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The Study of Language 5 pages of comprehensive notes covering the study of language. From instinctual communication to over-extensions to problem solving techniques, this lecture outline highlights all of the key information. A large portion of the note i

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Dax Urbszat

PSY100 Monday November 22, 2010 Language  Humans are specifically built in our DNA to understand language  Primitive human language is emotion expressed in basic, universal, primal function (e.g. scrunching up face or smiling) o No one has evolved a different set  Our facial expressions occur faster than the mind can think o Called micro-expressions o Used in crime detection  There are only 100 sounds that make up every sound in any language  Babies at 4 months can identify these sounds o By the time we are 9-10 months old, our ability to recognize all the sounds is gone and we only recognize sounds that we have identified in our culture  The English language has 40 phonemes (smallest unit of sound) out of the 100  Languages are culture based  Morphemes are the smallest unit of meaning (around 50,000 of them) o The sounds “sss” is a phoneme and morpheme o 2 morphemes can combine to make phonemes, words  Body language and tone are more reliable than spoken communication because these are implicit, unconscious behaviours that we don’t have time to modify o Vocal intonation o Vocal patterns (e.g. up talking – raising intonation at end of sentence to ask questions)  Can be used to garner someone’s attention, but can be annoying  Connotation vs. Denotation o Sucks (straw) vs. sucks (crappy)  Changing posture is an important aspect of changing the way people perceive you  90% of communication is occurring at level below consciousness  E.g. example of socially anxious twin and normal (100% identification)  Truth is relative (there is no question)  Bill Clinton is master or body language o People get defensive when they are pointed at (feel like being attacked) o Uses his fist/thumb pointing because it’s not aggressive, but thoughtful  Hammer fist (hammer point home), cut through opponents argument (hand is slicing through air), everyone listen (arms and hands open up)  We don’t like people within 4 feet of us (personal space norms), PSY100 Monday November 22, 2010 o When we expect it, and someone violates it, it makes us uncomfortable (exception when in a crowded space) o Intimacy zone is for family, friends, partners  Language is dominated by the conscious part of the brain o Pre-frontal cortex, executive control function  When a baby smiles at you, there is a physiological reaction inside you (a baby smiles to make relations with you), one of the strongest communications other than crying  One of the first most common spoken syllables is “dadadada” o And the second is “mamamama” o Is it coincidence? Dax thinks not  As long as you are within the “range” it doesn’t seem to matter how long or short it takes you to learn basic functions like talking or walking  Vocabulary spurt (18-24 months) o Children 3 years can hear words one day and use them in the future, with no practice) o Fast mapping (means that this increases, start at 10 a day, increase up to 50 a day at age 5 and 6) o Even if you don’t go to school, you still learn that much that quickly o Then this all begins to disappear at age 8  If you learn a second language at before 8, you will not have an accent  If you learn after age 10, you will have an accent from your first language, no matter how subtle  E.g. Arnold Schwarzenegger  Over-extensions – learning a word and applying it too broadly o Attaching everything to the schema of “car”  Then you narrow down what it means after time  Under-extensions – ex: Dax’s son thought “wawa – water” and only applied it to water in a bottle, not in the pool, from the sky, in an ice cube  Case for Nurture (behaviourists) o Children don’t need to be told how to refine their language, as long as they have been exposed to it in their critical period and will continue to be exposed to it, they actually don’t need to be taught by parent o Children who are raised by animals, learn animal language (and it’s not 100% sure they can learn language in later years)  Case for Nurture (Nativist) o Language acquisition appears to be universal across culture o LAD (Language Acquisition Device) developed by Chomsky o Interactionist perspective prevails today  but still much more we need to understand  If cats don’t see in the first 4 months of life, they will never be able to see o If you cover their eyes from 4-8 months, they will still be able to have sight  If you are bilingual, your vocabulary (initially) is halved (e.g. 5,000 each) for each language as compared to someone who speakers one language (10
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