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Language and Speech Comprehension

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PSYC 100
Ingrid Johnsrude

Language and Speech Comprehension - True verbal ability is a social behaviour - We use language as a tool in remembering and thinking Psycholinguistics  A branch of psychology devoted to the study of verbal behaviour  Concerned with human cognition  How verbal behaviour develops Recognition of speech sounds  Auditory system enables us to recognize speech sounds  Human vocalizations are clearly distinguished  Filter sounds  Auditory system recognizes patterns of speech  Humans responded more in the temporal lobe  Left hemisphere plays a large role in analyzing details of speech Key properties of language  Semanticity o The extent to which a form of communication can meaningfully represent ideas, events and objects  Symbolically  Generativity o Having the ability to create different combinations of words  General  Displacement o The ability to use language to convey messages that are not tied to the immediate context  Communicating about past events Elements of Speech  Phoneme o the minimum unit of sound that conveys meaning in a particular language o perception of phoneme is affected by the sounds that follow it  distinguishes words from one another o Phonological rules  govern how phonemes can be combined in a given language o Morphology  Knowledge about how morphenes can be used and combined o phonemes combined to create morphemes  the smallest unit of meaning in language  (eg, fast)  free morphemes – meaningful on their own  bound morphemes must be attached to other morphemes to create meaning  (eg, est) Voice onset time  The delay between the initial sound of consonant and the onset vibration of vocal cords  Phonemic discriminations begin with auditory processing of the sensory differences  Occurs in both hemispheres Learning and Context  We are able to recognize sounds because of context o Affects the perception of words through top down processing Understanding speech Understanding Syntax  Meaning of a sentence is conveyed by o The words that are chosen o Order in which they are combined o Emphasis of the speaker o Knowledge about the world Syntax, Grammar  Syntactical rule o A grammatical rule of a particular language for combining words to form phrases and sentences o Learned implicitly (cannot be described) o Words  Function words  Conveys little of meaning  Includes determiners and quantifiers  Difficult for those with Broca’s aphasia  Content words  Convey meaning  Noun, verb, adjective  Involve memories of objects and characteristics  Visual, auditory, somatosensory, memories o Function words express the relations between content words  Affixes o Sounds we add to the beginning or end of words to alter grammatical function o (e.g., “ed” past tense)  Semantics o Word meanings
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