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PSY270H1 (200)
Lecture

Lecture on Language


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY270H1
Professor
Gillian Rowe

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Lecture 5
Morphol ogy: content morphemes (convey core of the meaning) vs. function morphemes (add nuances to
core meaning)
Key features of human spoken language
Hierarchical structure
Arbitrariness: no inherent connection btw a unit in language and the concept it denotes (principle of
conventionality)
Generativity: can produce infinite number of sentences
Dynamic: create new words with new development (ie: spam)
Displacement: possible to refer to remote time/place
Evidence for biological/genetic predisposition
1) Genetic disorders impair / spare language (ie: Down syndrome, Williams syndrome) / selective
language impairment (SLI) = grammar diff iculties
2) Creation of systematic language by children: sign language created by isolated deaf children; pidgin 
creole
3) Critical periods: language acquisition must occur in early life to gain native-level competence (come
earlier, the better)
4) Universal stages: cooing babbling (deaf dont babble) one-word utterance (holophrases,
telegraphic) two-word utterance basic adult structure
Children speech errors
Over regularization errors never heard: hurted, mouses
Overextens ion error: doggie means all animals
Underextension er r or: kitty refers only to family pet
Different types of aphasias
Brocas aphasia Wernickes aphasiaConduction aphasia
Production Poor, not fluent speechFluent but often non-sensicalFluent speech
Comprehension Relatively spread
(problem with synt ax)
Impaired Relatively spread
Repetition ImpairedRelatively spreadImpaired
Reading
Bottom-up: recognizing letters and words
Top-down: meaning of words / expectations and prior knowledge about material
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