Class Notes with Powerpoint References
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Chapter 10: Language
The Building Blocks of Language
Spoken language is different than written language
Spoken language is made up of several components.
The smallest significant units of sound in language is Phonemes, smallest units of meaning is
morphemes, morphemes come together to form words, words form phrases, phrases produce
^p/b_}µvbilabial plosives meaning using both lips and an explosion
dZ]((vÁv}µ]vP^l_}µve very subtle, only by a difference of .06 of a second.
^lÌ_}µvalveolar fricatives meaning putting the tongue up in the mouth and a friction produced
There are 40 phonemes in English (26 letters).
The normal rate of speech is about 180 words per minute, which is the same as 14 phonemes per
Lexicon or Vocabulary
A lexical item is a root word in the vocabulary.
Vocabulary varies with different people according to individual experience and education.
All psychological abilities decline over time starting at the age 20. The two exceptions are vocabulary,
and wisdom with making decisions. Both exceptions have to do with experience.
Content words vs. function words, content words have meaning, function words make sense of relations
Children learn content words before function words.
Syntax or Grammar
Syntax refers to the way (order) users of a language put words together in a sentence.
Properties of Language
Language is symbolic (allowing us to communicate concrete or imaginary thoughts).
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