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Final Exam Notes

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Gillian Rowe
Study Guide

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Communication: transmission of signal that conveys information
oCan be experienced through gestures, facial expressions, body language, spoken language
oEvery attempt at formal communication is an interaction between our goals and desires and the goals and
desires of others.
oOur ability to express those goals and desires in a way that can be understood by others is the main
determinant of effective communication.
oCan be seen in humans and non-humans:
Clever Hans
By tapping hoof on ground, could: count, tell time, make change; however, this was
mostly due to Hans reaction to his owner’s behaviour. Hans trainer was tipping him off
by tensing his body up.
Honeybees dance:
Forager bee locates food, returns to the hive and performs a dance
Number of repetitions of the dance communicates quality of food
Distance communicated by form of dance
Vervet Monkeys:
3 distinct calls to signal danger: (1) snakestand on hind legs and scan ground (2)
leopard – climb onto smallest branches of nearby trees (3) eagleclimb trees but stay
close to the trunk or dive into dense bushes
Behaviour related to danger distinction of sounds
Sarah the adult chimp:
Plastic symbols differing in shape, color, and size were used as words (i.e. “apple” is a
small red square)
Arranged on board
Food reward/reinforcement
Washoe (Gardner and Gardner, 1969)
Treated like human child and taught American Sign Language
Washoes trainers always conversed in ASL when around her.
Became able to use signs in novel yet appropriate combinations:
oWater bird, dirty Roger, open faucet
Had some limits (learned significantly less than a typical child, compared to their ages
and years of training)
oLanguage is taught, not just exposed to
oOver-interpretation problem
oIncomplete documentation
oLimited results: small vocabulary
oLittle evidence of grammar
oLittle evidence of productive or innovative language
Koko: raised gorilla (Patterson and Linden, 1981)
Vocabulary over 1000 signs and understands even more spoken English
Uses structure, is creative and spontaneous in her language
Invented her own new compound signs (i.e. finger-bracelet for ring)
Alex: Avian Learning Experimentthe parrot
Correctly used no” and “come here”; named over 100 objects in the environment; surfed
the internet
Language: a form of communication
oOrganized way to combine words to communicate
oPsycholinguistics: the study of acquisition, storage, comprehension, and production of language
oChomsky: human essence”

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oPinker: human instinct
oA system that has a clear hierarchical structure with different levels of analysis and key features.
oAllows mutually intelligible communication within a group of speakers.
Different levels of human spoken language analysis:
oPragmaticsstudy of rules governing social aspects of language
Knowing what to say, how to say it, and when to sat it or how to be around other people
The study of discourse and conversational skills
The study of situational determinants of the use of language
Distinction between sentence meaning (literal) and speaker meaning (information speaker trying
to convey)
Context crucial
Skills: (1) establish common ground – introduce a topic in order for the listener to fully
understand (2) maintaining a topicor changing the topic appropriately/interrupt politely (3)
appropriate eye contact – not too much staring/looking away (4) distinguishing how to talk and
behave towards different communicative partners (5) responding to gestures and non-verbal
aspects of language
Speech Acts:
Holtgraves: status on the use of direct and indirect speech acts
Different ways to get someone to do something:
oDirect: open the window
oIndirect: “could you open the window?”
Results: low status evasive replies more polite
Implications: shows how social context is important
oSemanticsstudy of meanings of words and sentences
Knowing when sentences dont make sense is your knowledge of semantics
oSyntax – study of rules for sentence structures; combining words into sentences; word order
Sentence = noun phrase + verb phrase
Noun phrase: contains a noun and relevant descriptors
Verb phrase: contains at least one verb and possibly objects it acts on
oMorphology – study of morphemes (study of word structure)
Morpheme: smallest units that carry meaning (umpires = umpire” + s)
Content morpheme: word that conveys the core of the meaning (i.e. attractive, happy)
Function morpheme: add nuances to core meaning (i.e. unattractive, happiness)
oPhonetics and phonology – study of speech sounds (phonetics); how speech sounds are combined
Phoneme: a separable unit of sound that serves as a building block of spoken language
Smallest unit of sound
Sounds of language
If changed, meaning of word changes
Understanding sentences requires semantics and syntax
Parsing : grouping of words into phrases tested via temporary ambiguity – initial words of a sentence can lead
to more than one meaning
oGarden path sentence : leads the reader down the garden path” (down a path that seems right, but turns
out to be wrong)
Key features of human spoken language:
oHierarchical structure
oArbitrariness – no inherent connection between a unit in language and the concept it denotes (words do
not have to look like/sound like what they describe)
oGenerativity – possible to create an infinite number of sentences
Using rules of language can create an unlimited number of completely new utterances
oDynamicallows for new developments with the creation of new words and ideas
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