PSYC 2700 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Phoneme, Parsing, Universal Grammar

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Wednesday, June 1st, 2016
PSYC 2700 – Language
Keys & Bridges:
-How would you describe a key?
-How would you describe a bridge?
Ch. 9 Outline:
-Sound, syntax, semantics, universals of language, Whorf hypothesis
-Language impairment, innate hypothesis
Language:
-How would you define language?
-Webster: expression/communication of thoughts & feelings by means of sounds, &
combos of such sounds, to which meaning’s attributed
oMeaning’s attributed to sounds; rather than intrinsic/inherent
oLang. based on usually arbitrary connections b/w linguistic elements, such as
sounds, & meanings denoted by those sounds. E.g., Ch. vs. Eng.
Dictionary Definition:
-Sound symbolism?
oOnomatopoeia, word imitating sound
oNot universal; Tick tock, katchin katchin
-Dictionary definition omits other aspects of lang.: writing or sign language was excluded
oWriting, recent dev in history of lang., 5000 yrs
oSpoken lang., thought to have occurred 100 000 yrs ago
Language = spoken + written:
-Writing depended on existence of spoken lang.; auditory form’s more basic than written
version
-Written lang. should be included
oReading/writing = major forms of communication in modern society
Language: (generalized)
-Shared symbolic system for communication
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oSymbolic, symbols stands for something else, referent
oShared, agreed upon, sound-meaning connection, rules for decoding/encoding
oAllows for communication (purpose)
Language: symbolic
-“What’s in a name?” asks Juliet. “That which we call a rose by any other name would
smell as sweet.”
-Symbolic, abstract, arbitrary
Language: shared
-Vocabulary, rules
Breakdown of language:
-Recognize sound
-Parse syntax
oLooking women husbands young for (ungrammatical)
oYoung women looking for husbands (grammatical)
-Retrieve meaning
oWug toagged snarticism (meaningless)
oHe discusses education reform after EEII (meaningful)
Building blocks of language 1:
-Diff languages sound differently
-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybcvlxivscw
-Phonemes: basic sounds which compose lang., vowels, consonants
-200 diff phonemes exist across all known spoken languages. English, 46 phonemes;
Hawaiian, 15 phonemes
-More vs. less phonemes ≠ superiority of lang.
-Phonology: study of sounds of lang., how they’re produced + perceived
Phonemes -> words:
-46 phonemes, thousands of words
oDog, 3 phonemes
-Combinatorial system
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-Productivity
-Combining phonemes into words, governed by rules
oPat, *atp
oExample of explicit vs. implicit knowledge
Phenology:
-Categorical perception:
oAll sounds falling within set of boundaries perceived as same, despite physical
differences among them
o/k/: cool, keep
oInitial for heart & dog in Arabic, 2 diff hard /k/
-Diff phonemes = sounds that speakers perceive as being diff
oE.g. /s/ vs. /z/ in English
-Insensitivity
oInfant’s perceptual system can discriminate all
oCritical period (Werker, et. al)
Speech Perception and Context:
-Problem of invariance
oSpoken sounds aren’t invariant
oThey change depending on what sounds precede & follow in word
-Diff versions of “the same sound” in:
oDiff contexts, from diff speakers
-Co-articulation
oSimultaneous or overlapping articulation of 2 or more of the phonemes in a word
oAnalogy: type word the, right index finger starts moving toward h before your left
index finger has struck t
-Phonemes vary widely, but we tolerate fair degree of variability
Spectogram: *graph in lecture slide*
The effect of context:
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