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PS102 - Chapter 8.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Eileen Wood

Chapter 8 - 1 Chapter 8: Language & Thought Lecture 6 • Properties of language o Creative  Effortlessly create new sentences • Have a finite vocabulary that can be combined in infinite ways o Wanna go out for dinner? o Want to fetch some grub? o Would you like to dine out? o Structured  Although creative – there are some restrictions  These are regularities of language (not necessarily grammar rules)  E.g. can end a sentence with a preposition and be understood, can’t say “dinner the” o Meaningful  Each word represents an idea • Object (cat or dog), action (bites), abstraction, quality…  Grammar/structure also contribute to the ideas • Dog bites cat OR cat bites dog o Communication  Some language is private – for ourselves  Most language is directed at and around others, social activity  Need to know the sounds, words, sentences of language and principles of conversation • Conversations: Pragmatics o Knowing how to speak to whom o Child, loved one, stranger, employer, enemy expert etc. • Structure of Language o Phonemes Chapter 8 - 2  Requires sound  Sounds require physiological structures  Smallest unit of sound recognized as separate in a given language  Don’t correspond to letters of alphabet  Meaningful perceptual units  Humans can produce 100s of phonemes • No language uses all • About 40 phonemes in English o Other languages may have different number o Morphemes  Fundamental unit of meaning • Combination of phonemes • English: 40 phonemes; more than 80,000 morphemes for the average person  Morphemes form words • Some are single syllable words (hat, bat) • Some are single letters (s, ed) • Ex strangers o Strange = root word o R = person o S = people o Syntax  Rules for combining words together into meaningful phrases  How you phrase, gives the meaning • Ambiguity • They are hunting dogs  Can be • They are hunting…dogs • They…are…hunting dogs Chapter 8 - 3 o Structure and Meaning  Surface structure is how you phrase the sentence into meaningful units  Ambiguity – when the underlying proposition isn’t clear • E.g. smoking volcanoes can be dangerous • E.g. visiting relatives can be boring o Language Development  Infant/child has to select out the sounds relevant to language from other vocal sounds in the speech stream o Pre-linguistic  Babbling  International  Signers o One-Word Stage  Holophrastic – One word many meanings  Errors • Overextensions – word is used to liberally-specific word apply to things it should not o Daddy = man • Underextensions – general word but child restricts to specific cases o Drink = juice only o Two- Word  Telegraphic –basic sentences • Demands • Questions • Possessions • Statements o More complex Speech  Preschool complex speech Chapter 8 - 4 • Full sentences, some grammatical flaws  Overregularization • English past tense and plurals • U-shaped curve Lecture 7 • One-word stage o Holophrastic: one word many meanings o Errors  Overextensions: word is used too liberally – specific word apply to things it should not • Daddy = man  Underextension: general word but child restricts to specific cases • Drink = juice only • Two-Word o Demands o Questions o Possession o Statements • More complex speech o Preschool complex speech  Full sentences, some grammatical flaws o Over regularization  English past tense and plurals  U-shaped curve • Metalinguistic Awareness o Growing appreciation of ambiguities, playing with words • Theories of Language Acquisition o Behaviourist Chapter 8 - 5  Learn through direct reinforcement/punishment  Imitation  Shaping  Problems: doesn’t explain creativity in utterances or errors in speech • “mine got two beets” o Nativists  Biologically and physiologically equipped for speech and language  LAD  Critical period: most proficient at learning at a language between 2 and puberty Linguistic (input)  LAD (linguistic Processing Skills)  A Theory of Language  Grammatical Experience  Limitations • Acquisition not completed as early as nativists thought (adults can learn, and do so effectively) • Diversity of world languages and grammars hard to explain • Account of grammar and its development is limited o Interactionist  Language is lea
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