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Psychology (4,979)
PSYCH 1X03 (1,055)
Joe Kim (989)


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McMaster University
Joe Kim

Psychology Language  3 main criteria that outline "true" language → language is regular: it has rules and grammar → language is arbitrary: lack of connection between words and their meaning → language is productive: limitless words to describe objects, situations, and actions  The Whorf-Sapir hypothesis: language influences our thoughts and the way we perceive and experience the world  Cultures that counter this: Indian Wyoming Arapaho use one word for every male senior (father, brother, son, etc) while Korean language has a specific word for each member of the extended family The Structure of Language  Morphemes: the smallest units of sound that contain information. Often a word, but some words contain multiple morphemes (all human language contain similar features that are called morphemes)  ex. table = 1 morpheme, (table)(cloth) = 2 morphemes  Phonemes: even smaller units of sound that contain information (when you break down a morpheme)  ex. /d/ /o/ /g/, /ch/ /ai/ /r/  Syntax: the rules that govern how sentences are put together (also known as grammar)  Semantics: the meaning of each individual word  ex. The colourless green ideas sleep furiously beside the kwijibo = a sentence that does not make any sense yet does not violate any syntactic rules Development and the Segmentation Problem Language Development  Babbling: characterized by drawn-out sounds made up of a variety of combinations of vowels and consonants. May sound like a real sentence or question because of the use of inflection and rhythm in the production of the babble. Combinations progress to become real words. (After 1yr)  Language explosion: from 1.5-6yrs of age, vocabulary increases rapidly and children have mastered the major aspects of language. Complexity of syntax continues to improve. Production vs. Comprehension  language production and comprehension may be limited by cognitive development  other factors may be important such while an infant may progress to gain language comprehension, language production can be limited by factors such as vocal anatomy. (ex. when infants comprehend language but cannot express it) Segmentation Problem  Unfamiliar languages sounds like person is speaking very fast  Difficulty of segmenting speech-stream into word units  Early speech segmentation ability = large vocab at 2 yrs o May imply that we can use speech segmentation ability to determine future language problems Infant-directed speech  tendency to use higher pitch and exaggerate changes in pitch  may help infants learn to segment speech Universal Phonetic Sensitivity  Different Phonemes → Research on infant speech perception o Very young infants can differentiate more phonemes → Radio vs. ladio, jada vs. jjada → How to adults end up w/ different sets of phonemes???  Universal phoneme sensitivity → Ability of infants to discriminate b/t any sounds → Including non-native
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