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Chapter 10 notes!

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University of Toronto Scarborough
John Bassili

Chapter 10: Language Languages: flexible systems that use symbols to express many meanings. Plays a key role in day-to-day communication. Psycholinguistics: branch of psychology focusing on the study of verbal behaviour (how children acquire language). Perception of Speech: It does not come to us in series of individual words; we must extract the words from a stream of speech. Auditory system enables us to recognize speech sounds. The left hemisphere of the brain plays a large role in speech recognition. Phonemes: elements of speech (smallest units of sounds that allow us to distinguish the meaning of a spoken word). Example: pin includes: p + i + n Voice-onset time: delay between the initial sound of a consonant (p) and the onset sound of vibration of the vocal cords. Example: p and b, and t and d Left auditory cortex specialize in recognizing the special aspects of speech. Latter regions of auditory cortex rely on information that transcends the distortions of individual phonemes. Ganong found that the perception of a phoneme is affected by the sounds that follow it. Phonemes are combined to form morphemes (smallest units of meaning in language). Example: fastest contains two morphemes fast (free morpheme which has its own meaning) and ist which is a bound morpheme. Morphemes are important component in language. In addition to learning the units of speech, we also learn its content. Context affects the perception of words through top-down processing. Understanding the Meaning of Speech: If we want a listener to understand our speech, we must follow the rules of language. All languages have syntax or grammar Syntactical rule is a grammatical rule of a particular language for combining words to form phrases, clauses, and sentences. fMRI studies have shown that as syntax gets more complex, our brains become more active. Syntax rules are learned implicitly. Syntactical cues are signalled by word order, word class, function and content words, affixes, word meanings, and prosody. Word order is important in English. Word class refers to the grammatical categories (noun, pronoun, verb, adjective). 1
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