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LING 100 Midterm II Study Guide

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LING 100
Chung- Hye Han

LING 100 Midterm II Study LANGUAGE AND THE BRAIN Brain Structure: - Gray matter: 10 billion neurons (nerve cells) form surface of the brain (Cortex), the seat of higher-level functions and intelligence, including language - White matter: underneath, billions of connecting fibres, tend to be associated with more basic functions such as movement, balance, hormonal balance, and heartbeat - Divided into 2 cerebral hemispheres, connected by corpus callosum - Contralateral brain function: Left hemisphere controls the right side of body & vice versa Lateralization: Each hemisphere is responsible for different functions - Case 1: A musician with a stroke in his right hemisphere (Trask 1995) - Case 2: Aphasic patients with left-hemisphere damage and singing - Case 3: Left/right-hemisphere damage and emotion detection - Left-side function: Language, logic, math, looks at parts, interpretation, analysis - Right-side function: Musical ability, creative ability, intuitive reasoning, looks at wholes, synthesis, visual representation & pattern recognition - Exception: about 1/3 of left-handed people have language in right hemisphere; some people with left-hemisphere damage successfully re-learn language, using the right hemisphere - Our brain is modular, yet flexible Evidence for Language Lateralization - Neurolinguistics: study of relationship between language behaviour and the brain - Language is controlled by one side of the brain o Main sources of evidence: Aphasia, test (PET, fMRI, dichotic listening), language impairment since childhood, split brains, sign language Aphasia - Lesions to left side of brain = impaired language function - Loss of speech after lesion to the brain (usually a stroke) - Not due to any general cognitive/intellectual impairments, or loss of motor/sensory controls of nerves & muscles of speech organs or hearing apparatus - Some people do recover, children have better change. Left-handed people recover more frequently, as well as right- handers who have left-handed parents, siblings, or relatives Brocas Aphasia - Damage to Brocas area = loss of syntactic ability o labored speech, word-finding pauses, loss of function words, disturbed word order, difficulty figuring out grammatical functions of sentences (determining who did what to whom) Wernickes Aphasia - Errors in production of words (Semantic ability ) & difficulty in comprehension of speech - Speaks fluently, but with numerous lexical errors, often producing nonsense phrases Tests - Non-invasive tests can be performed on normal brains & patients with lesions o pinpoints specifically which areas of the brain are responsible for different parts of language - PET (Positron Emission Tomography): detects in colour areas of the brain that are working at any given moment; a small dose of chemical is injected to show the contrast - fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging): takes pictures of brain while subject is performing tasks, shows increased blood flow to areas involved - Dichotic listening: 2 different stimuli (words/numbers/sounds) are sent via headphones to each ear o subjects report more accurately linguistic stimuli sent to right ear (controlled by L side of brain) and non- linguistic stimuli sent to left ear (controlled by R side) Language Impairment since Childhood - Children with lesions in left hemisphere have trouble acquiring language, especially syntactic functions. Lesions in right hemisphere do not affect language acquisition. - Children with removed left hemisphere do better in visual & spatial abilities than those with removed right hemisphere (& vice versa for language abilities) - IQ scores & cognitive abilities are equivalent no matter which hemisphere is removed Split Brains - Cut corpus callosum as a means of controlling epilepsy reveals left brain is responsible for verbal tasks o apple in left hand = can use it, cant name it / apple in right hand = can name it, cant use it Sign Language & The Brain - Spoken languages based on auditory-temporal abilities, sign languages based on visual-spatial abilities - Damage to left hemisphere = linguistic problems, damage to right hemisphere = visual-spatial problems - Deaf signers with damage to left hemisphere show similar aphasia for sign language as in hearing aphasics - Deaf patients with damage to Brocas area (left h.) show severe dysfluent , aggrammatical sign production o Deaf patients with damage to Wernickes area (left h.) produce disorganized signing & show difficulty in comprehending others linguistic signs But both have no difficulty producing & comprehending non-linguistic gestures & forms - Deaf signers with damage to right hemisphere are fluent and accurate in production and comprehension of linguistic signs o But have trouble recognizing & producing non-linguistic visual-spatial forms: creating/copying drawings, noticing obvious in left visual field - both Brocas & Wernickes areas in left hemisphere are activated when producing & comprehending linguistic signs - Visual-spatial ability in left hemisphere o perceiving & producing local-level features of visual stimulus o selecting & assembling appropriate sounds & words to form a sentence - Linguistic ability in right hemisphere o responsible for global-level spatial perception and manipulation o coherently conduct & comprehend extended discourse - Deaf signers with damage to right hemisphere o problems with extended discourse, severe impairment to spatial abilities, but no trouble signing a coherent story, mild visual-spatial problems o cognitive systems in r. h. that support non-linguistic spatial abilities are different from ones that support extended discourse - Deaf signers with damage to left hemisphere o problems with local-level features of drawings, but no correlation between severity of local-level spatial deficits & severity of sign language deficits o sign language abilities are independent of nonlinguistic spatial abilities - While sign language relies on visual input, part of brain that is responsible for processing it is the area mostly responsible for linguistic processing, not visual-spatial processing how is this possible? o Hickok, Bellugi, and Klima: The brain is a highly modular organ visual input processing is not confined to a single region of the brain, but routed to different modules in the brainLanguage Autonomy Is language related to other forms of cognition? - Specific Language Impairment (SLI): impairment that prevents certain children from acquiring language normally, although intelligence is normal o Children with Turners syndrome & Williams syndrome exhibit normal or advanced languages, but have serious general cognitive deficits - General belief: language is autonomous (does not derive from our general cognitive capability) o many mechanism involved in language comprehension: experience of word/previous linguistic situations interpretation of new linguistic forms Language Acquisition: The First Sounds - Pacifier sucking experiment (Peter D. Eimas), Head turning experiment (Patricia Kuhl) - Infants before 6 months old respond to phonetic contrasts (ie. r vs l, aspirated/un-aspirated) even when these differences are not phonemic in the language spoken in babys speech community o will not respond to sound signals that never signal phonemic contrasts in any human language o could not have learned to perceive phonetic distinctions & ignore other non-linguistic differences o from 6 months on, babies lose the ability to distinguish non-phonemic sounds in their language Babbling - begin around 6 month, produce many sounds that dont occur in parents language, acquire pitch & intonation contours - vocalizations produced by deaf infants are
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