mom, everyone
imagines not the same mom
c. Hyponymy: smaller set of the broader set – poodle is a hyponym of dog
d. Hypernymy: broad set – dog is a hypernym of poodle
e. synonymy: 2 words that mean the same thing – sofa/couch
f. antonymy: 2 words that that are opposites
i. Complementary: 2 things that cannot occur at the same time – dead /
ii. Gradable: 2 things that are on the spectrum – tall / short
iii. converse: 2 words that are from different viewpoints, but they share the
same context – employee /employer
g. lexical decomposition (evidence for semantic features): analyzing a word’s
meaning by breaking down its parts – uncle, nephew, son, father=male, kinship
2. compositional semantics: how meanings of words combine to create larger units of
a. principle of compositionality: the meaning of a sentence is determined by the
meaning of its words in conjunction with the way they are syntactically
i. anomaly: sentence structure makes sense, but the meaning doesn’t –
colorless green ideas sleep furiously
ii. metaphor: a word phrase that compares 2 things that don’t make sense,
but the meaning does – he’s a pig
iii. idiom – break a leg
b. entailment: the relationship between 2 sentences where the truth of one
guarantees the other
c. paraphrase (mutual entailment): say the same thing in a different way
1. role of iconicity
2. role of arbitrariness
3. sign language modality (visual-manual)
4. parameters
a. handshape
b. location
c. movement
d. palm orientation
e. nonmanual signals
5. basics of ASL grammar
1. paradox of language acquisition: all children learn the same rules an arrive at same
grammar for their language, despite different experiences and exposure
2. theories of language acquisition
a. imitation: children listen to speech around them and reproduce / imitate what
they hear
b. reinforcement: children are praised/reinforced when language is used corrected
c. active construction of grammar: children construct rules of grammar by
analyzing language around them
d. innateness
3. universal grammar: innate blueprint for language and how it works
4. overgeneralization: when learned rules are applied incorrectly to irregular forms
5. the ‘Wug’ test: shows children can use correct plural allomorphs of nonsense words
they’ve never heard before like wug  wugs
6. critical period hypothesis: from birth to about puberty, children must be exposed to
language or they won’t acquire it
a. evidence: genie & neglected children (Isabelle) & deaf children who are born to
hearing parents
7. Stages of acquisition
a. Crying: 0-1 month
b. Cooing: 2-3 months = squeaks
c. Vocal play: 3-4 months
d. Babbling: 4-12 months
i. CV monosyllables (4-6 months) = ma, pa
ii. Canonical (7-10 months) = mamama
iii. Variegated (10-12 months) = tamami
e. One-word holophrases: (1 – 1 ½ years) 1-word sentences = want! There!
f. 2 word: ( 1 ½ - 2 years) lexicon > 50 words = kick ball
g. Telegraphic (2+ words)
h. Function morphemes (2+ words) ing  ed  s
i. Semantic overextension: when a word is given a broader meaning, like referring
all animals as dog
j. Semantic under extension: when a word is given a narrower meaning, like when
balls only mean the yellow ones
NEUROLINGUISTICS: study of the language and the brain
1. Corpus callosum: the left and right hemispheres that are connected by bundles of nerve
2. Contralateral control: each hemisphere controls the opposite side of the body
3. Lateralization: the brain is asymmetrical such that each hemisphere is specialized for
certain cognitive functions
a. Left hemisphere: language, analytical processing
b. Right hemisphere: visual spatial skills, emotional reactions
c. Analytical processing – left hemisphere
d. Holistic processing – right hemisphere
Split – brain: corpus callosum is surgically severed – both hemispheres cannot
communicate with each other
a. Broca’s: can’t use grammar well – holophrases – can understand
b. Wernicke’s – can use grammar but sentence meanings doesn’t make sense –
cannot understand
Left hemi spatial neglect
Language and modality
Production errors (slips of the tongue and hand)
a. Metathesis: 2 elements are switched
b. Anticipation: a later unit appears earlier in the utterance
c. Preservation: an earlier unit is repeated later in the utterance
d. Addition: a unit is added out of the blue
e. Deletion: a unit is omitted
f. Shift: unit moves from 1 location to another
g. Substitution: substitute phonetically similar sound for foreign sound not in native
phonemic inventory
h. Blend: 2 words fuse into 1 word
1. Dialect: language variety
2. Idiolect: the speech variety of an individual speaker
3. Mutual unintelligibility: when speakers of different language varieties can understand
each other
4. Dialect continuum: when each dialect is intelligible with its contiguous neighbor but
unintelligible with the dialects at the opposite end of continuum.
5. Accent: how people pronounce sounds in their dialect
6. Speech styles
a. Register
b. Style-shifting: automatically adjust from 1 speech style to another
7. Jargon: depends on the context
8. Slang: words and expressions used
9. Regional dialects
a. Isogloss: line on a map marking boundaries between where particular linguistic
features are used
b. Dialect leveling - The West has been described as a region in the U.S. where
historical dialect variation in the eastern part of the country has been cancelled
out as a result of mixing during westward migration.
10. Social dialects
a. Standard: considered the prestige dialect
b. Nonstandard: any dialect that isn’t standard
c. Overt prestige: standard dialect
d. Covert prestige: nonstandard dialect – defines how people speak to be seen
positively by members of that group
e. Hypercorrection: producing nonstandard forms by mistake to achieve overt
f. Variation and ethnicity
i. AAE – multiple negation, absence of to be, absence of 3rd person sg. -s
g. Variation and socioeconomic status
i. Labov’s NYC r study – pronunciation of r correlates with class = upper
class used more r’s
h. Gender variation – women use standard forms more than men
1. Language contact
a. Adstratum: languages in contact have = prestige / power
b. Superstratum: language of dominant group
c. Substratum: language of subordinate / conquered group
d. Language convergence: languages with = prestige combines
e. Language shift: subordinate language speakers switch to dominant group
f. Language death: language dies – Latin
2. Language change
a. Diachronic: languages changes over time
b. Synchronic: language variation at a single point in time
c. Sound change
i. Conditioned: sound only changes in certain environments
ii. Unconditioned: all instances of a sound change regardless of
iii. Phonetic: affects allophones or the pronunciation of sounds
iv. Phonemic: old sounds are lost, or new sounds are added
d. Great vowel shift
e. Morphological change: change in the words
i. Proportional analogy: a form of a word changes to be more like another,
usually to make a patter more regular climb  climbed
ii. Back formation: the creation of a new base form by removing a
misanalysed affix
f. Semantic change: change in word meaning
i. Extension: meaning includes referents than what it originally did
ii. Reduction: meaning narrowed to fewer referents
iii. Elevation meaning becomes more positive
iv. Degradation meaning becomes more negative over time
g. Syntactic change: change in sentence / word order
SAPIR-WHORF HYPOTHESIS (characteristics & evidence) – language affects thought
Linguistic determinism: strong version / language determines the nature of thought
o Evidence
 Pirahã (brazil): lack number terms and can't count or do simple math
 Since they don't have numbers in their language, they can't do math
 Doll with marble experiment - deaf kids of hearing parents answer incorrectly. They
lack complex cognitive skill due to lack of complex language
Linguistic relativity: weak version / language influences and affects how we think and perceive the
o Evidence
 Color terms: the way our language slices up the color spectrum influences how we
categorize and remember colors
 Babies process colors with right hemisphere
 Adults process colors with left hemisphere
 Spatial orientation: left, above, behind