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Department
Psychology
Course
Psychology 1000
Professor
Dr.Mike
Semester
Winter

Description
Language 1/8/2013 11:02:00 AM Basic characteristics Syntax Language Learning Next time: Problem Solving Scan: p.332-351 Today’s Question  What are the properties of a language?  How does syntax provide meaning to language?  Is language learned? LANGUAGE “i know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant”- Richard M. Nixon Anatomy? Semanticity  Language is meaningful (structure and phrases have meanings) Generativity  Ability to use finite number of words & rules to produce infinite number of sentences Displacement  Convey information about other times and places (in terms of time and space. When you tell me something I can experience it too) Organization  Language is structured (structure helps language to carry out meaning) Sentence: the strangers left. Phrase: the strangers. Word: The, Strangers (3 morphemes, strange, er and s). phoneme (tells you how to pronounce it- streynj, er, z, doesn’t have meanings) Phonemes  Basic units: English  45 Hawaiian 13 Morphemes  Meaningful units of words (be able to know how many morphemes there are in a word, will be on exam)  Word-strangers. Morpheme- strange, er, s (break down, plural and negative etc. it changes the total meaning sometimes,, like putting negative “un, in, dis” in front)  Good, unabridged dictionary 250,000 to 300,000  Student vocabulary 150,000  Most anything in English can be said with a vocabulary of 850 words  Telephone conversations: 96% of “talk” made up of 737 words  Correlation word frequency & word length = -0.75. the longer the word, the less we use it..we often use shorter words Syntax Arranging the elements in a “meaningful” way mindfulness Proper structure (how to sling words together so the sentence makes sense)  Importance of Grammar  Be understandable Grammar The wicked vampire bites the girl 1. colorless green ideas sleep furiously (it is structured, but it is meaningless. It doesn’t make sense) 2. make me a coffee (make a coffee for me or transform me into a coffee: which one is correct, the first one. Need to know what the context is) 3. venetian blind vs. blind venetian The French Bottle Smells (what does it convey to you?) (The French) (bottle) (smells) (The French Bottle) (Smells) we make assumption of which one is more likely to occur “Bloopers” (when bloopers is out of order, the meaning is funny) we look at syntax prostitutes appeal to pope. Police help murder victims Suicide more common than thought American sentenced to life in Scotland Teenage pregnancy a mounting problem.. Humor Learning to appreciates various sentence structure, and know what are funny and what are not Comes with formal thinking 1. order, order in the court: I’ll have a ham & cheese on rye 2. silence, silence in the court: I’ll have a ham & cheese on rye. Order has a double meaning  6 year olds find 1 and 2 equally funny  11 year olds find 1 funnier  why? o Ability to “appreciate” ambiguous meaning & logical inconsistency (at various stages for kids) o kids slowly get used to formal thinking Phonological Ambiguity  Confusion of sounds (knock-knock jokes, banana and “orange you glad”) generates joke  Eg: orange who? *orange you glad I didn't say banana*-“aren’t you glad I didn’t say banana” Lexical Ambiguity  Confusion or double meaning of words o “I work as a baker because I knead (need) the dough (money)” Syntactic Ambiguity  Confusion in structure o John: I saw a man eating (as an adjective) shark at the aquarium o Mary: that’s nothing I saw a man eating salmon at the restaurant Semantic Ambiguity  Meaning o Ralph: call me a cab o Fred: okay, you’re a cab.  As you grow older, you appreciate this more  Kids progress from phonological & lexical to syntactic & semantic  Depending how I put it, syntax gives different meanings Noam Chomsky (linguistic psychologist): Transformational grammar Whenever you’re looking at a sentence  Surface structure (sequence of words, what does that sentence look like?) vs. deep structure (actual meaning, what do they actually mean?). we use rules to transform actual meaning to sequence of words. We need to decode the sequence of words. Separate sequence of words and actual meaning. It is important to know what might be going on. “flying planes can be dangerous,”  surface, 2 possible deep structures associated with this sentence  deep 1: planes are dangerous, air bourn are considered a threat  deep 2: piloting a plane is dangerous.  Flying could be either a noun or an adjective. Language Learning  Results of imitation and reinforcement? Not really  Yes child does learn that “dog” not “perro” or “chien” applies in English  BUT…trick is not the word but CREATIVITY (ability to put words together and make meaningful sentences)  Also: o If mistakes in grammar not corrected (kids think they are right) o So what happens? Kids learn grammar in a creative fashion. st From 1 moments of life, infants vocalize (cry, babble etc..random sounds). Those random sounds are important, when they cry, baby’s parents pay attention to them. However the sounds itself is not a language. o True even for deaf infants. Babbling has no conventional meaning, but takes on a social quality in hearing infants..Rules of interaction o It’s not about the sound, it’s about rules of interaction (linguistic interaction) o By 2 months, infants show phoneme discrimination (difference in sounds. They understand that). Jusczyk (1985) sucking rates for “PA” vs. “BA”, to see if they notice the difference. After repeatedly saying PA, baby’s reaction decrease to this word. Now change to BA, baby’s reaction goes back on o o Sensitivity to foreign contrasts drops as infant approaches 12 months. Suggests that babies are prewired o Infants are “hard-wired” for language acquisition (be able to pick up phonemes in order to learn a new language) o Prepared for any language o Kids at young age learning multiple languages, they are able to discriminate phoneme very well. Kids who grow in a multi- language household are able to learn multiple languages. Therefore, the early the better to learn a new language o Also: “motherese”  High pitch, slow rate, exaggerated tone. The higher the pitch, the kid can distinguish the phoneme more  Adults shift “automatically” saying high pitched, easy sentences to kids.  Western culture is more likely to make the shift, not in Asia or Africa. Thinking & Problem Solving 1/8/2013 11:02:00 AM Language Learning Heuristic Processing Problem Solving Next time: Intelligence Scan: p355-363 Genie-a feral child Spent most of her life locked inside a bedroom with no human interaction..and has no experience of human care, loving or social behavior, and human language.. Today’s Question  How do infants acquire language/  What is thought?  What shortcuts do people use when problems solving? How many morphemes are in the word “crosswords”? 2, can’t be cross,word,s because cross, word has a different meaning than crossword. Crossword has to be together, can’t break apart last lecture: Language  Properties  Syntax  Humor  Surface vs. deep structure The One-Word speaker  5-8months of age, respond to parents’ words (paying attention and ready to do so)  talking begins 10-20 months  early vocabulary (simple vocabulary) o eg. Nouns (mama, duck) o interactions (hi, peekaboo, pick up on that because it is important to them)
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