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Lecture 2

PSYCH 1X03 Lecture 2: Language
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH 1X03
Professor
Joe Kim

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PSYCH 1X03 Language • Most psychologists only consider human communication as language 
 Criteria for a True Language • Regular; governed by rules or grammar • Arbitrary; lack of resemblance between words and their meaning • Productive; almost limitless to describe things Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis: Language influences our thoughts and the way we perceive and experience the world Morpheme: The smallest unit of sound that contains information. In sign language, signs replace it. Often a word, but some words contain multiple morphemes. E.g. Table is a single word that contains a single morpheme. Tablecloth however has 2 morphemes. Phonemes: Morphemes can be broken down into its constituent sounds called phonemes. E.g. Dog - /d/ /o/ /g/ or Chair /ch/ /ai/ /r/ Syntax: The rules that govern how sentences are put together.Also known as grammar. Differs based on culture the language originated on. Semantics: The meaning of each individual word. Language Development Milestones 12 weeks Makes cooing sounds 16 weeks Turns head towards voices 6 months Imitates sounds 1 year Babbles 2 years Uses 50-250 words; uses 2 word phrases 2.5 years Vocabulary > 850 words Babbling: Characterizes 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 of sounds progress to become real words. ▯1 PSYCH 1X03 Language Explosion: Vocabulary increases linearly from the ages 1-6. The Segmentation Problem: Humans segment sentences naturally into word units. The difficulty to do so when listening to a foreign language explains why they sound like they are speaking very fast. • Testing an infant’s segmentation ability could be a screen for future language problems • Infants that can segment language well tend to have a strong vocabulary later in life. Universal Phoneme Sensitivity: The ability of infants to discriminate between any sounds they’re tested on. Includes sounds from non-native languages. The fact that adults cannot do so indicates that there may be some developmental basis for phoneme discrim- ination that is influenced early in life. • It i
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