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Wetenschapsfilosofie Engels W3 Cheat Sheet by

Wetenschapsfilosofie Week 3/4

Principles of Labov (1975)

Principles for determ­ining when informal elicit­ation is not enough.

Cons­ensus Princi­ple: If there is no reason to think otherwise, assume that the judgments of any native speaker are charac­ter­istic of all speakers.
Expe­rim­enter Princi­ple: If there is any disagr­eement on intros­pective judgments, the judgments of those who are familiar with the theore­tical issues may not be counted as evidence.
Clear Case Princi­ple: Disputed judgments should be shown to include at least one consistent pattern in the speech community or be abandoned. If differing judgments are said to represent different dialects, enough invest­igation of each dialect should be carried out to show that each judgment is a clear case in that dialect.

Corpus data

- to identify and organize a repres­ent­ative sample of a written and/or spoken variety from which charac­ter­istics of the entire variety or genre can be induced.
- conc­ord­ances of word usage: a state in which things agree and do not conflict with each other
- primary method of data collection before other methods
Are corpora too limited? How repres­ent­ative can a corpus ever be?

- Corpus cleani­ng: automatic or manual removal of numerical tables, typogr­aphical slips, spelling mistakes, etc.
- Corpus annota­tion: permit certain kinds of analysis and grammar testing ➝
- part­-of­-speech tagging
The_A­RTICLE boy_NOUN went_VERB home_A­DVERB.
- lemm­ati­zat­ion
going_GO, went_GO, goes_GO, gone_GO
- pars­ing: encoding trees repres­enting underlying structure
- sema­nti­c/p­rag­matic annota­tions


According to Whorf, the grammar of a language (rather than the lexicon) cuts up and organizes nature for its speakers.

Strong Sapir–­Whorf hypoth­esis: language dete­rmi­nes thought and that linguistic categories limit and determine cognitive categories
Weak Sapir–­Whorf hypoth­esis: linguistic categories and usage infl­uence thought and certain kinds of non-li­ngu­istic behaviour.

Phen­oty­pes: overt gramma­tical categories typically indicated by morphemic markers
Cryp­tot­ypes: covert gramma­tical catego­ries, marked only implicitly by distri­but­ional patterns in a language that are not immedi­ately apparent.

➝ language must be used in order to think
➝ the only structure and logic that thought has is gramma­tical structure
➝ linguistic structure is comprised, in part, of distri­but­ional patterns in language use that are not explicitly marked

Weak vs. Strong Whorfi­anism

Medi­um-­str­ength version: language could affect certain aspects of our cognitive functi­oning without making certain thoughts unthin­kable for us

Weak versions are viewed as trivial:
• generally accepted as true
• cannot be adequately formulated to develop testable hypotheses
Strong versions are viewed as implau­sib­le:
• It would mean that there are thoughts that a person couldn’t think because of the langua­ge(s) they speak
• It would mean mean that the content of any claim based on this would not be able to be expressed in any language it is true of

Testing Whorfi­anism

Problems with Whorfian studies:
• most have not adequately utilized both the relevant linguistic and psycho­logical research;
• most have focused on optional rather than obligatory linguistic features;
• most have not stated hypotheses in a clear, testable way, and
• most have not ruled out relevant competing Slobin­-like hypotheses

Dan Slobin (1996): when speakers are using their cognitive abilities in the service of a linguistic ability (speaking, writing, transl­ating, etc.), the language they are planning to use to express their thought will have a temporary online effect on how they express their thought. As long as language users are thinking in order to frame their speech or writing or transl­ation in some language, the mandatory features of that language will influence the way they think.

Language Acquis­ition

Child language acquis­ition came to prominence because of Essent­ialist work in the 1970s and 1980s. All three approaches agree that some unlearned capacities are necessary to learn language.

General nativi­sm:
• inductive reasoning (“bott­om-up” logic): coming to a conclusion based on your experi­ence, observ­ations, and knowledge up to that point.
• defeas­ible: modifying a conclusion when/if presented with confli­cting data

Ling­uistic nativi­sm:
• language cannot be acquired through induction; structural properties must be largely unlearned
• the acquis­ition of languages makes use of unlearned capacities that are non-la­nguage specific.
➝ non-li­ngu­istic dispos­itions and mechanisms
➝ general cognitive and perceptual capacities
➝ language draws on an unlearned system of Universal Grammar

General Nativism

- Languages are acquired mainly through the exercise of defeasible inductive methods, based on experience of linguistic commun­ication
- The unlearned capacities that underpin language acquis­ition constitute a uniquely human complex of non-li­ngu­istic dispos­itions and mechanisms that also subserve other cognitive functions
- Various non-human animal species may well have most or all of the capacities that humans use for language acquis­iti­on—­though no non-human species seems to have the whole package, so inters­pecies differ­ences are a matter of degree

Linguistic Nativism

- Language cannot be acquired by defeasible inductive methods; its structural principles must to a very large degree be unlearned
- In addition to various broadly langua­ge-­rel­evant cognitive and perceptual capaci­ties, language acquis­ition draws on an unlearned system of ‘universal grammar’ that constrains language form
- There is a special component of the human mind which has the develo­pment of language as its key function, and no non-human species has anything of the sort, so there is a difference in kind between the abilities of humans and other animals

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