بحث با Marten و Inge: دنیای کلمات

 
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Hi. In the previous video, I introduced you
to the world of words, and I've shown how words are a very fundamental concept
in understanding human language. And that's because all
languages seem to have words. They seem to form words, and those words
are then put together into sentences. Now, even though this is something
fundamental to all languages, languages can also differ. And we've made a typology of languages. A typology consisting of four types. Namely isolating, fusional, agglutinative, and polysynthetic languages. I am going to discuss the world of
words more now with my students, Inge and Marten. >> Okay.
So, I'll ask the first question, because I was wondering, if you look at all these languages
they form words in different ways. But do some languages, then have more
words than others in the end? >> Yeah. Well, which language, kind of language would you think
has more words than others? I would say that polysynthetic
languages have more words maybe, because they can combine different
parts of words in different ways, and then you have more results in the end. Right, so in a polysynthetic language you can say,
I eat chicken. And that's one word. >> Mm-hm. >> Okay.
In another kind of language you don't typically have that word, so
that would be already one word more, in the polysynthetic language. Now, you can also say,
I eat bacon, I eat rice, and I eat all these different kinds of things. That gives you many more words. That's what you could think, and I think it makes sense to think that. The problem is if you would really want
to be serious about, you know, comparing languages in how many words they have,
you would have to count them. >> Mm-hm.
>> You would have to count the number of words in a language, but in all of these
languages the point about whole typology is that these languages
have ways of forming new words. So it means you never stop counting. You count. At some point when you think
you can stop counting, there's your word formation rules. And they can add new
words to the language. Okay, you count those more, but there's
always going to be your word formation rules, which gives you more
opportunities of creating new words. So although, indeed,
it feels like it makes sense to think that polysynthetic languages have more
words, you cannot make this very precise. Furthermore, there would be
one class of languages for which this would not be true. This would be the isolating languages. All right, so isolating languages don't
have ways of forming new words, typically. But there's two things to adapt. In the first place, a language can still borrow words
from another language, like internet. And in the second place, truly isolating
languages, in this sense, don't exist. They can always create new words, for
instance, by putting together two words. So Chinese can borrow the word for
internet. And then it can make,
still make a word for internet provider by putting together
two words to make a new word. So, even in such a language you cannot
really count the total number of words. >> Okay, so the total number of
words is infinite you could say? But if you look at this
from another perspective. So if now looks at counting
words in this way, but if you look at it from
the perspective concepts I can imagine that different languages
have maybe different concepts. One language could have a concept for
internet or computer. And the other maybe
doesn't have that concept, so they also wouldn't have that word. Or could you then say,
that for example, English, which has those concepts maybe,
has more words than other languages? >> Right.
So, indeed. So that's what you could think. So if you take this concept of a language
seriously, and we say English, with its hundreds of millions,
maybe even billions, of speakers. All of them having different interests,
being interested in different topics, being able to talk about
those different interests, or some people are interested in technology,
like Internet, can talk about that. Other people are interested in fishing,
and can talk about that. So, they will have words for
all of those different things. Whereas, speakers of a language well,
if they, if you take a language of 100 speakers, well, they will have only so
many interests, and they will not have words for
things which they are not interested in. So, that would be another way of counting, would
give you another kind of classification. The problem is something that we
have seen in a previous module, namely these languages themselves
are very difficult to pinpoint, to give boundaries to. So are we talking about English? Or are we talking about American English? Or are we talking Philadelphia English? Or are we talking about
the language of an individual? And the latter might be the only
one where you can really count. So, how many words does
an individual know? But at that point then, the speaker
of English will not know all words of English, because they will not
be interested in fishing, so will not know the words which
are related to fishing. So, and there's no reason to think that
a speaker of English will know more words than the speaker of a language
with only 100 speakers. >> Okay. >> So, I was, I have a sort of
different question because I was learning a new language, Catalan, but
of course, I wasn't reading a dictionary. But I was listening to it on the radio so
that I can get a feel for it. But my problem was that I really couldn't
tell where the word boundaries were. >> So, I really don't, I,
based on hearing alone, I couldn't determine if it was an
isolating or an agglutinative language. And, of course, I had a course book. But I was wondering,
if you listen to a new language, how do you know where
the word boundaries are? >> Yeah. Well, I think,
that's a very good question. I have that experience myself. You try to learn a new language. >> One of the things which is most
difficult in the beginning is listening. You listen to it,
you just hear blah blah blah, you don't hear any kind of word boundary. These blah blah blah,
it's not supposed to be Catalan, but some kind of language
which you don't know. You don't hear where
the individual words are. I'm sure that you,
once you have learned a new language, you have this experience
that in the beginning you just hear people speak you have no
idea where the word boundaries are. And the reason is it's really also
not clear and the reason for that is we don't speak with
word boundaries. When I speak I don't put spaces like when I write,
I _ don't _ put _ spaces. I don't put spaces. I put everything together. If you take the signal of what I say, you put it in the computer,
you see one signal. There's not, there's no
empty space in-between. There's no silence in-between two words. So, you learn this only by experience,
by being exposed to it enough. You have your course book that helps so
you can see the individual words, if you've seen them often enough
maybe then you learn how to >> Yeah. >> distinguish words, so don't worry. >> Okay, thanks. But, so I have a course book but there's of course a situation where you
learn a language without a course book and that's when you're learning
your first language as a child. So, I was wondering how children
learn these word boundaries. >> Yeah. Right.
So, right. So, now we have somebody who
doesn't have a course book. A child actually doesn't
know what to expect, right? How, so the child somehow
must know that there are, she has to distinguish
words to begin with. And they do so. Well, there's various factors involved,
can you think of anything? >> So the first thing that I
thought was that parents will just repeat single words. So especially in the beginning they say, say Mamma, Mamma,
>> Right. >> Mamma and then at some point
the childs gets annoyed as a human. >> [LAUGH]
>> Then just says, Mamma. And that of course works with
other words like potato. >> Right, yeah, well that,
it might be one factor, so that would be the first,
our first factor. So, it probably does play a role. It's also known that mothers, or
caretakers, they speak slightly differently to
their children than to other people. Say like that. So, that means you make
certain things more precise. Okay, so that's one factor and you may even make the word boundaries
more precise or as you say, you say every word individually,
that would be the first factor. So caretakers will take care that you
also hear individual words sometime. >> Yeah. >> Given that, once you know that
you can actually use that for maybe something which would be a second
factor, which is now I know the word potato because my father says potato
to me all the time so, and then I hear somebody say "I eat potato", well I
recognize this particular thing there. Same potato, and now I know that "I eat" must be some
kind of activity related to potato. Then hear somebody say, "I eat rice." Okay, now I discover that "I eat", I know,
I don't maybe know exactly what it means. But at least this same,
this activity related to food. So rice must be another word. That could be a second
kind of factor there. Probably already more important
than the first factor because most words definitely
you don't hear like this. It's actually very unlikely that you
hear more than just a few hundred words. Like this. In the end you will know
tens of thousands of words. The third factor is just that you
will recognize statistically that certain sounds go together very often. So you listen to these sounds and
certain things go together very often. I eat rice. Well, in "I eat rice" there's "eat rice." Those things go together. But they don't go together
all that often as "rice" does. So in this way, by doing this kind of
analysis, so that must mean, if this is true, it must mean that children do
this kind of counting in their head. And if they do they can
discover what are words in this kind of stream of sounds
which they hear all around them. In summary, we've seen that languages
seem to differ in the number of words they have, but at the end of
the day we cannot really count the number of words in any language and therefore
we cannot really make that comparison. We have also seen that
it's difficult to see or hear exactly what the words
in a language are. But there's various tricks,
which you as a second language learner, or a baby, as a first language learner, can use to determine what
the words in her language are. In the next video we're going to
put words together in sentences.

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