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PSYC 2650 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Aphasia, Bootstrapping (Linguistics), Visual Acuity

Course Code
PSYC 2650
Anneke Olthof
Study Guide

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Cognitive Psychology Midterm 3
Chapter 10
Organization of Language
-at basic level, involves translating thoughts into series of sounds that can be spoken
-listener then converts series of sounds back into thoughts
-language has a hierarchical organization that allows these translations between
thought and sound
Sentence coherent sequence of words that express meaning
Word smallest free form in a language
Morpheme smallest unit of sound that can carry meaning
Phoneme smallest unit of sound that can distinguish words
-this organization is hierarchical because sentences are composed of words, words are
composed of morphemes, and morphemes are composed of phonemes
-produced by modulating flow of air from lungs to the mouth and nose, can be classified
according to features
-whether vocal folds vibrate z, d, b, v
-or not s, t, p, f
Manner of production
-whether air is fully stopped b, p, d, t
-or merely restricted z, s, v, f
Place of articulation
-where in the mouth the air is restricted:
-closing of lips b, p
-top teeth against bottom lip v, f
-tongue behind upper teeth d, t, z, s
-speech perception is complicated by the fact that there are no gaps in between
phonemes or words
-speech segmentation: process of “slicing” the speech stream into words and phonemes
-co-articulation: how the production of each phoneme is slightly altered depending on
the preceding and following sounds, as a result, no particular acoustic pattern
corresponds to a phoneme such as s, the pattern is different in different contexts
-do not only rely on stimuli we receive, we supplement this input with prior knowledge
and words and the contexts in which they appear, demonstrated with:
-phonemic restoration effect: we “hear” phonemes that are not actually present in the
stimulus if they are highly likely in context
-categorical perception: our categorization of phonemes shows abrupt boundaries, even
when there is no corresponding abrupt change in stimuli

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-phonology is also concerned with sequences of phonemes that are acceptable in
language, i.e. tl is not accepted in English
-other rules govern the adjustments that must occur when certain phonemes are uttered
in sequence, i.e. s sound becomes a z in words like bags
for each word that a speaker knows, there are several kinds of info:
Phonology: sequence of phonemes that make up the word
Orthography: how the word is spelled
Syntax: how to combine the word with other words
Semantics: what the word means
-our syntactic knowledge about a word includes whether it requires a direct object (i.e.
put) or cannot take one (i.e. sleep)
-referent: the actual object, action, or event in the world that a word refers to
-a large part of “knowing a word” is knowing the relevant concept, so the same
complexities of conceptual knowledge that we have previously encountered also apply
to words and semantics
-morphological knowledge specifies how to create variations of each word by adding
appropriate morphemes i.e. hack, hacker, hacking, hacked, this is an example of
languages generativity the capacity to create an endless series of new combinations,
all built from the same basic set of units
generativity is also a fundamental property of how words are combined in phrases and
-if you know 40,000 words and we limit a sentence to 20 words, they’re 1020 possible
sequences of words
-for practical purposes, there are an infinitely large number of sentences that speakers
can produce in their language
-syntax also provides rules that specify the kinds of sequences of words that are
-these rules also help us determine the relationships among the words in the sentence,
for instance, who was doing the chasing in the sentence
-Lewis Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky” illustrates that sentences can be syntactically and
morphologically correct, even when meaningless
-one kind of syntactic rule is a phrase-structure rule, a constraint that governs the
pattern of branching in a phrase-structure tree
-one such rule specifies that a sentence must contain a noun phrase (NP) and a verb
phrase (VP)
-note that the rules that we are describing for language are DESCRIPTIVE rule, or rules
that characterize the language as it is ordinarily used by fluent speakers

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-in contrast, PRESCRIPTIVE rules are standards for how language “ought” to be used
i.e. the rule against splitting infinitives
-phrase-structure approaches also make a distraction between competence and
competence: refers to language knowledge that might be revealed under ideal
performance: refers to the actual behavior of a speaker/listener, including errors, under
normal circumstances
-often the words of a sentence are compatible with more than one phrase structure, as
in “he wants to discuss sex with jay leno”
d-structure: refers to the underlying and abstract structure of a speaker’s intended
meaning in uttering a sentence
-many linguists believe that there are aspects of deep structure that are shared across
all human language
-such linguistic universals are rules or structural properties that apply to every human
-innate knowledge of these universals may prepare children for learning language
Sentence Parsing
-when we perceive a sentence, we must parse the sentences syntactic structure, or
assign the words to a phrase structure
-a garden-path sentence initially suggests one interpretation, which turns out to be
wrong i.e. fat people eat accumulates
-knowledge of syntax guides us in parsing sentences
-the principle of minimal attachment leads the listener to choose the simplest phrase
structure that will accommodate the words heard so far
-knowledge of semantics also guides us in parsing sentences
-whether a sentence is semantically reversible provides a cue to the relationship among
the words in the sentence
extra linguistic context: refers to factors outside of language itself i.e. the sentence “pour
the apple on the towel into the box” is a garden-path sentence, unless the sentence is
uttered with the appropriate visual context
-prosody refers to the patterns of pauses and pitch changes that characterize speech
production, it is used to:
-emphasize elements of a sentence
-highlight the sentence’s intended structure
-signal the difference between a question and an assertion
pragmatics: refers to knowledge of how language is ordinarily used i.e. well the dog
sure does look happy
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