Chapter 9 Notes
five key higher cognitive functions: acquiring and using language, forming concepts and
categories, making decisions, solving problems, and reasoning.
Language is a system for communicating with others using signals that are combined according
to rules of grammar and convey meaning.
Grammar is a set of rules that specify how the units of language can be combined to produce
Language allows individuals to exchange information about the world, coordinate group action,
and form strong social bonds.
The 3 Striking differences distinguish of human language
First, the complex structure of human language distinguishes it from simpler signaling systems.
Second, humans use words to refer to intangible things, such as unicorn or democracy.
Third, we use language to name, categorize, and describe things to ourselves when we think,
which influences how knowledge is organized in our brains
The smallest units of sound that are recognizable as speech rather than as random noise are
Every language has phonological rules that indicate how phonemes can be combined to produce
Phonemes are combined to make morphemes, the smallest meaningful units of language
A sentence–the largest unit of language–can be broken down into progressively smaller units:
phrases, morphemes, and phonemes
Morphological rules indicate how morphemes can be combined to form words.
Content morphemes refer to things and events (e.g., “cat,” “dog,” “take”).
Function morphemes serve grammatical functions, such as tying sentences together (“and,”
“or,” “but”) or indicating time (“when”).
Syntactical rules indicate how words can be combined to form phrases and sentences
Every sentence must contain one or more nouns, which may be combined with adjectives or
articles to create a noun phrase. A sentence also must contain one or more verbs, which may be
combined with noun phrases, adverbs, or articles to create a verb phrase
Deep structure refers to the meaning of a sentence.
Surface structure refers to how a sentence is worded
Three characteristics of language development are worth bearing in mind
First, children learn language at an astonishingly rapid rate
Second, children make few errors while learning to speak, and as we’ll see shortly, the errors
they do make usually result from applying, but over generalizing, grammatical rules they’ve
Third, children’s passive mastery of language develops faster than their active mastery. Fast mapping, in which children map a word onto an underlying concept after only a single
exposure, enables them to learn at this rapid pace
telegraphic speech because they are devoid of function morphemes and consist mostly of
B. F. Skinner’s behaviorist explanation of language learning, we learn to talk in the same way we
learn any other skill: through reinforcement, shaping, extinction, and the other basic principles
of operant conditioning
The behavioral explanation
First, parents don’t spend much time teaching their children to speak grammatically.
Second, children generate many more grammatical sentences than they ever hear.
Third, as you read earlier in this chapter, the errors children make when learning to speak tend
to be overgeneralizations of grammatical rules.
nativist theory -The view that language development is best explained as an innate,
language acquisition device (LAD)-a collection of processes that facilitate language learning
genetic dysphasia, a syndrome characterized by an inability to learn the grammatical structure
of language despite having otherwise normal intelligence.
. Broca’s area is located in the left frontal cortex; it is involved in the production of the
sequential patterns in vocal and sign languages
Wernicke’s area, located in the left temporal cortex, is involved in language
comprehension (whether spoken or signed).
Four kinds of evidence indicate that the right cerebral hemisphere also contributes to
First, when words are presented to the right hemisphere of healthy participants using
divided visual field techniques
Second, patients with damage to the right hemisphere sometimes have subtle
problems with language comprehension.
Third, a number of neuroimaging studies have revealed evidence of right-
hemisphere activation during language tasks. Fourth, and most directly related to
language development, some children who have had their entire left hemspheres
removed during adolescence as a treatment for epilepsy can recover many of their
Allen and Beatrix Gardner were the f