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# Lecture notes on Linguistics

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Lecture Notes: Linguistics Edward Stabler, Winter 2011 An introduction to the methods and some basic ideas of theoretical linguistics.Contents 1 The nature of human languages 1 1.1 Productivity, and Zipf’s law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 1.2 Compositionality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 1.3 Another fundamental: “creativity” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 1.4 One more fundamental: “ﬂexibility” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 1.5 Are all human languages spoken? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 1.6 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 1.7Howtoa ethis lass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 1.8 Questions: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 2 Phonetics 7 2.1 Speech sounds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 2.2 Articulation and transcription . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 2.3 Explaining the sounds of human languages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 2.4 Looking ahead: articulatory processes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 2.5 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 3 Phonology introduced 19 3.1 Aspirated voiceless stops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 3.2 Vowel shortening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 3.3 Flapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 3.4 Nasalization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 3.5 The new picture, and remaining questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 4 Phonemes and rules of variation 25 4.1 Minimal pairs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 4.2 Phonological rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 4.3 Ordering the rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 4.4 Phonology and morphology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 4.5 Phonologies vary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 4.6 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 iStabler - Linguistics 20, Winter 2011 5 Phonotactics, syllables, stress 33 5.1 Features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 5.2 Syllables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 5.3 Syllables 1: feature agreement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 5.4 Syllables 2: the Sonority Principle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 5.5 Stress (brieﬂy) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 5.6 Reﬂecting on the big picture: Speech perception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 5.7 A question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 5.8 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 6 Morphology 43 6.1 Words, morphemes, roots, and aﬃxes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 6.2 Syntactic atoms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 6.3 English morphology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 6.3.1 Compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 6.3.2 Roots + aﬃxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 6.3.3 English morphological rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 6.4 How morphology relates to other things . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 6.4.1 Morphology and phonology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 6.4.2 Syntactic atoms and semantic atoms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 6.5 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 7 Syntax: Constituents and categories 55 7.1 Productivity begins in morphology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 7.1.1 First: morphemes, words and parts of speech are diﬀerent. . . . . . . . . . . . 55 7.1.2 productive aﬃxation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 7.1.3 productive compounding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 7.2 Parts of speech, syntactic atoms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 7.3 Categories and “ﬁnest” categories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 7.4 Substitutions and Phrases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 7.5 Manipulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 8 Syntax: the anatomy of a phrase 65 8.1 More consituency tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 8.2 Determiner phrases: ﬁrst thoughts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 8.3 Arguments and modiﬁers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 8.4 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 iiStabler - Linguistics 20, Winter 2011 9 Structures from heads+rules 71 9.0.1 Arguments of VP introduced . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 9.0.2 Modiﬁers in VP. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 9.1 S(emantic)-selection and argument roles, ‘θ-roles’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 9.2 Syntactic rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 9.3 Arguments in PP, NP and AP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 9.4 Review so far. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 9.4.1 C(ategorial)-selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 9.4.2 c-selection of clauses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 9.5 Two additional rules, mentioned before . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 9.5.1 Case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 9.5.2 Subject-verb agreement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 9.6 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 10 Movement 85 10.1 One more instance of c-selection: Auxiliary verbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 10.2 Wh-questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 10.3 Yes/no-questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 10.4 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 11 Clauses, tense, and questions 93 11.1 Auxiliaries, Negation and the verb DO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 11.1.1 Subject-Auxiliary inversion again . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 11.2 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 12 Syntax: the perspective so far 101 12.1 Noun complements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 12.2 Wh-questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 12.3 Wh-questions as complements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 12.4 Wh-questions as modiﬁers: relative clauses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 12.5 Inﬁnitival clauses, very brieﬂy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 12.6 Passive sentences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 12.7 Ambiguity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110 13 What it all means 113 13.1 Compositional semantics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114 13.2 Determiners and nouns. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 13.3 Adjectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117 13.4 The simple semantics more concisely . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118 iiiStabler - Linguistics 20, Winter 2011 14 Scope, polarity, and binding 121 14.1 What relations can determiners represent? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 14.2 Decreasing determiners and NPIs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122 14.3 Names, pronouns and binding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 14.4 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 14.5 Exercises not assigned, just for practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128 15 Review 131 15.1 Summary summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 ivLinguistics 20 Introduction to Linguistics Lecture MW2-4 in Haines A2 Prof. Ed Stabler Oﬃce Hours: M4-5, by appt, or stop by Oﬃce: Campbell 3103f stablerucla.edu Prerequisites: none Contents: What are human languages, such that they can be acquired and used as they are? This class surveys some of the most important and recent approaches to this question, breaking the problem up along traditional lines. In spoken languages, what are the basic speech sounds? How are these sounds articulated and combined? What are the basic units of meaning? How are the basic units of meaning combined into complex phrases? How are these complexes interpreted? These questionsaresurprisinglyhard This introductorysurveycanonly brieﬂytouchoneach one. One goal of the class is just to show you why the relatively new science of linguistics is challenging and exciting. The emphasis will be on methods, and on the structure and limitations of the picture being developed by recent theories. Texts: Linguistics: An introduction to linguistic theory. V. Fromkin (ed.) Blackwell, 2000 Notes and homework will be posted at http://wintermute.linguistics.ucla.edu/20/. Requirements and grades: There will be 6 homework assignments. They will usually be assigned on Wednesdays and due the following Monday in lecture. The homework will be graded by the TAs and discussed in the discussion sections. There will be 2 mid-term quizzes during the quarter, and an in-class ﬁnal exam. The exams will be analytic problems very similar to those given in the homework. 6 homeworks 60% (10% each) 2 quizzes 20% (10% each) ﬁnal 20% Midterm and ﬁnal exam dates (all held in class) are posted on the website, http://wintermute.linguistics.ucla.edu/20/, where lecture notes, and reading assignments will also be posted each week. vStabler - Linguistics 20, Winter 2011 viLecture 1 The nature of human languages We are using a good text, but it has more than we can cover in a 10 week class In lecture, and in these occasional lecture notes, I will be clear about which parts of the text you are expected to understand completely. And when new material is introduced in the lecture that Introduction............ 1 is notinthe text, I will tryto producelecturenotes aboutit, foryourreference. Thathappens 1.1 Productivity, Zipf’s law . 2 in this lecture – the ideas here are closely related to the material of Chapter 1, but do not 1.3 Creativity .............. 4 really appear there. 1.4 Flexibility.............. 4 1.5 Unspoken languages .... 5 Human language is the most familiar of subjects, but most people do not devote much 1.6 Summary............... 5 time to thinking about it. The basic fact we start with is this: I can make some gestures that you can perceive (the marks on this page, or the sounds at the front of the classroom), and almost instantaneously you come to have an idea about what I meant. Not only that, your idea about what I meant is usually similar to the idea of the student sitting next to you. Our basic question is: How is that possible?? And: How can a child learn to do this? Theattempt toanswerto thesequestionsis traditionallybrokenintoseparateparts(which you may have seen already in the syllabus), for reasons that will not be perfectly clear until the end of the class: 1. phonetics - in spoken language, what are the basic speech sounds? 2. phonology - how are the speech sounds represented and combined? 3. morphology - what are the basic units of meaning, and of phrases? 4. syntax - how are phrases built from those basic units? 5. semantics - how can you ﬁgure out what each phrase means? A grammar is a speaker’s knowledge of all of these 5 kinds of properties of language. The grammarwearetalkingabouthereisnotrulesabouthowoneshouldspeak(that’s sometimes called “prescriptive grammar”). Rather, the grammar we are interested in here is what the speaker knows that makes it possible to speak at all, to speak so as to be understood, and to understand what is said by others. In each of the 5 pieces mentioned above, there is an emphasis on the basic units (the basic 1 sounds, basic units of phrases, basic units of meaning). I like to begin thinking about the project of linguistics by reﬂecting on why the problems should be tackled in this way, starting with “basic units.” There is an argument for that strategy, which I’ll describe now. 1 The ﬁrst idea you might have about the basic units is that they are “words.” And so the text adds (on page 8, §1.3.1) a “lexicon” of “words” as a basic “component” of our grammar. I prefer not to describe things quite this way, because I think it can be misleading for reasons that we will get to later. For the moment, notice that there is no chapter of the text on the “lexicon” There is a reason for that. 1Stabler - Linguistics 20, Winter 2011 1.1 Productivity, and Zipf’s law Productivity: Every human language has an unlimited number of sentences. This can be seen by observing that we can extend any sentence you choose to a new, longer one. Infact, thenumberofsentencesisunlimitedevenifwerestrictourattentionto“sensible” sentences, sentences that any competent speaker of the language could understand (barring memory lapses, untimely deaths, etc.). This argument is right, but there is a stronger point that we can make. Even if we restrict our attention to sentences of reasonable length, say to sentences with less than 50 words or so, there are a huge number of sentences. The text says on page 8 that the average person knows from 45,000to 60,000words. (I don’t think this ﬁgure is to be trusted For one thing, the text has not even told us yet what a word is) But suppose that you know 50,000 words. Then the 2 number of diﬀerent sequences of those words is very large. Of course, many of those are not sentences, but quite a few of them are So most sentences are going to be very rare In fact, this is true. What is more surprising is that even most words are very rare. To see this, let’s take a bunch of newspaper articles – about 10 megabytes of text from the Wall StreetJournal– about1 millionwords. As we doin astandarddictionary, let’s count am and is as the same word, and dog and dogs as the same word, and let’s take out all the proper names and numbers. Then the number of diﬀerent words (sometimes called ‘word types’, as opposed to ‘word occurrences’ or ‘tokens’) in these articles turns out to be 31,586. Of these words, 44%occur onlyonce. If youlookatsequencesofwords, then anevenhigherproportion 100 occur only once. For example, in these newspaper articles 89% of the 3-word sequences occur 80 just once. Since most sentences in our average day have more than 3 words, it is safe to conclude that most of the sentences you hear, you will only ever hear once in your life. 60 40 The fact that most words are rare, but the most frequent words are very frequent, is often 3 calledZipf’slaw. Forexample, withthosenewspaperarticlesagain, plottingthe frequencies 20 of the most frequent word to the least frequent word gives us the graph shown in Figure 1.1. 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000 The top of the curve gets chopped oﬀ so that I can ﬁt it on the page Here, word 1 on the x-axis is the most frequent word, the, which occurs 64628 times – oﬀ the top of the graph. Fig. 1.1: Word frequency vs rank Word 10 is say, which only occurs 11049 times – still oﬀ the top of the graph. Word 2500 is probe, whichoccursonly 35 times andso itis onthe displayedpartofthe curve. Words 17,606 to31,586arealltied, occurringonlyonce–thesearewordslikezigzag, zealot, yearn, wriggling, triﬂe, traumatize,... You have heard all these words, and more than once, but that’s because you’ve heard many more than a million words. The surprising thing is that as you increase the sample of texts, Zipf’s law stays the same: new unique words appear all the time. Zipf’s law says that the frequencies in this plot drop oﬀ exponentially. This is the reason that most words are rare. Given Zipf’s law about word frequencies, it is no surprise that most sentences you hear, you only hear once. 2 50 The number of sequences of length 50 is 50000 . So the number of sequences of length 50 or less is P 50 i 234 50000 , which is about 8.8820×10 . (For comparison, some physicists estimate that there have been i=1 17 4.6×10 seconds – about 15 billion years – since the big bang.) 3 Moreprecisely, heproposed that, innatural texts, whenwordsareranked byfrequency, frommostfrequent to least frequent, the product of rank and frequency is a constant. 2Stabler - Linguistics 20, Winter 2011 1.2 Compositionality How can people understand so many sentences, when most of them are so rare that they will only be heardonce if they are heard at all? Our understanding of exactly how this could work took a great leap early in this century when mathematicians noticed that our ability to do this is analogous to the simpler mathematical task of putting small numbers or sets together to get larger ones: It is astonishing what language can do. With a few syllables it can express an incalculable number of thoughts, so that even a thought grasped by a terrestrial being for the very ﬁrst time can be put into a form of words which will be understood by someone to whom the thought is entirely new. This would be impossible, were we not able to distinguish parts in the thought corresponding to the parts of a sentence, so that the structure of the sentence serves as an image of the structure of the thought. (Frege, 1923) The basicinsighthereis thatthe meaningsofthe limitless numberofsentencesofaproductive language can be ﬁnitely speciﬁed, if the meanings of longer sentences are composed in regular ways from the meanings of their parts. We call this: Semantic Compositionality: New sentences are understood by recognizing the meanings of their basic parts and how they are combined. This is where the emphasis on basic units comes from: we are assuming that the reason you understand a sentence isnot usually that you have heard it and ﬁgured it out before. Rather, you understand the sentence because you know the meanings of some basic parts, and you 4 understand the signiﬁcance of combining those parts in various ways. Weanalyzealanguageashavingsomerelativelysmallnumberofbasicunits, togetherwith some relatively few number of ways for putting these units together. This system of parts and modes of combinationsis calledthegrammar ofthe language. With a grammar,ﬁnite beings like humans can handle a language that is essentially unlimited, producing any number of new sentences that will be comprehensible to others who have a relevantly similar grammar. We accordingly regard the grammar as a cognitive structure. It is the system you use to “decode” the language. In fact, human languages seem to require compositional analysis at a number of levels: speech sounds are composed from basic articulatory features; morphemes from sounds; words from morphemes; phrases from words. We will see all this later. The semantic composition- ality is perhaps the most intriguing, though. It is no surprise that it captured the imagina- tions of philosophersearly in this century (especially Gottlob Frege, BertrandRussell, Ludwig Wittgenstein). In eﬀect, a sentence is regarded as an abstract kind of picture of reality, with the parts of the sentence meaning, or referring to, parts of the world. We communicate by passing these pictures among ourselves. This perspective was brieﬂy rejected by radically be- haviorist approaches to language in the 1950’s, but it is back again in a more sophisticated form – more on this when we get to our study of meaning, of “semantics.” 4 Given a rigorous, formal account of how to deﬁne simple mathematical languages compositionally, it did nottakemuchlongertodiscoverhowaphysicalobjectcouldbedesignedtobehaveaccordingtotheformalrules of such a language – this is the idea of a computer. So by 1936, the mathematician Alan Turing showed how a ﬁnite machine could (barring memory limitations and untimely breakdowns) compute essentially anything (any “computable function”). In the short span of 70 or 80 years, these ideas not only spawned the computer revolution, but also revolutionized our whole conception of mathematics and many sciences. Linguistics is one of the sciences that has been profoundly inﬂuenced by these ideas. 3Stabler - Linguistics 20, Winter 2011 1.3 Another fundamental: “creativity” Meaningful productivity is explained by compositionality, and compositionality brings with it the emphasis on basic units and how they are combined. These notions should not be confused with another idea that is often mentioned in linguistic texts, and in this quote from the well-known linguist Noam Chomsky: The “creative aspect of language” is the distinctively human ability to express new thoughts and to understand entirely new expressions of thought, within the framework of an “instituted” language, a language that is a cultural product subject to laws and principles partially unique to it and partially reﬂections of general properties of the mind. (Chomsky, 1968) Chomsky carefully explains that when he refers to the distinctive “creativity” of human language use, he is not referring to productivity or compositionality. He says that although linguists canproﬁtablystudy (productive, compositional)cognitivestructures likethose found in language, our creative use of language is something that we know no more about than did the Cartesian philosophers of the 1600’s: When we ask how humans make use of ... cognitive structures, how and why they make choices and behave as they do, although there is much that we can say as human beings with intuition and insight, there is little, I believe, that we can say as scientists. What I have called elsewhere “the creative aspect of language use” remains as much a mystery to us as it was to the Cartesians who discussed it.... (Chomsky, 1975, 138) Here the point is that we humans are “creative” in the way we decide what to say and do. Chomskysuggeststhatweproducesentencesthatareinsomesenseappropriatetothecontext, 5 but not determined by context. Our behavior is not under “stimulus control” in this sense. Regardless of whether we accept Chomsky’s scepticism about accounting for why we say whatwedowhenwedo,heisrightthatthisisnotwhatmostlinguistsaretryingtoaccountfor. This is an important point. What most linguists are trying to account for is the productivity and compositionality of human languages. The main question is: What are the grammars of human languages, such that they can be acquired and used as they are? 1.4 One more fundamental: “ﬂexibility” One thing thatthe ﬁrstquote fromChomskysuggestsisthat languagehasacertainﬂexibility. New names become popular, new terms get coined, new idioms become widely known – the conventional aspects of each language are constantly changing. We are inventing the language all the time, extending it in ways that are not predicted simply by the possibility of new compositions from familiar elements (productivity and compositionality). Linguists have been especially interested in what remains constant through these changes, the limitations on the ﬂexibility of human languages. It is easy to see that there are some signiﬁcant limitations, 5 Chomsky maintains that we see here deﬁnite limits on computational models of mind, since this sort of creative behavior is “not realizable by even the most complex automaton.” But this claim is easy to challenge. If the creative aspect of language use is not understood, what could be the basis for the claim that it cannot be realized by any computational system? 4Stabler - Linguistics 20, Winter 2011 but saying exactly what they are, in the most general and accurate way, is a challenge. We can adopt a new idiom naturally enough, at least among a group of friends, but it would not be natural to adopt the convention that only sentences with a prime number of words would get spoken. This is true enough, but not the most revealing claim about the range of possible human languages. You can name your new dog almost anything you want, but could you give it a name like -ry, where this must be part of another word, like the plural marker -s (as in dogs), or the adverbial marker -ly (as in quickly)? Then instead of Fido eats tennis balls would yousay eatsry tennis balls or dory eat tennis balls or eats tennisry balls orwhat? None ofthese are natural extensions of English. What kinds of extensions really get made and adopted by others? Thisis partlyaquestionoflanguagelearning, andpartlyasociologicalquestionabout how groups come to adopt a new way of speaking. 1.5 Are all human languages spoken? Obviouslynot AmericanSign Languageis a humanlanguagewith propertiesverylike spoken languages. Since vocal gestures are not the only possible medium for human languages, it is interesting to consider why they are the most common. 1.6 Summary The basic questions we want to answer are these: how can human languages be (1) learned and (2) used as they are? These are psychological questions, placing linguistics squarely in the “cognitive sciences.” (And our interest is in describing the grammar you actually have, not in prescribing what grammar you “should” have.) The ﬁrst, basic fact we observe about human languages shows that the answer to these questionsisnotlikelytobesimple Ourﬁrst,basicfactaboutthenatureofallhumanlanguages 3 is that they areproductive – No human language has a longestsentence. It follows from this that you will never hear most sentences – after all most of them are more than a billion words long Zipf’s law gives us a stronger claim, more down to earth but along the same lines. Al- though the most frequent words are very frequent, the frequencies of other words drop oﬀ exponentially. Consequently, many words are only heard once, and it is a short step from there to noticing that certainly most sentences that you hear, you hear only once. To make sense of how we can use a language in which most sentences are so rare, we 3 assume that the language is compositional, which just means that language has basic parts and certain ways those parts can be combined. This is what a language user must know, and this is what we call the grammar of the language. This is what linguistics should provide an account of. It turns out that compositional analysis is used in various parts of linguistic theory: 1. phonetics - in spoken language, what are the basic speech sounds? 2. phonology - how are the speech sounds represented and combined? 3. morphology - what are the basic units of meaning, and of phrases? 4. syntax - how are phrases built from those basic units? 5. semantics - how can you ﬁgure out what each phrase means? 5Stabler - Linguistics 20, Winter 2011 Most of Chapter 1 in the text is about these 5 things, providing brief sketches of each, but you do not have to understand now what these are, or why matters are divided up this way You will understand this by the end of the class. 1.7Howtoa ethis lass Mainly:DoallthehomeworksTheyare60%ofthegrade,andthebestprepa- rationfortheexams.Doingthemwillfor eyoutokeepup. 1.8 Questions: Feel free to stop by my oﬃce M4-5 or anytime. Short questions can also be emailed to me. To: stablerucla.edu Subject: question In today’s lecture on Zipf’s law, when you plotted the graph, what did the x and y axis stand for? On the x-axis, 1 represents the most frequent word, the, 2 represents the secondmost frequent word, be, word 3 is a, word4 is of, word5 is to, word6 is in, word7 is and, word8 is for, word 9 is have, word 10 is say, and so on. On the y-axis, I plotted how frequent each word was. Instead of writing the words on the x-axis, I just put the numbers 1, 2 ,3,..., partly because writing all those words there is hard work, and partly because what I wantedto show was just the shape of the curve. The shape of the curve by itself shows that the most frequent words are very frequent, and the other words are rather rare References Chomsky1968 Chomsky, Noam (1968) Language and Mind. NY: Harcourt Brace Javonovich. Chomsky1975 Chomsky, Noam (1975) Reﬂections on Language. NY: Pantheon. Frege1923 Frege, Gottlob (1923) Compound Thoughts. Translated and reprinted in Klemke, ed., 1968, Essays on Frege. University of Illinois Press. Turing1936 Turing, Alan (1936) On computable numbers with an application to the ensheidungs problem. Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society 42(2): 230-265, 544-546. Zipf1949 Zipf, George K. (1949) Human Behavior and the Principle ofLeast Eﬀort: An Introduction to Human Ecology. Houghton-Miﬄin, Boston. 6Lecture 2 Phonetics As discussed in lecture 1, human languagesare productive and compositional, like many other Introduction............. 7 much simpler representational systems. For example, there are inﬁnitely many decimal nu- 2.1 Speech sounds ........... 8 merals, and they are all built from ﬁnitely many parts. Usually we say that the ﬁnitely many 2.2 Articulation, transcription 10 basic parts are the 10 digits 2.3 Explanations............. 16 2.4 Articulatory processes.... 17 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2.5 Summary................ 18 andthewaytobuildlargernumeralsfromthese isto arrangethesepartsinasequence. Notice that we could assume a larger set of basic parts, like 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19. Obviously, all the numerals that can be obtained by making sequences from the ﬁrst set of basic elements can also be obtained by making sequences of the second, larger set of basic elements. Some elements of the secondset haveparts that are common to other elements, and since this second set does not get us anything new, the ﬁrst can be preferred. The ﬁrst set covers all the numerals and it is simpler. The reason for mentioning this obvious point is that similar sorts of reasoning will be used when we try to ﬁgure out what the basic elements of language are. A ﬁrst idea about language (one that we will reject) is that (i) the basic elements of language are the words, and (ii) the expressions of the language are formed by making longer and longer sequences of words. By “words” we might mean something like those things that get listed in standard dictionaries, except that we will take the spoken language to be basic and so we will think of the dictionary entries as they are pronounced. My English dictionary (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition) advertises that it has “more than 160,000 entries.” Most speakers of English do not know them all. The text suggests that adults know some 50,000 words, and they can often recognize many more than that. So suppose that we assume that the basic elements of language are these words, something more than 50,000 of them. We typically learn to pronounce them ﬁrst, only later learning how to spell them and read them, so let’s adopt the natural assumption that the spoken language is more fundamental, and concentrate on the sounds of the pronounced words. So our ﬁrst idea can be that (i) the basic elements of languages are the speech sounds that we call “words” of the language, and that (ii) larger expressions are just sequences of words. Both parts of this ﬁrst idea face problems. Part (i) does not look right, because many elements of the set of pronounced words seem to have parts in common. For example, the pronounced forms of the words newt and nude seem to have some sounds in common, sounds that are also shared by many other words. So there might be a shorter list of basic sounds which can cover all the sounds in all the words of the dictionary. We do not necessarily want the simplest list, though. What we want is the list of elements that people, the users of the language, actually take to be basic. So the question is not just whether there is a list of more basic elements, but whether people actually pay attention to what those parts are. It is easy 7Stabler - Linguistics 20, Winter 2011 to see that we do. This will be completely clear by the end of this chapter and the next, but just to start with, we can see that speakers of English actually pay attention to the individual sounds by noticing that the plural of newt is formed by adding an s sound, while the plural of nude is formed by adding a z sound. We can see that this is not accidental in two ways. First, we can see that other “regular” plurals fall into a pattern with these cases: pluralize with z pluralize with s load loot mood moat code coat mode mote road root food foot Second, if we make up new words that speakers have never used before, we can predict that these will alsofall into the samepattern. Forexample, if I saythata badidea shouldbe called a “crod”, and then I ask you what 2 bad ideas would be called, I can predict that you will say “2 crods”, pronouncing that plural with a z sound. But if I did the same thing with “crot”, I would predict that you would pluralize with an s. This shows that English speakers are not taking the words as indivisible units, but are noticing the individual sounds in them. We are not consciously aware of this classiﬁcation of sounds, but it is implicit in the way we use the language. Our implicit pluralization strategy shows that the list of basic elements of English (and other spoken languages) are individual sounds like s and z and t and d. Part (ii) of the ﬁrst basic idea about the language faces a problem too. It is not true that we make expressions of the language just by putting words in a sequence. The sequence “the dog barks” is a good expression of English, something you might say, but the sequence “barks dog the” is not. The latter sequence is not an intelligible expressionof the same sortas the former one, and so if we are going to describe how the intelligible expressions are formed from words, the story is going to be more complicated than it is for decimal numerals. Before working on this problem, let’s go back to the ﬁrst one and consider what the basic speech sounds are. 2.1 Speech sounds If youaska physicist, soundsarevibrationsin the air(i.e. variationsinairpressure)produced invariouswaysbyourvocalapparatus,perceivedbythevibrationoftheeardrumthatresults. Like any other sounds, speech can be plotted in a familiar visual form, with the air pressure on the vertical axis and with time on the horizontal axis. An example is shown in Figure 2.1. Time: 0.85862sec D: 0.52600 L: 0.33263 R: 0.85862 (F: 1.90) 10000 5000 0 −5000 samples0 −8.050000e+02 0.00 0.20 0.40 0.60 0.80 1.00 1.20 1.40 1.60 “t h e r e ’ s u s u a l l y a v a l v e” Fig. 2.1: “There’s usually a valve” – deviation from average air pressure vs. time 8Stabler - Linguistics 20, Winter 2011 It is very diﬃcult to recognize the speech sounds relevant to humans in this sort of repre- sentation, since there are wavesof diﬀerent frequencies and amplitudes caused by the diﬀerent aspects of articulation. We get a slightly more readable representation of the same data in a spectrograph, as in Figure 2.2. Here we plot frequency on the vertical axis, with time on the horizontal axis, with the magnitude of the departure from average air pressure (amplitude) indicated by shading, increasing from light gray to dark grey to black to white. The white bands of high amplitude are called formants. In both graphs, I have put two lines around the sound of the word usually. Time: 0.8595 Freq: 4000.00 Value: 72 D: 0.52600 L: 0.33263 R: 0.85862 (F: 1.90) 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Fig. 2.2: frequency vs. time, amplitude indicated by shading Evenin spectrograms,it is diﬃcult to see the linguistically signiﬁcantdistinctions, but one thing is obvious: word boundaries do not stand out There is no silence between words, or any other obvious mark. This is no surprise to anyone who has listened to the speech of a language they do not know: you cannot tell where one word ends and the next begins. In fact, this is highly context dependent even when you are ﬂuent in the language, as we see in (nearly) homophonous pairs of English expressions: (1) a. The good can decay many ways b. The good candy came anyways (2) a. The stuﬀy nose can lead to problems b. The stuﬀ he knows can lead to problems (3) a. Gladly the cross I’d bear b. Gladly the cross-eyed bear (4) a. I scream b. Ice cream (5) a. Was he the bear? b. Wuzzy the bear? So although we hear individual words, they are diﬃcult to detect in our graphs. We also hear various things as the same sound, even when they are quite diﬀerent acoustically. For one thing, absolute pitch is represented in our graph, and we can hear it, but it makes no diﬀerence to the speech sounds. Also, changing the rate of speech will of course change the acoustic representation and be perceived, even when the speech sounds are the same. 9Stabler - Linguistics 20, Winter 2011 More interesting mismatches between the acoustic representation and our perception are found when you look into them more carefully. A typical i sound has formants at 280 cps 1 (cycles per second), 2250 cps and 2890 cps (Ladefoged, 1993). We can see this sound in the spectrogram shown above, sliding by quickly as the ﬁnal vowel of usually, between 0.80 and 0.86 on the horizontal (time) scale. (Check for yourself) The acoustic properties of vowels vary from one speaker to another, though. Ladefoged & Broadbent (1957), and many other studies, have shown that our perception of vowels is actually adjusted to the voice we are hearing, so that the very sounds we hear as bet in the contextof one voice may be perceived as bit in the context of another voice. The acoustic properties of consonants, on the other hand, varymuchmoredramaticallyevenforagivenspeaker, dependingonthe contextinwhichthey are spoken. If you cut the ﬁrst consonant sound out of pi (pea) and splice it onto a (ah), the resulting sound is not pa but ka (Schatz, 1954; Liberman et al., 1967). In consonant sounds, we are very sensitive to the brief changes in formants. Some sounds that you might think would be simple, are not. In any case, it is diﬃcult to begin our linguistic theory with the representations of sounds suggested by work in physics. What we want to do is to classify speech sounds in the way 2 that speakers of the language automatically do in their ﬂuent use of the language. As a ﬁrst approximation, we begin with a classiﬁcation of sounds based on how the sounds are articulated and how they sound to our remarkably sensitive and complex auditory sense. At some level, this classiﬁcation should correspond to one based on standard physics, but not in any simple way 2.2 Articulation and transcription The basic structure of the human vocal tract is shown in Figure 2.3. We list the basic sounds of ‘standard’ American English, classifying them roughly according to the manner of their production. X-raysof the mouth inactionshow that our intuitions about tongue positions are really not very good, and the traditional classiﬁcation scheme presented here is based largely on perceived sound quality, i.e. on more or less subtle acoustic properties of the sounds. Many sounds can be made using these parts of the mouth and throat. vowels can be formed by vibrating the vocal chords with the tongue in various positions, and consonantscan beproducedbystoppingoraﬀricatingthesound. Writingsystemsaresometimesclassiﬁedinto phonetic, syllabic, or morphemic, with English classiﬁed as phonemic, Japanese katakana as syllabic, and Chinese as morphemic, but anyone who knows these writing systems will realize that the names of these classiﬁcations do not match the real complexities of these systems. It would be wonderful to have an universal alphabet that was truly phonetic, with one 1 These pitches are all fairly high, as is no surprise considering the small size of the parts of the vocal tract whose resonance gives rise to these formants. For reference: middle C is 221.63 cps; the highest C on a piano keyboard is 4186 cps. So the main formants of i are at frequencies higher than the pitch of the ﬁrst partial of any normal speech. The fact that many diﬀerent frequencies are present at once also explains how singing, and the intonation we use in questions, etc. is possible: we can vary the fundamental frequency of our acoustic signals (produced by the vibration of the vocal chords) preserving the basic formant structures of the speech sounds (produced by the ﬁltering, resonance eﬀects of the shaping of the vocal tract). 2 The text says onp483 “By basicsounds wemean the minimumnumber of soundsneeded to represent each word in a language diﬀerently from all other words, in a way that corresponds to what native speakers think are the same sounds in diﬀerent words.” This is not quite right, because two diﬀerent words can sound exactly the same: “are” is both a form of the verb be and also a unit of area; “bank” is both a ﬁnancial institution and the edge of a river; “nose” is something on your face, but “knows” is a verb. These diﬀerent words can be pronounced exactly the same, so we really do not want to represent each word “diﬀerently from all other words.” What we want is to identify the classiﬁcation of sounds that speakers of the language implicitly use. 10Stabler - Linguistics 20, Winter 2011 palate velar region nasal cavity alveolar ridge lips (labial region) teeth (dental region) tongue body tongue root glottis Fig. 2.3: Places of articulation for consonants symbol for each sound that is used in any human language. This would make it possible to pronounce a sentence in any language just by reading it. This is not quite possible, but the International Phonetic Alphabet comes close. We display it here, and then go through the parts of the alphabet that get used in “standard” American English. (An interactive version is linked to the web page.) 11Stabler - Linguistics 20, Winter 2011 We mark some additional distinctions with these little accents, “diacritics”: Diacritics And some further informations about pauses, syllables, etc., “suprasegmentals”, can also be marked: Suprasegmentals Rather than goingthrougheverything inthese charts, let’s just explorethe parts that we need for rough transcriptions of standard English. 12Stabler - Linguistics 20, Winter 2011 Stop, fricative and aﬀricate consonants: manner voice place 1. p spit plosive stop −voice labial h 1a. p pit plosive stop −voice labial 2. b bit plosive stop +voice labial 6. t stuck plosive stop −voice alveolar h 6a. t tick plosive stop −voice alveolar 20. k skip plosive stop −voice velar h 20a. k keep plosive stop −voice velar 7. d dip plosive stop +voice alveolar 21. g get plosive stop +voice velar P but ’n (button) glottal stop −voice glottal 3. m moat nasal stop +voice labial 8. n note nasal stop +voice alveolar 22. 8 sing nasal stop +voice velar 4. f fit fricative −voice labiodental 5. v vat fricative +voice labiodental 10. T thick fricative −voice interdental 11. k though fricative +voice interdental 12. s sip fricative −voice alveolar 13. z zap fricative +voice alveolar 14. S ship fricative −voice alveopalatal 15. Z azure fricative +voice alveopalatal 24. h hat fricative −voice glottal The stops (plosive and nasal) momentarily block the airﬂow through the mouth. They are sometimes calles -continuant The vowels, fricatives, glides, and liquids arecontinuants, +continuant, because they do not block airﬂow through the mouth. The nasals n m8 are produced by lowering the velum to force the air through the nose. The fricatives s S f z v T k h Z do not quite block airﬂow, but constrict air passage enough to generate an audible turbulence. The aﬀricates Ù Ã are represented as sound combinations: very brief stops followed by fricatives. 13
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