Components of Language



·                 sound types: vowels, semivowels, nasals, stops

·                 vocal tract: lips, tongue height, points of articulation

·                 spectra: formants, gaps, transitional effects


Phonological Context

·                 indefinite/implausible/illogical/irregular

·                 also: cat/s/, dog/z/, fox/iz/, drop/t/, rub/d/, add/id/

·                 s, g and t in sign/design/designate/signature

·                 /s/ ® /sh/ : racial, spatial, erasure;  also: seizure, gradual

·       short stressed antepenult: natural, definitive, provocative


Orthography (spelling)

·                 doubled consonants : rubbing, hidden, bagged, crystallize

·                 final y --> i / C_V : marriage, reliable, crazier, denied, vilify

·                 final e --> / _V : realization, storage, whiten, privatize, seizure



·                 affixes: prefix, suffix, others, possibly multiple (Swahili)

·                 inflectional

·                 derivational: lighten, lightness, demonize, worker, usually



·                 specifying all and only the sentences of a language

·                 what is in touch (-tax) with (syn-) what

·                 word-order, grouping and CFGs

·                 case and free word-order

·                 features and agreement: case, gender, number, person

·                 major/open categories and their phrases

·                 complement structures and subcategorization

·                 X-bar: modifiers, complements, specifiers

·                 empty nodes

·                 long-distance dependencies

·                 function words



·                 lookup and combine

·                 lexical ambiguity

·                 synonyms, antonyms, hyponyms

·                 type hierarchies for nouns and verbs

·                 modification

·                 predicates and arguments

·                 compositionality and piggybacking on syntax

·                 quantification, negation and scope

·                 lambda notation



·                 anaphoric reference across sentences

·                 topic structure

·                 rhetorical structure: relations among sentences

·                 grounding, turn-taking



·                 maxims: true, relevant, clear, just enough

·                 indirectness: do you know the time?  it’s cold in here.

·                 style/register

·                 speech acts:  I… order you to,  promise to,  second it