The "Guts" of Language


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The "Guts" of Language

There are Five Levels of Linguistic Rules to be learned and applied to go from Deep Structure to Surface Structure.

The Phoneme is the smallest unit of a language that can change meaning.

A Phoneme is really a bundle of sounds called Allophones

Babies must separate the phonemes from the allophones.

Babies do not hear the phonemes of a language, but they do hear the building blocks of the phonemes of all languages.

Babies should be stimulated in more than one language to keep neural connections alive.

The Morpheme is the smallest unit of a language that can carry meaning.

A Bound Morpheme has meaning only when it is attached to a Free Morpheme.

Allomorphs are a group of Bound Morphemes that all do the same thing, like signifying two or more objects.

Bound Morphemes are used to express the Past Tense in English.

The Past Tense has many Allomorphs in English.

Bound Morphemes are used to signify Possession and include many Allomorphs.

Bound Morphemes are used to change the function of some words and to identify the function of some others.

Morphemes are used to analyze the development of language via the Mean Length of Utterance (MLU).

Roger Brown described Five Stages of Language Development based on the Mean Length of Utterance (MLU)

Semantic Roles provide a framework in Stage 1; and Phrase Structure, Inflections and Prepositions appear in Stage 2.

Sentences with Simple Transformations are in Stage 3; while Embedded Sentences and Relative Clauses appear in Stage 4.

Stage 5 brings Coordinated Conjoined Sentences and Propositional Relations.

Syntax is a human convention not found in the Symbolic Communication of the Apes.

The fact that all known Languages employ syntax is used to support the genetic origins of Language Development.

We use Syntactic Rules without being able to articulate what those rules are.

A three word sentence can demonstrate a wealth of linguistic competence.

Grammar includes Syntax (rules of sentence structure) and Transformations (the rules to change that structure).

The Structure of Analytic Languages, like English, puts emphasis on Word Order, an Auxiliary System and Prepositional Phrases

Deep Structure in English divides the thought into Two Constituents: the Noun Phrase the the Verb Phrase.

The Noun Phrase and the Verb Phrase also break down into their Constituents, which provide a template for word order.

Surface structure, the final sentence, reflects the word order dictated through the hierarchy of constituents.

There are many and varied routes from Deep Structure to Surface Structure.

All English Sentences can be reduced to five Kernel Sentences.

The Verb "To BE," is in itself, a Special Class of Verbs in English called the COPULA.

Transformational Rules change the basic structure of the Kernel Sentences in English

The Yes/No Question Transformation Adds a Modal to the sentence and Moves it to the front.

A simple three word question like, "Do I go," demonstrates Four Transformational rules.

The Auxiliary System in English is a major player in some important Transformations.

The Bound Morpheme "ing" is a Marker that identifies "to be" as an Progressive Aspect Auxiliary and NOT a Verb.

The Modal word "will" is used to express future events and must be in the proper sequence if other auxiliaries are used.

There are many kinds of Modals, and very many more important Transformations to be learned.

The Indirect Object Transformation is complicated because is contradicts the Proximal Rule in English.

Children understand the Indirect Object Transformation as early as five years.

The next topic will be the Rules of Semantics, which relate the units of linguistic expression to the real world.

Author: Ed Hall