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Lecture 2

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Psychology 2011A/B
Tom Haffie

Lecture 2 PSYA02 Notes Language Pt.I Speech and Comprehension: Perceiving Verbal Behaviour, Understanding Verbal Behaviour and Brain Mechanisms of Verbal Behaviour Languague • An orderly system of communication  from a finite number of rules in a language, a normal adult can produce an infinite number of sentences • Most complex ability that humans possess  equips our species in a unique way from other species. We can benefit from others experiences and our own. As well, we are able to store our language ( the temporal and spatial boundaries are limitless). • Most impt. Of all social behaviours (apart from sexual) Perceiving Verbal Behaviour  Recognition of Speech Sounds • Phonemes (basic): smallest unit of sound that contributes to the meaning of a spoken word (e.g. syllable) • Context affects the perception of phonemes (e.g. sounds that precede and follow each phoneme) • Experiment by Ganong: He created a novel speech sound that lies between the sounds of the “k” and the “g” phoneme and carried now linguistic meaning in the English language. He presented it in two situations. When it was presented preceding –iss, people claimed the word as kiss, when presented preceding –ift, people perceived the word as gift. Understanding Verbal Behaviour: Syntax (i.e. grammar), semantics (i.e. reference) and pragmatics (i.e. world knowledge, shared experiences) Syntax: Important syntactical cues • Word order  who says what to whom (i.e. subject then verb then predicate). • Word class grammatical categories (e.g. verbs and nouns content words; and & but  function words) • Affixes prefix/suffix, meant to alter meaning of the word (e.g. gift; re-gift; re-gift-er) • Prosody  stress, rhythm, changes in pitch (alters meaning
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