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Lectures 1-7 Notes from lectures 1 through 7

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Psychology 2134A/B
Marc Joanisse

thSeptember 14 2010IntroductionWhat This Course is About How is language learned and usedWhat makes human language specialHow does language relate to other aspects of cognitionWhat are the social aspects of languageHow is language represented in the brainCognitive Science Cognitive sciencethe study of the mind o We have not just a brain but also mental states that are superimposed on that brain o We reason our way through the world in various waysBrings different areas of research into a unified effort to understand how the brain worksEncompasses o Cognitive psychologyAttempt to look at how the mind works o Linguisticso Philosophy o Computer scienceTry to come up with computational formulations for language o EngineeringStudying Language PsycholinguisticsFormal linguisticsNeuroscience Sociolinguistics Computer scienceengineeringFundamentals The nature of language o What is language and how does it relate to other forms of communicationWhat do we know when we know language o Mental grammarsyour minds representation of language o Phonemes morphemes etcDescriptions of the different units of representations of languageBiology of Language 1 o How does the mindbrain create languageEvolutionary perspectivesLanguage development o How do children learn languageWhy do we care anywayLanguage processing o Understanding spoken words o Understanding written wordsHow are they similarHow are they different o Sentence comprehension o Language productionLanguage and the brain o How the brain creates languagePatients with brain damageNeuroimagingExceptional cases o Language disorders o Reading disorders o Bilingualism o Sign language 2Part 1 Fundamentals Cats run after dogsrun cats dog afterThe second sentence has the same words as the first sentence but the order that you are saying the words seems to matterThere is something about your experience with language that allows you to decide whether the order in which words are said makes a good sentence or notMental Grammars Noam Chomsky what do we know when we know languageHe became very interested in the fact that as you look at different languages of the world there are similaritiesLanguages are not random assemblies of words o They are all governed by a grammarEven though all languages are very different the grammars that seem to underlie the languages all have interesting and important similarities to each otherHe proposed that we know a lot more about language than we are able to express o We have learned a mental grammar in an implicit way that allows us to recognize grammatical sentences and produce them too o Goal produce grammatical utterances and not produce ungrammatical utterances o We have mental grammars that allow us to do thisPrescriptive grammar rulesrules of grammar you might learn in school prescriptive in the sense that you are telling someone to do something o Ex dont end a sentence in a preposition o Ex dont say aint o Ex never split an infinitive o Speakers frequently violate these rulesWhyBecause they arent rules of grammar as much as they are rules of styleRules that identify you as being well schooledDescriptive Grammar Descriptive grammarfocus on understanding what people actually know about languageWhat rules of language people learn that allows them to know whether a sentence is grammaticalWe want to describe what language users know not what is rightThere are lots of principles that all English users abide by o Herman isnt threatening to leave isnt he o Mathematicians many are thought to be oddWe dont have to explicitly think of those sentences to know that they are ungrammatical3
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