ABBEVILLIAN: Earliest Palaeolithic culture in Europe characterised especially by crudely chipped stone hand-axes.
ABSTRACT: Having no reference to material objects or specific examples; naming a quality, state or action rather than a thing; not concrete.
ACHEULIAN: A Lower Palaeolithic culture characterised by two-faced tools with round cutting edges and, in Europe, falling between the Abbevillian and Mousterian periods (in Europe) represented by the use of soft hammerstones in hand-axe production; (in Africa) the period represented by every stage of hand-axe development.
AGRAMMATISM: Language deficit seen as a result of brain lesions, typically Broca's aphasia. Patients essentially asyntactic, use function words infrequently and inappropriately, inflections lost. Speech consists of short, halting phrases consisting almost entirely of concrete nouns and specific verbs.
AGREEMENT: Corresponding in grammatical gender, number, case or person; being of one mind; sharing the same opinion; an arrangement as to a course of action.
ALLOPHONE: Any of several speech sounds regarded as variants of the same phoneme.
ANALOGY: Agreement or similarity, especially in a limited number of instances; a comparison made to show such a similarity resemblance in some particulars; correspondence in function between anatomical parts of different structure and origin.
ANAPHORA: Use of a grammatical form (e.g., a pronoun) to refer to a preceding word or group of words [refer back].
ANTHROPOMORPHISM: Ascribing of human behaviour, form, etc. to what is not human.
APE: Any of a family of large semi-erect primates (e.g., the chimpanzee or gorilla)--called also the anthropoid ape.
APHASIA: Total or partial loss of the ability to use words.
ARBITRARINESS: Based on random or convenient selection or choice rather than reason founded on or subject to personal whims, preferences, etc.
ARTICULATION: Act or process of speaking or expressing in words; the process of articulating a speech sound.
ASSOCIATION: A mental connection of ideas, feelings or sensations; something linked in memory, thought or imagination with a thing or person; a connotation; the process of forming mental connections or bonds between sensations, ideas, memories, etc.
AURIGNACIAN: A flint culture of the late Palaeolithic period in the development of the human race, characterised by finely made artefacts of stone and bone, cave paintings, and engravings.
AUSTRALOPITHECINE: Extinct S. African hominids (especially genus Australopithecus) with near-human dentition and a relatively small brain. Fossils found in South and East Africa. Lived between 5 and 1.5 million years ago. Walked upright, did not have an extensive muzzle, and had similar types of premolars to modern humans. Examples found at Taung, Olduvai and Hadar.
BELIEF: Conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being, thing, or phenomenon, especially without conclusive proof.
BROCA'S AREA: Well-defined area in the brain (posterior third of the inferior frontal gyrus). Usually in the left (language) hemisphere. Lesions in this area tend to affect production of grammatical language, rather than language comprehension. Contrasted with Wernicke's area.
CANONICAL: Conforming to a general or accepted rule.
CATEGORICAL DISCRIMINATION: Particularly of speech sounds. Perception of speech sounds as, e.g., /b/ or /p/ and not any intermediate sound between /b/ and /p/.
CATEGORICAL PERCEPTION: Perception in terms of distinct categories, e.g., blue, red, yellow.
CATEGORY: Division within a system of classification; a general logical class to which a predicate or that which it predicates belongs. Class or group of things, people, etc. possessing some quality or qualities in common.
CEREBRAL REORGANISATION: Or brain reorganisation, quantitative changes in the various neural systems of the brain and their integrated interactions; changes in the connectivity of the brain and particularly in the connection between distinct functions, such as motor control, perception and language. Emphasis is placed on changes in internal structure rather than on gross morphology or brain size.
CLADISTICS: A method of grouping animals by measurable likenesses or homologues; a system for describing the relationship between types of organism based on the assumption that their sharing of a unique characteristic (e.g., mammary glands of mammals) possessed by no other organisms indicates their common descent from a single common ancestor.
CLASS: Collection or division of persons or things; a common characteristic; (Math.) another name for set; a group, set, or kind sharing common attributes.
CLICKS: Stop consonants produced by blocking the vocal tract at two points, sucking the air from between the two blocks and then re-opening the tract.
COGNITION: Mental act or process by which knowledge is acquired, including perception, intuition and reasoning; the knowledge that results from such an act or process. The act or process of knowing that involves the processing of sensory information and includes perception, awareness and judgment; also a product of this act.
COGNITIVE MAP: The existence in the nervous system of patternings having a topological or other orderly relation to features of the external world.
COMMON: Belonging to, shared or used by two or more individuals or by all members of a group.
COMMUNICATION: Process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behaviour; transmission of information, thought or feeling so that it is satisfactorily received or understood; the imparting or exchange of information, ideas or feelings; imparting knowledge or exchanging thoughts by speech, writing, gestures, etc.
COMPARATIVE: Examining in order to observe resemblances or differences characterised by the systematic comparison of phenomena, e.g., comparative linguistics.
CONCEPT: Idea, especially an abstract idea a general idea that corresponds to some class of entities and consists of the essential features of the class. Important topics: Concept Formation, Conceptual Networks, Conceptual Structure, Fuzzy Concepts.
CONCRETE: Naming a thing rather than a quality, state or action, not abstract; characterised by belonging to immediate experience of actual things or events relating to a particular instance; specific as opposed to general; relating to things capable of being perceived by the senses, as opposed to abstractions.
CONNECTIONIST: See NEURAL NET.
CONSCIOUS: Aware of one's surroundings, one's own motivations and thoughts, etc.; denoting a part of the human mind that is aware of one's self, environment and mental activity and that to a certain extent determines ones choices of action.
CONTEXT: Circumstances that are relevant to an event, fact, etc.; the parts of a piece of writing, speech, etc. that precede or follow a word or passage and contribute to its full meaning; the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs; the environment.
CONVENTIONAL: By agreement or contract; by an accepted rule, usage, etc.; by a generally agreed principle or practice.
CORRESPOND: To be consistent or compatible with; to be similar in character or function to be in conformity or agreement, suit; to be equivalent or parallel.
CREOLE: Language based on two or more languages that serves as the native language of its speakers, especially in the Caribbean area; a language that has its origin in extended contact between two language communities, one of which is European.
CRITICAL PERIOD (SENSITIVE PERIOD): Time during which in a developing organism (kitten, young infant) the nervous system is ready, if given a suitable input, to develop a program provided by its inherited capacity, for instance for vision or language.
CROSS-MODAL: In the central nervous system, activity that links together neural systems concerned with different modalities, e.g., linking perception of colour and perception of musical sounds.
CULTURE: Pattern of human behaviour and its products that includes thought, speech, action, institutions, and artefacts and that is taught to or adopted by successive generations; the total of the inherited ideas, beliefs, values, and knowledge, which constitute the shared bases of social action.
DEFINITION: A formal and concise statement of the meaning of a word, phrase, etc.; specification of the essential properties of something a word or phrase expressing the essential nature of a person or thing; also a statement of the meaning of a word or phrase; the state or condition of being definite and clear; distinctness of outline or detail.
DEIXIS: denoting a word whose reference is determined by the context of its utterance-the word "here" is a deictic. Showing or pointing out directly.
DEMONSTRATIVE: Pointing out the one referred to and distinguishing it from others of the same class denoting or belonging to the class of determiners used to point out the individual referent or referents intended, such as "this" and "those".
DIACHRONIC: Dealing with the historical development of phenomena, especially of language; of the study of the development of a phenomenon through time.
DISTINCTIVE: Showing, making or recognising a difference between or among; differentiating (between); serving to distinguish; perceived as being separate or different.
DUAL ARTICULATION: Often identified (confused) with DUALITY OF PATTERNING. Refers to articulation at the phonemic level and at the word level, the assumption being that individual speech-sounds are without meaning and in combination form words which have meaning.
DUALITY OF PATTERNING: Language is patterned at the level of syntax; words are strung together following the rules of any given language. The second level of patterning is at the word (morpheme) level: speech sounds are concatenated to form the elements in the lexicon of the language.
EME: As suffix, significantly distinctive unit of a specified feature of language structure (modelled on phon-eme). A minimal distinctive unit of a specified type in a language: sememe, taxeme, lexeme, morpheme, phoneme.
ENDOCAST: Cast prepared using cranium (particularly of fossil skulls) as the mould. May display significant aspects of external morphology as well as indicate the size of the brain.
EPIGENETIC: Referring to development of an organism by gradual production and organisation of its different parts from a single undifferentiated, fertilised egg. Referring to influences on cell development that arise from factors other than genetic instructions.
ERGATIVE: Syntactic form where a sentence is structured in terms of the agent (marked, e.g., by a case inflection) rather than in terms of the subject.
ESSENCE: Real or ultimate nature of an individual being or thing, especially as opposed to its existence or its accidental qualities; the properties or attributes by means of which something can be categorised or identified; fundamental nature; the unchanging and unchangeable inward nature of something.
ETHNOLOGY: Science (branch of anthropology) that deals with races and peoples and their origin, distribution, relations and characteristics; the comparative and analytical study of cultures.
ETHOLOGY: Study of the behaviour of animals in their normal environment.
EVOLUTION: Process of change or development, especially from a lower or simpler state to a higher or more complex state; the historical development of a biological group; phylogeny; a theory that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to Natural Selection of variations that arise (e.g., by mutation) in successive generations; a gradual change in the characteristics of a population of animals or plants over successive generations; a gradual development, especially to a more complex form.
EXPERIENCE: Direct participation in, observation of, or acquaintance with events; also the knowledge, skill or practice derived from such experience; the sum total of events that make up an individual life or the past of a community, nation, or humans generally; the totality of one's perceptions and understanding of the material world and psychic phenomena as gained through one's senses; also the facts or events so perceived or understood.
EXPRESSION: Act or an instance of transforming ideas into words; the choice of words, intonation, etc. in communicating.
FACT: A thing done; the quality of having actual existence in the real world; a piece of information presented as having objective reality; an event or thing known to have happened or existed; a truth verifiable from experience or observation.
FEATURE: Prominent or distinctive part of characteristic, particularly Distinctive Features used in sub-analysis of speech sounds.
FITNESS: Property of being adapted or suited to an end or purpose; adapted to the environment so as to be capable of surviving; a measure of the ability of an organism to survive and reproduce in a particular environment. Fitness is measured in terms of the numbers of descendants left by an individual in succeeding generations; it incorporates measures of fecundity and viability.
FORMANT: Any of the constituents of a sound, especially a vowel sound, that impart to the sound its own special quality, tone colour, or timbre resonance of the vocal tract; a characteristic component of the quality of a sound, especially a speech sound; specifically any of several bands in which the frequencies subsidiary to the main frequency of a vowel sound are at their strongest and that differentiate the sound of one vowel from that of another.
GENE: Unit of heredity composed of DNA occupying a fixed position on a chromosome and transmitted from parent to offspring during reproduction; a unit of inheritance, carried on a chromosome, that consists of a molecule of DNA, or sometimes RNA, is transmitted from parent to offspring, and that controls the passing on of hereditary characteristics either by specifying the structure of a particular protein or by controlling the function of other genetic material; length of DNA required to code for the production of one protein molecule. The integrated expression of several genes may be necessary for the development of a particular physical characteristic.
GENERATIVE GRAMMAR: Theory which holds that language should be analysed in terms of formal processes of sentence generation. The grammar consists of a system of rules which operates upon a set of grammatical elements and defines a subset of possible combinations as grammatically well-formed. Usually, but not necessarily, the rules govern the transformations that may be made in syntactic structures.
GENOTYPE: Genetic constitution of an organism, i.e., the complement of genes actually carried on the chromosomes the inherited program of instructions that controls the development and life of an individual belonging to a particular species.
GESTALT: Structure, configuration or pattern (e.g., a melody) made up of psychological phenomena (e.g., perceptions) so integrated as to constitute a functional whole whose properties are not derivable from the sum of its parts.
GESTURE: A motion of the hands, head, or body to express or emphasise an idea, attitude or emotion.
GLOSSEME: Smallest meaningful unit of a language, such as stress, form, morpheme, intonation contour, etc.
GLOSSOGENESIS: The processes by which language(s) originated.
GLOTTOCHRONOLOGY: System developed by M. Swadesh for estimating how long ago different language and language groups diverged from one another on the basis of their shared possession of cognates drawn from items in a list of primitive or basic objects, actions and concepts.
GOVERNMENT: In traditional grammar, where the choice of one element in a sentence or clause determines the form of another element dependent on it, e.g., "He goes, They go;" "ad urbem, ex urbe."
GOVERNMENT-BINDING THEORY: Syntactic theory derived from (or replacing) transformational generative grammar. "Government" is given an extended, technical definition in the system, based on the traditional definition. "Binding" deals with the relation between personal and reflexive pronouns and the nouns, etc. to which they refer (ANAPHORA).
GRAMMAR: Branch of linguistics that deals with syntax and morphology, sometimes also phonology and semantics; the abstract system of rules in terms of which mastery of a native language can be explained; a systematic description of the grammatical facts of a language; the study of the classes of words, their inflections (variable parts) and their functions and relations in the sentence; broadly, this study when taken to include that of phonology (the sound system of a language) and sometimes of usage. Grammar is the ancient and imprecise name for the study of language and is today usually taken to include morphology and syntax but not phonetics or semantics.
HAPHAZARD: at random; marked by lack of plan, order, or direction; aimless.
HETEROCHRONY: Differential growth, modifications of the rates of action of the internal factors in successive ontogenies, and therefore in phylogeny.
HOMINID: Any primate of the family Hominidae, which includes modern humans (Homo Sapiens) and their extinct precursors.
HOMINOID: resembling or related to man; of or belonging to the primate family which includes the anthropoid apes and man.
HOMO ERECTUS: Hominid, subspecies. Lived from about 1 million years ago to about 200,000 years ago. Remains found in Africa, China, Europe, Indonesia, Heidelberg Man, Peking Man, Solo Man. Cave sites in Hungary, Vertesszolos, (cranial capacity 1450 cc., 50,0000-400,000 years old, first fire-use?), and China, Choukoutien, with evidence of fire use. Cranial capacity 800-1100 cc.
HOMO HABILIS: Hominids, separate subspecies of Homo. Fossils found of group living in East Africa between 2 million and 1.5 million years ago. Walked upright, had flat face, large braincase, made simple pebble and flake stone tools.
ICON: an image, picture, etc.; a symbol resembling or analogous to the thing it represents.
IDEA: Any product of mental activity; the thought of something; a belief, opinion; an immediate object of thought or perception; something (e.g., a thought, concept, sensation or image) actually or potentially present in the mind.
IMAGE: A representation (e.g., a statue); a mental picture of something not actually present; an impression; an idea produced by the imagination.
IMITATION: Mimicry; following as a pattern, model or example; copying.
INFORMATION: Communication or reception of facts or ideas; knowledge obtained from experience, investigation, study or instruction; something (e.g., a message, experimental data, or a picture) which justifies change in a construct (e.g., a plan or theory) that represents physical or mental experience or another construct. imparting some essential or formative characteristic to.
INNATE: A rather imprecise word which assumes that behavioural or other characteristics of a living creature must be either fully developed before birth or acquired subsequently by learning after birth; existing from birth; congenital; inborn; instinctive, not learned; of ideas present in the mind before any experience and knowable by pure reason originating in the intellect or structure of the mind rather than in perception of the external world.
INTELLIGENCE: The ability to learn, apply knowledge, or think abstractly, especially in relation to new or trying situations; the capacity for understanding; ability to perceive and comprehend meaning.
INTUITION: Knowledge or belief obtained neither by reason nor perception; instinctive knowledge or belief; knowledge gained from immediate apprehension or understanding, without evident rational thought and the drawing of conclusions from evidence available.
ISOMORPHIC: Similarity of form, as in different generations of the same life cycle; a one-to-one correspondence between the elements of two or more sets; being of identical or similar form, shape or structure; having a structure related in a uniform way to the structure of another system.
KNOW: To perceive directly, have direct cognition of; to have understanding of; to be or feel certain of the truth or accuracy of a fact, etc.
LAD: Language Acquisition Device (Chomsky).
LANGUAGE: those words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them which are used and understood by a particular people, nation, etc.; the ability to make and use audible, articulate, meaningful sounds by the action of the vocal organs; a systematic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalised signs, sounds, gestures, or marks having understood meanings; the means by which animals communicate; a system for the expression of thoughts, feelings, etc., by the use of spoken sounds or conventional symbols; the faculty for the use of such systems which is a distinguishing characteristic of humans as compared with other animals; the language of a particular nation of people; any other means of communicating, such as gesture or animal sounds.
LANGUAGE CHANGE: Subject-matter of historical linguistics.
LANGUE: Language regarded as an abstract system of elements or a set of habits common to a community of speakers (Saussure). Contrasted with PAROLE.
LARYNX: A cartilaginous and muscular organ, the modified upper part of the windpipe of air-breathing vertebrates that contains the vocal cords in human beings, most other mammals and a few other forms.
LATERALITY: Specialisation of right or left brain hemispheres, e.g., the left hemisphere for most language functions.
LEXEME: a minimal unit of the vocabulary of a language that can have independent meaning without being added to another word or word part and that cannot be understood from the meanings of component morphemes; a word.
LEXICAL: Relating to the lexicon, the set of all the morphemes of a language that is, broadly the collection of individual words which are available in the language community.
LOGOGRAM: A single letter, symbol or sign used (e.g., in shorthand) to represent an entire morpheme, word, or phrase.
LUCY: Australopithecine half-skeleton found at Hadar, Ethiopia in 1974.
MAPPING: Correspondence between two mathematical sets in which each element of one set corresponds exactly to one element of the other set. More generally, the set mapped to is a function of the set from which it is mapped. See ISOMORPHIC.
MARKED: Distinguished from the basic form (e.g., the singular) by the presence of a particular linguistic feature (e.g., /s/ indicating the plural) or, as in phonology, for example, of the two phonemes /t/ and /d/, the /d/ is marked because it exhibits the feature of voice.
MEANING: The sense or significance of a word, sentence, symbol, etc.; the import that one conveys or intends to convey, especially by language; connotation (set of properties implied by a term); denotation (reference of a term).
MESOLITHIC: Period between the Palaeolithic and the Neolithic; in Europe from about 12000 to 3000 B.C.
METAPHOR: Figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them; broadly, figurative language.
MIMICRY: Act or art of copying or imitating closely; imitating slavishly or unintelligently.
MIND: The capabilities of the organised conscious and unconscious mental processes of an organism that result in reasoning, thinking, perceiving, etc. the part of a person responsible for thought, feeling, intention, etc.
MODALITY: A category of function (vision, hearing and touch are afferent sensory modalities); more specifically, the segment of brain function concerned with a particular aspect of perception or behaviour, e.g., the speech modality.
MONKEY: Any of numerous long-tailed primates excluding lemurs, tarsiers, etc.
MONOGENESIS: Unity of origin; development from a single source (e.g., of all languages from an original language).
MORPHEME: A speech element having a meaning or grammatical function that cannot be subdivided into further such elements; a meaningful linguistic unit that contains no smaller meaningful parts and can be either a free form (e.g., pin) or a bound form, e.g., the -s of pins).
MORPHOLOGY: Study and description of wordformation in a language, including formation by adding inflections and other suffixes and prefixes and by compounding; the system of word-forming elements and processes in a language.
MOSAIC EVOLUTION: A process of evolution in which over time a number of elements which have come into existence independently come together to form a new more complicated system.
MOTOR PROGRAM: A program of the brain for producing a particular pattern of action.
MOTOR THEORY OF SPEECH PERCEPTION: Theory associated with the Haskins Laboratory, holding that there is a direct relation between the perception of speech sounds and the neuromuscular organisation responsible for the production of speech sounds.
MOULDED GESTURE: Gesture patterned on action or tool use.
MOUSTERIAN: A middle Palaeolithic culture of Europe and the Mediterranean area that is dated from before 70,000 BC to 32,000 BC and is characterised by well-made flint tools, considered to be the work of Neanderthal stone tool culture dating from about 90,000 to about 40,000 years ago.
MUTATION: A relatively permanent change in the hereditary material of an organism involving either a physical or a biochemical change in the genes or chromosomes (strands of gene-carrying material).
NAME: A word or term by which a person or thing is commonly and distinctively known; a word or phrase whose function is to designate an individual person or thing; a word or symbol used in logic.
NEANDERTAL (OR NEANDERTHAL): Prehistoric people that lived in the middle of the Palaeolithic period and are known from skeletal remains in Europe, N. Africa and W. Asia; a type of primitive person occurring throughout much of Europe in late Palaeolithic times; an extinct form of modern human, living between 100,000 and 40,000 years ago, spanning the last Ice Age. Remains are found in Europe, Asia and Middle East. Complete skeletons found at Tabun in Israel, with evidence of toolmaking and fire. Very large brains. Swanscombe Man found in England thought by some to be Neanderthal but grouped by others with the Steinheim skull in Germany as a separate subspecies. Specimens include La Chapelle-aux-Saints, Le Moustier, Kiik-Koba (Russia), Skhul (Israel).
NEOLITHIC: Last period of the Stone Age, a cultural period characterised by primitive farming and the use of polished stone and flint tools and weapons.
NEOTENY: Persistence of some larval or immature characteristics into adulthood.
NEURAL NET: Hypothetical network of inter-connected neurons forming a central feature of the connectionist approach to modelling brain functions. Idea developed from Hebbian cell assembly, as model for storing information, storing concepts, making discriminations, categorising sensory input.
NEURAL MOTOR SYSTEM: The parts of the central nervous system involved in the control of bodily movements.
NEUROMUSCULAR: Involving nerves and muscles, e.g., neuromuscular junction, synapse of a motor axon on a skeletal muscle fibre.
NEUROPHILOSOPHY: Approach to philosophy in terms of accumulated evidence of the relation between mind and brain, drawn from the neurosciences.
NEUTRAL MUTATION: An alternation in a gene which produces no immediate change in the phenotype but is transmitted to subsequent generations and makes possible an adaptive change in the form or behaviour as a response to a new environmental situation.
NOSTRATIC: A hypothetical language grouping, embracing Indo-European
and other protolanguages, from NOSTRA
'our' (language family).
OBJECT: Something that is (capable of) being sensed physically or examined mentally.
OBSTRUENT: Speech sound involving stoppage or friction.
OLDUVAI: Site of discovery of hominid fossil (homo erectus), estimated age about 1 million years, found in Tanzania. Cranial capacity 1000 cc. (modern humans c. 1350 cc.). Found in association with primitive biface hand-axes and animal bones used for food.
ONOMATOPOEIA: Naming of a thing or action by vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (e.g., in buzz, cuckoo); the use of words whose sound suggests the sense.
ONTOGENY: Process by which an individual living creature develops into its adult form, contrasted with phylogeny, that is, the process by which in evolution particular species acquire their characteristic properties.
ORGANISM: a complex structure of interdependent and subordinate elements whose relations and properties are largely determined by their function in the whole; a living being (including animals, plants, viruses, bacteria).
ORIGIN: A primary source; derivation; the beginning of something; first part. Origin points either to its specific cause, or to the moment when or place where it came into existence.
OSTENSION: Definition by displaying or pointing to the thing or quality being defined; giving examples of objects to which a word or phrase is properly applied.
PAEDOMORPHISM: Retention in the adult of infantile or juvenile characters; the resemblance of adult animals to the young of their ancestors.
PALAEOANTHROPOLOGY: Study of extinct ancestral forms of human species.
PALAEOCENE: Earliest epoch of the Tertiary period.
PALAEOLITHIC: Earliest period of the Stone Age, characterised by the emergence of primitive people and the manufacture and use of crude (unpolished) chipped stone tools, about 2.5 to 3.5 million years ago.
PARALANGUAGE: Optional vocal effects (e.g., tone of voice) that accompany an utterance and may communicate meaning.
PARAMETER: Innate hypothesis regarding the forms which any language may take; an aspect of Chomsky's genetically-based Universal Grammar view of language acquisition. Exposure to a given language results in a particular setting of the parameters for each dimension of syntax.
PAROLE: Language as manifested in the individual speech acts of individual speakers, contrasted with LANGUE (Saussure).
PATTERN: Form or model proposed for imitation; an arrangement of corresponding or repeated parts.
PERCEPT: Mental impression of a perceived object. A concept that depends on recognition by the senses (such as sight) of some external object or phenomenon; an object or phenomenon that is perceived.
PERCEPTION: The act or the effect of perceiving; the process by which an organism detects and interprets information from the external world by means of the sensory receptors; becoming aware of something through the senses; coming to comprehend, to grasp the mental interpretation and integration of physical sensations produced by stimuli from the external world.
PHARYNX: Part of the alimentary canal between the mouth and the oesophagus (gullet).
PHENOMENON: Object or experience perceived by the senses rather than by thought or intuition.
PHENOTYPE: The visible (and other physical) characteristics of an organism that are produced by the interaction of the organism's genes and environmental factors; the expression in a particular individual belonging to a species of the inherited characteristics of the species, as modified by environment and developmental processes.
PHONE: A single speech sound; a simple vowel or consonant sound (distinguish from PHON: Unit of loudness corresponding to the decibel scale of sound intensity).
PHONEME: One of the smallest speech sounds that are capable of distinguishing words in a given language or dialect.
PHONEMIC SYSTEM: The set of phonemes in any particular language; that is, the patterns of the speech sounds which are used to form meaningful words in the language.
PHONETIC: Referring to and representing any perceptible distinction between one speech sound and another.
PHONETICS: Science concerned with the study of speech processes, including the production, perception and analysis of speech sounds; the system of speech sounds of a particular language; the symbols that represent them. Contrasted with phonemics.
PHONOLOGY: The study of the sound system of a language or of languages in general; the sound system (phonetics and phonemics) of a language at a particular time.
PHRASE: A group of words forming a syntactic constituent of a sentence.
PHYLOGENY: The evolutionary history of a type of organism or a genetically related group of organisms, species, genus, etc.
PLASTICITY: The potential for structural or functional change in the nervous system.
PLEISTOCENE: First epoch of the Quaternary from about 1.7m years ago. Characterised by extensive glaciations of the Northern hemisphere and the evolutionary development of man. Followed by the Holocene, the present epoch, about 10,000 years ago.
PLIOCENE: Last epoch of the Tertiary. Most fossils are of still surviving species. Followed by the Pleistocene.
POLYGENESIS: Origin from more than one ancestral line or stock; multiple origin of language families.
PONGID: Anthropoid ape, tailless humanlike ape.
POPULATION: A group of members of a species that regularly interbreed in one area.
PRAGMATICS: A branch of semiotics (study of signs and symbols) dealing with the relation between signs or linguistics expressions and those who use them; a branch of linguistics dealing with the contexts in which people use language and the behaviour of speakers and listeners.
PREADAPTATION: Heritable characteristics that are not adapted to the ancestral environment but favour survival in some other environment.
PREDICATE: Something that is affirmed or denied of the subject in a logical proposition; the part of the sentence or clause that expresses what is said of the subject.
PREDICATE CALCULUS: The system of symbolic logic concerned not only with relations between propositions as wholes but also with the representation by symbols of individuals and predicates in propositions (cf. propositional calculus).
PRIMATE: Order of mammals including human beings, the apes, monkeys, and related forms (e.g., lemurs and tarsiers) that have hands or feet adapted for grasping and a relatively large brain.
PROCESS: A natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead towards a particular result a series of actions which produce a change or development.
PROTOLANGUAGE: An assumed, recorded or reconstructed ancestral language.
PROPOSITIONAL CALCULUS: The system of symbolic logic concerned only with relations between propositions as wholes, taking no account of their internal structure.
PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIUM: Evolutionary theory that species tend to be stable and relatively unchanged over long periods of time while new grades in evolution are achieved by sudden steps involving adaptive macromutations.
RANDOM: Lacking any definite plan or prearranged order; haphazard; having a value which cannot be determined but only described in terms of probability; chosen without regard to any characteristics of the individual members of the population so that each has an equal chance of being selected; lacking a definite plan, purpose or pattern; relating to, or having, or being statistical elements or events with an ungoverned or unpredictable outcome, but with a definite probability of occurrence.
RECOGNITION: Perceiving something or somebody as previously known.
REFERENCE: Referring that is, thinking of, regarding or classifying within a general category or group the relation between a word or phrase and the object or idea to which it refers.
REFERENT: The thing, object or idea that a symbol (e.g., a word, phrase or sign) stands for or refers to.
REPRESENT: To stand as an equivalent of, correspond to; to serve as a means of expressing: letters represent the sounds of speech; to bring clearly before the mind; to convey a mental impression of; to serve as a sign or symbol of; to form a mental impression of; to correspond to.
REPRESENTATION: The act of representing; anything that is represented, such as an image brought clearly to mind; anything that represents, such as a verbal or pictorial portrait; the analysis of a linguistic entity (e.g., a word or sentence) into its component units.
RHESUS MONKEY: Small pale brown Indian monkey. Macaca Mulatta.
RIGHT-BRANCHING: In the sentence, the head precedes the complement, e.g., la maison blanche; contrasted with left-branching, e.g., the white house.
SCHEMA: A stored pattern in the nervous system, e.g., for the recognition of visible objects or for the execution of a particular action.
SEGMENT: Any of the series of units into which an utterance may be divided; a speech sound considered in isolation.
SELF-CONSCIOUS: Conscious of oneself as possessor of mental states and originator of actions; aware of oneself as an individual.
SEMANTIC: Relating to meaning in language, especially drawing distinctions between of words or symbols.
SEMANTIC MOTIVATION: Any non-arbitrary relation between form and meaning in linguistic structures (Saussure).
SEMANTIC PRIME: Primitive word- or root-meaning from which other meanings have been derived.
SEMANTICS: The branch of linguistics that deals with the study of meaning; the study of the relation between signs and symbols and what they represent.
SEMEME: The meaning of a morpheme (Bloomfield); minimal element of meaning; a minimal language element expressing a single idea. Also called Semanteme.
SEMIOTICS: A general philosophical theory of signs and symbols that deals especially with their function in both artificially constructed and natural languages and comprises the study of their formal or grammatical relationships (syntactics), their meaning (semantics) and their relationship (pragmatics) to their users; the study of signs and symbols, especially the relation between written or spoken signs and their referents in the physical world or the world of ideas.
SENSE: A meaning conveyed or intended.
SENTENCE: A grammatically self-contained speech unit consisting of a word, or a grammatically related group of words capable of expressing an assertion, a question, a command, a wish, or an exclamation; a sequence of words capable of standing alone, usually consisting of a subject and a predicate.
SIGN: A motion or gesture by which a thought, wish or command is made known; a signal; a meaningful unit of language (e.g., a word); a mark with a conventional meaning used to replace or supplement words; something that indicates a fact, condition, etc. that is not immediately or outwardly observable; an action or gesture intended to convey information, a command, etc..
SIGN LANGUAGE: Any system of communication by manual signs or gestures, such as those used by the deaf (ASL, BSL).
SOLUTREAN: Upper Palaeolithic culture characterised by leaf-shaped, finely flaked stone implements.
SOUND SYMBOLISM: The existence of a relation between the sounds of particular words (or of particular speech sounds [phonetic symbolism]) and their meanings.
SPECIES-SPECIFIC: Function, capability, property possessed only by a particular species, e.g., the capacity to develop language is said by some to be species-specific to human beings.
SPEECH: Communication or expression of thoughts in spoken words; the power of expressing or communicating thoughts by speaking. In linguistics also used as equivalent to PAROLE.
SPEECH ACT: Technical term in philosophy of language to refer to the different functions of language, e.g., locutionary, illocutionary, perlocutionary, constative, performative or, more simply, communicating, promising, commanding, naming, etc.
STOP CONSONANT: Speech sound whose articulation involves at some point complete closure of the vocal tract, e.g., /b/ /k/ /p/ /t/.
STRUCTURE: Something arranged in a definite pattern of organisation; arrangement or interrelation of elements.
SYMBOL: Something that represents or stands for something else, by means of relationship, association, convention, or accidental resemblance, especially a visible sign of something invisible.
SYNAESTHESIA: A particular example of cross-modal or transfunctional neural action seen, e.g., in the perception by some individuals of colours systematically associated with differing (musical) sounds.
SYNCHRONIC: Dealing with phenomena, especially of language, at one point in time and ignoring previous historical developments (contrasted with diachronic).
SYNTACTIC STRUCTURE: The particular ways in which in any given language words are assembled into groups, phrases, sentences and discourse; the orderly way in which a language brings together the meanings of individual words in order to convey a more extended meaning, the meaning of the sentence.
SYNTAGMA: A word or phrase forming a syntactic unit; a syntactic sequence of linguistic forms.
SYNTAX: The branch of linguistics that deals with the grammatical arrangement of words and morphemes in sentences; a systematic statement of the rules governing the grammatical arrangement of words and morphemes in a language the way in which words are put together to form phrases, clauses or sentences.
SYRINX: The vocal organ of a bird situated in the lower part of the trachea (the windpipe).
SYSTEM: A group or combination of interrelated, interdependent, or interacting elements forming a collective entity; a methodical or coordinating assemblage of parts, facts, etc.; a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole.
TAKETE/MALUMA: Invented words used by Köhler which subjects were invited to match with two "nonsense" line drawings, one angular and the other rounded. Experimental results consistently suggested a relation between visual patterns and word forms.
TAUNG CHILD: First Australopithecine fossil, skull of child, found in 1924 near Taung in South Africa.
TAXEME: A linguistic feature (e.g., a difference in pronunciation, the occurrence of a particular phoneme, the presence of a certain intonation, or a distinctive word order) that differentiates one utterance from another, otherwise identical, utterance and so shows their difference in meaning .
TERTIARY: First period of the Cenozoic era (the most recent geological era characterised by the development and increase of mammals, birds and higher flowering plants).
THEORY: The general or abstract principles of a subject; a plausible or scientifically acceptable principle or body of principles offered to explain a phenomenon. A system of rules, procedures and assumptions used to produce a result; a set of hypotheses created by logical or mathematical arguments to explain a wide variety of connected phenomena in general terms.
THING: An object, fact, affair, circumstance or concept considered as being a separate entity; a separate and distinct object of thought (e.g., a quality, a fact or an idea); the concrete entity as distinguished from its appearance.
THOUGHT: A concept, opinion or idea; reasoning or conceptual power; the product of thinking, that is, of forming or having in the mind.
TOOL: Something that serves as a means to accomplishing an end. A tool is typically small and hand-held and performs a physical task (e.g., cutting, scraping, banging, moulding).
TRANSFORMATIONAL GRAMMAR: A generative grammar that uses rules which convert one phrase marker into another. The explicit rules ideally generate all and only the grammatical sentences of the language.
TRANSFUNCTIONAL: Refers to active neural relations between distinct functions, e.g., vision and speech. Near-synonym for cross-modal.
TYPE AND TOKEN: A token is an instance of a word or other linguistic form; the type is what is common to all instances of a word or other linguistic form, e.g., the letter L is a type of which there are two tokens in the word SELL.
TYPOLOGY: The study or analysis of the classification of types, e.g., of categories in the classification of living organisms or of languages.
UNDERSTANDING: The ability to learn, judge, make decisions, etc.; a mental grasp, comprehension; the power to make experience intelligible by applying concepts.
UNIFORMITARIAN: Relating to theory that all changes that have occurred can be accounted for by processes existing and acting as at present.
UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR: Term used by Chomsky to refer to the supposedly innate and uniform species-specific language capacity of human beings, realised in different natural languages by the attribution of different values to universally present parameters.
UNIVERSAL: A behavioural (or linguistic) trait, characteristic or pattern that exists in all cultures.
VARIATION: Particularly genetic variation; a marked deviation from the typical form or function.
VELUM: Soft palate (near back of roof of the mouth).
VERVET: Blackfaced monkey (guenon) found in South Africa, noted for having separate alarm-calls for leopards, snakes and eagles.
VOCAL CORDS: Two pairs of folds of mucous membrane that project into the cavity of the larynx and one of which has free edges that vibrate to produce sound. The glottis consists of the vocal cords with the space between them.
VOCAL TRACT: Variable resonating tube extending from the larynx to the lips, of which the main components are pharynx, nose and mouth. With the lungs and other anatomical elements, lips, tongue, teeth, palate (alveolus and velum), vocal cords, they form the vocal apparatus.
VOICING: Distinction between speech sounds uttered with and without vibration of the vocal cords.
WERNICKE'S AREA: Ill-defined brain area associated with Wernicke's aphasia. Lesions referred to this area appear to affect language comprehension rather than language production; patients often talk volubly. Their speech is on the whole grammatical but what they say is incoherent or nonsensical. Contrasted with Broca's area where lesions produce a different kind of aphasia.
WORD: Something that is said; a meaningful unit of spoken language that can stand alone and is not divisible into similar units; also a written or printed symbol that represents a spoken word and is usually set off by spaces on either side; one of the units of speech or writing that is the smallest isolable meaningful element of the language, although linguists would analyse these further into morphemes.
WURM PERIOD: Major division of late Pleistocene in Alpine Europe. The Wurm Glacial Stage began about 70,000 years ago and, after several interglacial periods, ended about 10,000 years ago.