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PSYB57H3 (200)
Lecture

Lect9 Notes **Supplement with Ch9 Notes


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB57H3
Professor
Gabriela Ilie

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PSYB57 Memory and Cognition
Lecture Nine Language
Is Language Uniquely Human?
Chimpanzees can learn symbols to communicate (language is to communicate through
symbols); however could not use those symbols to express themselves in different way
Little evidence that animals’ communication systems do not form a true language, but
they do communicate
*problem* we compare animal communication to human language, but it is not fair to
judge them with ourselves as a point of reference
What is Language?
Structure: structural principles such as grammar; system of rules and principles that
specifies universal standards of thought/properties of expressions clarity;
precision/specificity; logic/validity; relevance; accuracy; depth
Phonology/Morphology
Phoneme: smallest unit of sound we can make
Morpheme: smallest unit of sound we can make that has meaning
i.e. take vs taking (2 morphemes: take and ing which is an inflectional
morpheme)
Syntax: rule for how to put together sentences and phrases
Semantics: meaning that explains:
Anomaly: something we cannot say;Ice cream coffee can take a dictation. does
not make sense
Contradictions: lacking validity; The dog is not an animal. illogical
Ambiguity: lacking precision/specificity; I need to go to the bank. which bank?
Synonym: The rabbit is not old enough. = The rabbit is too young. the equality
between the sentences are implied
Entailment: Pat is my uncle. if Pat is the uncle then, he must be male; if Pat was
the aunt, she would be a female
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