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Lecture 5

PSYCH 1F03 Lecture 5: 6

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Joe Kim

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LANGUAGE Language is: regular, arbitrary, and productive. o Regular regulated by the rules of grammar. o Arbitrary sounds assigned to concepts are random; words arbitrarily represent meaning. o Productive there are limitless ways to combine words. Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis: o Language influences our perception of the world, alongside how we think. Ex: Piraha tribes simplistic numbering system. 1, 2, and many couldnt match proper amounts of nuts together because they didnt know how we count; we need language to perceive objects in life. Counter-evidence relative labels in different countries. Ex: Indian tribes use a single word to describe any senior male relative showing how less language still has the same effect. Ex: Korea they have a word for mothers older brother instead of uncle. The Structure of Language: Morpheme the smallest unit of sound that contains some sort of info; can be a single word, or a multiple morpheme word. o Each provides a chunk of information about a word. o Ex: (Table), (table)(cloth), (table)(s) Phoneme smallest units of sound in a word; the broken-down sounds of a morpheme; /d/ /o/ /g/. Syntax rules that dictate how sentences should be composed; grammar. Semantics the meaning of a word (noun, verb, etc.) Development and the Segmentation Problem: Language development in Infants: o 12 weeks cooing sounds. o 16 weeks responds to outside voices. o 6 months imitates sounds. o 1 year babbles o 2 years 50-250 words; 2-word phrases. o 2.5 years - >850 words. Babbling: o Drawn-out sounds made up of repetitive vowels/consonants in combination. o Infection/rhythm makes it seem like a question/response. o Combinations eventually become real words. Language Explosion:o 1.5-6 years: major increase in vocabulary, mastery of various aspects of language; syntax complexity improves. Segmentation Problem: o Someone speaking another language can sound like its being spoken quickly. o Infants who have good speech segmentation skills have larger expressive vocabularies as children. o Can lead to screening tests to predict future language development issues. Universal Phonetic Sensitivity: Ability of infants to discriminate between various sounds that they might encounter in a test; includes foreign sounds. Infants can distinguish more phonemes than adults. Children develop phonemic sensitivity based on the language they grew up with. Head-Turn Procedure measures perception of phonemes o Infants perform equally as well as native speakers when distinguishing between foreign phonemes. st Disappears by the end of their 1 year of living. o Adults need more practice than infants to find phonemes in a new language. Adults ability to discriminate phonemes worsens with age. o Easier to learn a language
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