PSYC 256 Lecture Notes - Lecture 17: Teddy Bear, Stuffed Toy, Language Development

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13 Jun 2018
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LANGUAGE
Properties of Language
Communicative
Arbitrarily symbolic
Generative (productive)
Dynamic
Regularly structured
o At multiple levels
Properties: Communicative
Individuals can reliably send and receive information
Properties: Arbitrarily Symbolic
No connection between symbol and concept
o Signs represent, but are not necessarily like, what they refer to
o Words do not have to look or sound like what they describe
Principle of conventionality
o Meanings of words are determined by conventions
o Not random
Teddy bear
Principle of contrast
o Different words have different meanings
Stuffed animal
Properties: Generative
Using rules of language, an unlimited number of new utterances can be created
Properties: Dynamic
Changes over time
o Allows for new developments with the creation of new words and ideas
Properties: Structured
Regularity
o Governed by systems of rules, or grammar
Discreteness
o Can be divided into recognizable parts
Paragraphs, sentences, words, syllables, …
Structure of Language
Levels of Analysis
o Phonology
o Morphology
o Syntax
o Semantics
o Discourse
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Levels of Analysis: Phonology
Phone
o Physically discernible unit of speech sound
21 accents in 2 minutes
Accents are invented
o > sound
Phoneme
o /i/ /e/ /a/
o As in miss, mess, mass
Bugs, bats
o Category of speech sounds that are clearly different and can change meaning
of spoken signal
o Different languages use different numbers and combinations of phonemes
o About 200 phonemes have been identified
o Tone (pitch)
o > sound with meaning
April 12, 2018
Levels of Analysis: Morphology
Morpheme
o Smallest unit that denotes meaning within a particular language
Adding an -s to make something plural
o Content Morphemes
Convey bulk of the meaning
E.g., charge in recharge or lift in lifted
o Functional Morphemes
Add detail/nuance to content morphemes or help fit into grammatical
context
E.g., re- in recharge or -ed in lifted
o How is it that we are able to segment words?
o Acoustic signal is continuous, and, where discrete, provides limited
information on word boundaries
o McGurk effect
Bar vs far with different visual feedback
Interaction of bottom-up and top-down processes is at work
Stress patterns and rhythm of speech help distinguish words
Regularities in own language to parse words
o Mondegreens- misheard word boundaries
Song lyrics
Bottom-up information fails us, top-down processing leads to
resolution of ambiguous lyrics
Levels of Analysis: Syntax
Syntax
o The way in which users of a particular language put words together to form
sentences
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