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Lecture 27 - Language.docx

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Western University
Psychology 1000

Psychology 1000 Language January 8, 2013 Basic Characteristics Syntax Language Learning Next Time: Problem Solving Scan: P. 332-351  What are the properties of a language?  How does syntax provide meaning to a language?  Is language learned?  “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” Language  Anatomy?  You produce language by pushing air up out of your lungs through your vocal cord and you manipulate it with your tongue, lips and nasal cavity Language: Basic Properties  Semanticity  Meaningful: if the sounds don’t mean anything, it isn’t a language  Generativity  Ability to use finite number of words and rules to produce infinite number of sentences  Displacement  Convey information about other times and places  Using tenses to talk about the past and talk about places you’ve never been  Organization  Language is structured  The structure helps language carry meaning  Differs from language to language, but it must be present Sentence – the strangers left Phrase – the strangers Word – the, strangers  Good, unabridged dictionary has about 250,000 to 300,000 words  Student vocabulary: 150,000  Most anything in English can be said with a vocabulary of 850 words  Telephone conversations: 96% of “talk” is made up of 737 words  Correlation word frequency & word length = -0.75  The longer the word is, the less likely you’re going to use it Psychology 1000 Language January 8, 2013 Morpheme – strange, er, s  Meaningful units  Changes things that work under semanticity to change meaning  Changes activity into noun, into plural Phoneme – streynj, (symbol)r, z  Basic units: English 45, Hawaiian: 13 Syntax  Arranging the elements in a “meaningful” way  Proper structure  Importance of Grammar  E.g. The wicked vampire bites the girl  A noun phrase can have an article “The” and a nominal part  The nominal part has a noun “wicked” and an adjective “vampire” Humor  Comes w
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