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Psychology 1000

Language January 8, 2012 Next Time: Problem Solving Scan: p. 332 – 351 Agenda:  Basic Characteristics  Syntax  Language learning 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? o Pushing air over the vocal cords o Manipulate the sound by using tongue and the lips Language: Basic Properties  Semanticity o Meaningful  Words and phrases and the structure that has meaning  Generativity o Ability to use finite number of words and rules to produce infinite number of sentences  Displacement o Convey information about other times and places  Organization o Language is structured  Example: o Sentence -> the strangers left o Phrase -> the strangers o Word -> the strangers o Morpheme -> strange er s o Phoneme -> streynj er z  Phonemes o Basic Units: English -> 45 o Hawaiian -> 13  Morphemes (on exam, given word and need to identify morphemes) o Meaningful units o Word -> strangers o Morpheme -> strange er s  When adding a morphemes, we’re changing the word, i.e. adding “s” making it plural  Words o Good, unabridged dictionary contains 250,000 to 300,000 words o Student vocabulary after 4 years of university is about 150,000 o Most of anything in English can be said with a vocabulary of 850 words o Telephone conversations:  96% of “talk” made up of 737 words o Correlation word frequency and word length = -0.75  Syntax o Arranging the elements in a “meaningful” way o Make us understand language  Proper structure o Important for grammar  Grammar: o Example:  The wicked vampire bites the girl  Colourless green ideas sleep furiously  Good structure but meaningless  Make me a coffee  They could me other things, make me into coffee or getting a coffee for me  Venetian Blind vs. Blind Venetian  The French bottle smells  (the French) (bottle) (smells)  (the French bottle) (smells)  “Bloopers” o Prostitutes appeal to Pope o Police help murder victims o Sui
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