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PSY100 language and thought

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Bruce Schneider

PSY100 May 25 th Language and Thought Language - a system of symbols, sounds, meanings, and rules of combination that allows for communication among humans - phonemes: the smallest units of sound o in English we have 40 o all the sounds we can make in the alphabet o about 100 phonemes in all languages o no 2 languages share the same exact phonemes - morphemes: the smallest units of meaning - phrases are composed of morphemes - sentences: strings of morphemes and phrases that express a thought or intention - connotation: the different meanings for the same word o “ that was sick” - what does sick mean in this? o wht we intend to mean in that situation - syntax: the rules we use to create our sentence structure, word arrangement Nonverbal Communication - nonverbal communication includes: o vocal intonation  what the words mean, ex. sarcasm o body language (crossed arms, etc.) o gestures (often involving the hands or fingers) o physical distance o facial expressions o touch Language Development - human beings have an innate ability for language development/production - 100 basic phonemes - babbling (6-18 months) - words (10-13 months) - vocabulary spurt (18-24 months) - receptive vs productive vocabulary o age 6ish - fast mapping o throughout childhood to around age 10 o quick and effortless learning of new language, new words, rules of grammar - over and under-extensions o ex. wa wa vs. water and car vs. truck - overregularizations - the case for nurture (behaviourist) o B.F. Skinner argued that children imitate the utterances of their parents o Skinner suggested that children receive differential reinforcement for speech sounds - the case for nature (Nativist) o Chomsky argued that language acquisition appears to be universal across culture (could not be accounted for by learning) - Interactionist Critical Periods for Language Acquisition - critical periods assume that an organism must develop a function within a
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