Psycholinguistics Class Notes– PS366.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Carolyn Ensley

Psycholinguistics – PS366 Tuesday/Sept/10 Chapter 1  Language is our most important communication tool  As we grow language comes to serve other functions as well o Identifies generations o Binds groups and excludes non-peers o Gender differences  There are 9 main languages in the world and as many as 6900 dialects of these languages  Mandarin, English, Spanish, hindi, Russian, Arabic, bengali, portuguese, Japanese and german  Psycholinguistics is the psychology of language the and the psychological factors that influence language use  Psycholinguistics is related to all other departments of psychology  Studying language can be broken down in 3 categories: o Language Acquisition o Language Production o Language Comprehension  Two themes o What knowledge of language is necessary to use language? o What cognitive processes are involved in the ordinary use of language?  Most of the knowledge we use for language is ‘tacit’  Tacit knowledge is unconscious knowledge (implicit)  Explicit knowledge is conscious knowledge  ‘cognitive processes’ refers to perception, memory, and thinking  ‘ordinary use of language’ includes reading a book, writing a letter, participating in a conversation  Aphasia is a good example of the separation between cognitive and knowledge processing of language  Wundt o Theory of language production o Regarded the sentence not the word as the primary unit in language o Make sentences based on translating complete thoughts sequentially into organized speech segments o Comprehension was a reverse, take speech segments to create complete thoughts o Not that accurate  Behaviourism and verbal behaviour o Didn’t look at language but instead verbal behaviour o Language was the result of being raised in an environment where language was reinforced o Role of adult speech in the acquisition of language is not that direct o One important point that behaviourists made (which was wrong) was ‘associative chain theory’  States that a sentence consists of a chain of associations between words in the sentence  Each word is a stimulus for the next word  Sentences were processed left to right  Chomsky o Proved wrong the associative chain theory o Association between words cannot explain ‘colourless green ideas sleep furiously’ since it is syntaxically correct but not semantically correct o He also said that if it was a chain it should be read backwards and make sense… the chain of stimulus should go both ways (which it doesn’t) o Chomsky argues that parents influence language development but that the actual acquisition is innate not learned (nativist)  Current directions in psycholinguistics o Used to look at syntax, but now we look at semantics, phonology, and pragmatics o Early research looked at comprehension now looking at production o fMRI and other brain imaging techniques are being used to look at the neurological mechanisms of language o applied psycholinguistics are emerging and influencing reading, bilingualism, and language disorder Thursday/Sept/12 Chapter 10  Prelinguistic communication o exists until early part of second year 12 months o tug on clothing point and wave o basic but they tell us a lot o shows that child understands that actions can be used to achieve goals o communication precedes phonology syntax and semantics o communication occurs after children develop a theory of mind… they learn that other people are separate from themselves o often occurs at the same time pointing starts  definitions o phoneme is the smallest unit of language that conveys meaning o morpheme is the smallest grammatical unit in language o syntax are grammatical rules that tell us how to put words together o pragmatics are social conventions that tell us what words to use when  Language acquisition  Prenatal language recognition o Infants that are exposed to specific speech before birth can recognize it after birth, much evidence supports this o Newborns prefer their mother’s voices which suggests that we are prepared to perceive language at birth  Parentese: tacit knowledge of how to teach language to children, universal o Child directed speech which is higher in pitch, more variable in speech and more exaggerated o Probably designed to maintain attention o Evidence that infants actually prefer baby talk o Caregivers also use different intonation to introduce a new word to the infant to get the child’s attention o Encourage infants to participate in conversation even before they are able to o Caregiver counts burps etc as speech o Laying the basis for teaching that communication is intentional and that there are rules such as turn taking  Prelinguistic gestures o Before 10 months babies vocalize in a way with communicative value o Text lists cooing and giggling, actually more like varied screaming and whining in my experience o Don’t try new method of communication if one doesn’t work though, just keep doing what they started o Not communicating at this age is a marker for many disorders, both cognitive and social  Beginning intentional communication o Purposeful behaviour leads to earliest communications o Tend to be assertions and requests o Assertions are the use of an object to get attention o Requests are the use of an adult as a means to an object o You can see the link between purposeful behaviour and purposely using an object to get attention or purposely getting an adult’s attention directly to get an object  Pointing and language acquisition o Specific type of purposeful behaviour o Children learn to point at about 10 months of age just before they speak o Major cognitive marker of a theory of mind which shows evidence that the child knows that the observer can see what they can see o Not all animals understand pointing, only some primates and humans do o Can be used as assertions or requests  Flash forward to evolution of language o They say ontogeny follows progeny  Development follows changes in species o Often look at language emerges to get an idea about how and maybe why language evolved o First communications are assertions and requests through pointing followed by words that do the same thing o Finding a better way to get the job done may have been the first use of language more on this later…  Communicative competence: Shatz 1978 o Showed that young children respond to complex sentences by acting on the object in the sentence o Why don’t you put the doll in the swing  Calls for action response o Do you want to put the doll in the swing  Calls for informing response o Shatz showed that children didn’t understand grammar at this point  The importance of Shatz o Children who aren’t using grammar don’t understand grammar o Don’t assume a child’s response to a complex sentence means they understand it  How do these communication skills affect the development of phonology? o Phonology develops alongside other communication skills o As soon as they learn early speech sounds infants use them for the same things they use gestures for o First attempts with sound are the practice not communication o May know more about phonology than they can produce o Children can identify sound distinctions they cannot produce o Called the ‘fis’ phenomenon (they say fis instead of fish) o Cant look at production to understand phonological development in children  Evidence for categorical perception infancy o Categorical perception is the perception of a phoneme as belonging to one group or another even when aspects of the phoneme like voice onset are varied o We have categorical perception for ba and pa o The boundaries for categorical perceptions are learned though based on what language we are exposed to  Spanish and English have different VOTs for ba and pa distinction, early on both children would perceive ba and pa the same, by one year at the category would shift  Because children are born with the ability to distinguish category boundaries that they later lose it suggests this is an innate ability  The role of language experience o At 6-9 months infants can distinguish between highly probable syllables and improbable ones o Infants can recognize their own name by 4.5 months o The probable/less probable distinction is important for word segmentation  Pretty baby  Infant would hear prettybaby  As they learn what a syllable is they will begin to be able to parse into words pretty and baby o Evidence on 8 month olds can parse long streams of syllables  Varied statistical probabilities within the strings  Preferred novel string to old string  Was it because of probability judgments or were they parsing into words?  Marcus 1999 shows that infants at 9 months recognize when a new syllable is added to nonsense syllable they have been exposed to at length  The role of prosodic factors o Can children learn intonation quickly too? o Newborns can distinguish between foreign languages that have different rhythm patterns o Looks like prosodic factors may precede categorical perception o Many theories of the evolution of language suggest that prosody was the first linguistic tool this is consistent with that  The development of speech production o Babbling  2 months  start with coos at the end of second month  more varied than cries  start at back of the mouth like velar consonants (ga, ka)  7 months  reduplicated babbling which means repeat bababa etc  11 or 12 months  variegated babbling, baadababaga  also impose sentence like contours on their babbling  often with say first word o categorical perception for other languages declining at the age, shows increase of phonetic knowledge for native language o babbling is play before communication o early sounds are sloppier o babble more when adults aren’t present  Transition to speech o end of first year o gestures and phonology are coming together o ready to communicate meaning o greater motor control o cognitive maturation: things have names! o Sometimes make up own names for things in the mean time  Called idiomorphs  Simplifications of adult speech  Might be due to limited memory capacity  The importance of idiomorphs o Highlight several important aspects of development o Indicates that language is creative o Children have learned it’s important to be consistent when referring to objects  Phonological processes in early words o Age 1 o Start to use words, sometimes they sound correct, sometimes not  Why are they making mistakes? o Dealing with phonology syntax and semantics etc o Still just have central executive to do it ALL o Because language is new a lot of resources are needed just for phonology o System cant handle all the details so things are simplified o Consistent with types of simplifications we see o Consistent with the fact that children can imitate words they don’t say spontaneously o Psychologically valid! Tuesday/Sept/17  One word at a time o Most early utterances are one word long o By 19 months they may put 2 words together o During one word phase they  Master the names of common objects  Interactions become more tangible and they can begin to learn from the parent  Begin commenting using just one word, practice for longer utterances later  Lexical development o 14000 words by age 6 o starting at 18 months this is 8 words a day o children ‘know’ words in different ways o several variations on a verb mean this estimate is higher than the entries o may not know every word on lexical semantic syntactic levels  Early words o Begin with words that focus on here and now o Toys clothes and food o Have bias towards moving objects… learn them faster than stationary objects o Vocabulary is not limited to nominal o Specific nominals: mommy o Action words: go, up o Modifiers: pretty, dirty o Social words: please, want o Function words: what, for o Non-manipulated items like diapers, clothing and trees for example are not on the list  The role of adult speech o Original word game o Brown came up with this term o Child says “what’s dat?” adult says name, child tries to repeat it o Adult may ask child to name an object o Can go awry many ways o Point to an ostrick what is it? Bird or ostrich? o Caregivers usually choose the basic level word o Can move up or down hierarchy from there o So we use child directed speech to get to first words, and we use these types of games to help them at this age  Holophrases o Single word that means more than one word o Child says “water” it means I would like some water please o Show continuity with prelinguistic gestures that use one hand to get an idea across o Greenfield and Smith o Shows that holophrases are words used differently in different contexts o Very systematic o Fits well the fact that gestures and intonation are available at this age but syntax isn’t o Children tend to use a gesture and a holophrase as a mid point between one and two word sentences  Summary o Children show rapid gains in lexical development during the second year o Most early words refer to concrete aspects of objects o Adult naming facilitates lexical development o Young children use single words to express more complex ideas o Likely using context and one word rather than understanding syntax and simplifying o Not clear what grammatical knowledge children have at the holophrase stage  Early grammar o Children’s early grammar reveals neither imitation of adults nor full adult grammar o Early stages of acquisition are similar in signed and spoken languages o Age 2  Begin to use word combinations  What needs to be learned varies from language to language  In English must lean word order  In inflected languages such as Turkish inflection is learned  Differences in what has to be learned surely impacts how grammar develops  Measures of syntactic growth o Age is not a good predictor of syntactic growth o Have constructed an index to facilitate the comparison across children at the same stage of language development  Mean length of utterances in morphemes (MLU) o A morpheme is a unit that conveys meaning such as cat, s, ed, walk  Cats and walked both are 2 morphemes long  Brown (1973) o MLU counting of morphemes per utterance o Some words that would be two morphemes to an adult are one to a child such as birth/day o Unless there is proof the child knows birth and day o Using MLU divided language development into five stages  What is learned by stage o Stage 1: single word, putting together words o Stage 2: learning to modulate using grammatical morphemes o Stage 3 and 4: learning more complex abilities like questions and negatives o Stage 5: grammar should be fully formed o Most research looks at the stages 1 and 2, argue that the MLU less valuable after that o For now we will focus on children’s first grammatical utterances  The structure of early utterances o Children tend to start with content words and leave out function words o Shows the child understand the grammatical distinction of what is needed and what isn’t o Words are put together in a systematic order according to a system the child is currently using  Early comprehension o Children put words together using semantic or position rules not syntax o Can they understand syntax?  Referential vs expressive o Referential is most common and learned nouns verbs etc that related to their environment o Expressive strategy is social interaction determines language acquisition  Expressive children have more diverse vocabularies and say things like stop it and I want it  Expressive used intonation and would use dummy terms when they didn’t know a word to make the sentence sound correct  Referential children named objects, expressive looked at language as a social tool  What do the differences mean? o Differences imply differences in later development o Referential begin with words and combine to sentences o Expressive learn whole sentences then break them into words  Environmental factors for different types o Amount of type of speech influences language style o Mothers of referential children more descriptive o Mothers of expressive more interactive  Conclusion o Semantics, syntax, pragmatics and phonology develop at different rates in different kids o Don’t follow a neat pattern Thursday/Sept/19  Bilingualism and second language acquisition o Contexts of childhood bilingualism o Can learn in many situations o Simultaneous learning of 2 languages o Sequential later learning a second language o Countries like Papua New Guinea and the Philippines have many local languages but children are taught only English in school  Bilingual first language acquisition o Some argue that young children are the best at learning two languages o Other argue that it slows down both languages  Course of development o Evidence that the course of development of syntax is the same in both bilingual children and in monolingual children o Rate of development  Mixed results  Some found similar development, others showed bilingual children are delayed  Petitto et al found bilingual children both in French/English and French/French sign language home developed first two words sentences at the same time as monolingual children  Gathercole o Found that bilinguals lagged in many syntactic measures  Count nouns were delayed (candle/candles)  Mass nouns (two buckets of mud/two buckets of muds) o No evidence that the process was different but evidence that the process was delayed o Also found grammatical gender issues o In spanish and French you need to know gender, if bilingual this is learned later o Takes more work to learn two languages and children won’t actually learn both unless they have about 60/40 split between the two  Interference o Do children produce half English half French sentences? o Children will mix languages if their parents mix languages to them until they are about 3 then they can separate them better o Petitto also found little life long interference between the languages o Most interference is at the lexical level… fill in a missing word in an English sentence with French noun o May be because they lack the lexical item in their home tongue o May be that they associate certain words in certain languages because of context  Second language acquisition o Many children attain a second language after gaining proficiency in their second language o Call first language L1 and second L2 o Usually between the ages of 5 and 9 years, rarely after 12  Language transfer o Does the first language influence/transfer to the acquisition of the second language? o Testable hypotheses  Ease of acquiring a feature of L2 should be related to its similarity to L1  Errors in L2 should reflect L1 rules o Many L2 theorists don’t agree with transfer o Same processes involved in all language acquisition and similarity of languages has no effect  Acquisition of grammatical morphemes in the second language o English speakers learn the morphemes in a fixed order, does this transfer? o Dulay and Burt looked at Spanish and chinese speaking children acquiring English morphemes o Plural acquired first, them progressive –ing, then contractible copula, then contractible auxiliary, then articles, then past irregular, third person singular and the possessive  Morpheme acquisition in L2 o Order is similar but not the same o Older learners over the age of 12 learned morphemes in a similar order to younger second language learners o Suggests that language transfer not really occurring in a major way o Children in French immersion in Ontario make many English based errors o Also believe that when we look at transfer we need to look at context… transfer more likely when immersed in L2 and have few L1 speaking peers  Phonology and transfer o L2 learners perceive based on L1 categories o Soooo English and Spanish speakers hear p and b boundary differently o Continue to hear at native boundary and only young learners of English ever had had a switch o Fledge found that more different sounds are easier to learn in L2 o Probably related to the fact that we learn categorical boundaries so very young  Cognitive consequences of bilingualism o Metalinguistic awareness o If you learn two languages you learn two ways of referring to the things in your environment o Does this mean bilingual children have a better grasp on the fact that language is arbitrary?  No relation between word and referent? o Perhaps bilingual children are more attentive to language in general?  Word awareness o Bilingualism may also facilitate early reading skills  Phonological awareness transferred from language to language o Probably related to similarity of two languages  Implications for education o If L2 interferes with L1 then immersion is a bad idea o If L2 helps L1 then immersion is a good idea o Evidence seems to suggest that good immersion may help o But I ask what are the consequences for other topics of study in the classroom like math? o Started to teach only ½ days in French at some schools for first few immersion years  Cognitive control o May have better cognitive control is you are bilingual o Better at selective attention o Bialystok found smaller simon effect in bilingual adults *google simon effect  Problem solving and creativity o Early studies showed detriment  Probably because of socioeconomic not bilingualism o Later tests showed advantages for bilinguals on tasks that required symbolic flexibility o Some critics say they weren’t balances bilinguals but bilinguals self selected as better at languages as young children o Bilinguals sometimes have an advantage if they are highly proficient but they may be highly proficient because of the advantage  Nonverbal intelligence predicts bilingualism later on  Obviously a close link between cognition and language  Does one cause the other or do they draw on the same source?  Summary o Some people argue that young children can effortlessly acquire two or more languages others see it as a hindrance o Neither is supported by research o Research shows that bilingual children show greater linguistic awareness that mono children o Evidence that there may be a cognitive advantage as well when there is proficiency Thursday/Sept/26  Factors influencing language acquisition o We look at language in terms of  Environmental factors  Cognitive processes  Linguistic mechanisms o Studies of feral and isolated children indicate that severe neglect may retard language acquisition  Still not clear as to why this is  Biopsychosocial model o When looking at all things in psychology, we must look at biological mechanisms, psychological issues and social environment  Environment: feral and isolated children o Feral children are children raised entirely in the wild o Lane refers to Victor found in aveyron France as the wild boy of Aveyron o Found in 1797 at about age 12, no speech, normal hearing but grunted a bit o Physician named Itard took him in and tried to teach him to speak for 5 years  Showed him object and gave name  Voctor would name objects presented by wouldn’t request them by name  Victor’s other problems with language o Developed gestural communication which may have interfered o Had trouble understanding words o Shown a book, told the word book, thought book only referred to that specific book o In general progress was poor  Why couldn’t victor learn language? o Itard’s training was wrong o Past critical period of language acquisition o Victor was retarded and that is why he was abandoned o Lane argues that victor was normal when born but isolation led to problems with language  Isolated children o Some children grow up with almost no human contact o Genie: no contact from age 20 months to 13.5 years found in 1970 o Background: father didn’t want children, mother did o Father murdered the first two children  Genie’s awful life o Lived strapped to a chair and in a straightjacket o Caged at night, harnessed by day o Father didn’t speak to her and prevented other family from seeing her o Not TV or radio, could not hear speech from other parts of the house o When she made sounds she was beaten  Genie’s status o Severely undernourished o No social skills o Placed in a program for language remediation but made slow uneven gains o Phonology: intonation was okay but substituted speech sounds o Semantics: rapid development, exceeded what you see in first years of life o Syntax: very slow, few grammatical morphemes no complex syntactical devices o Cognitive development exceeded language development o Genie reflected with language but never got the syntax  The critical period hypothesis o Children need language early on to develop properly o Argument: neurological changes that occur that leave language less accessible later  Not clear what these are  Changes appear to occur near puberty o Few empirical studies of the hypothesis  Johnson and Newport (1989) o Looked at koren and chinese immigrants who came to the US between ages 3 and 39 o After 16 years of age it seemed that it was more difficult for individuals to learn the new language  Does the critical hypothesis exist? o Critical period would predict there is an abrupt change in whether a person can or can’t acquire a new language o Decline is not that steep, it is more gradual  What is the impact of motherese? o Just because we speak this way doesn’t mea it helps o We also talk to dogs and plants in motherese o The motherese hypothesis o Relationship between speech adjustments and development o Strong hypothesis: may be necessary for language to develop properly o If so, no motherese should mean no language o Weaker hypothesis: assists in development  Two approaches to studying motherese o Correlational studies  Found limited relationship between the ways adults speak and speech development  More yes/no questions leads to more auxiliaries  Odd because this shows that simplifying language leads to more complex speech  Not consistent with general motherese hypothesis that motherese is necessary for language development o Another approach o Experimental approach  Children aged 30 to 40 moths  Split into 3 groups  First group the parents would recast the sentence  Second group would recast with extra info  Third group would give a brand new sentence o Result: recast group showed slight advantage over the other groups  What does these studies mean? o Direct link between adult speech and children’s linguistic development o But they don’t show that specific adult speech is necessary for language development o Support weak form of motherese hypothesis  Conclusions concerning environmental factors o Feral and isolated children show us that exposure to language is necessary for language development o But is this sufficient?  Chomsky says no, the poverty of stimulus argument  Must be innate forces as well o Some sa motherese is evidence that environment is the key to learning language o Best conclusion: environment is necessary but not sufficient for the acquisition of language  Cognitive processes o Obviously need some cognitive processes in place to acquire language (storage, retrieving, planning, analyzing incoming sounds) o Necessary but probably not sufficient on its own  We know this because the feral children who didn’t acquire language may have had normal cognition  Slobin: the good parts o Can explain certain patterns of early speech  Children speaking all languages used fixed word order even when it doesn’t matter in their language  Avoiding exceptions may explain overregularization  Avoiding breaking up linguistic units may explain why questions often start as a negative declarative sentence o These are some of the cognitive prerequisites children need to have to learn language or benefit from linguistic experience  Problems: circularity o Came up with the principles by looking at language o Principles thought to form language o Which came first? o Need evidence for these principles outside of language  Sensorimotor schemata o Prom Piagetian stage that goes to about age 2  Take in sensory information by acting on it o Includes banging, sucking, and throwing o Once children have object permanence they don’t depend on sensorimotor experiences as much o Shouldn’t this impact language?  Predictions o Children who do not have object permanence wil onlu use language related to immediate environment  Lots of supporting evidence o When object permanence is mastered children will change language to refer to things that are not immediately available  Lots of examples such as all gone and more  Some experiments have found simultaneous acquisition of words and permanence o Conclusion: cognition and language are linked but the links may be very close to each other  Impairments of language and cognition o Links between language and cognition have been found when there is an impairment in cognition such as down syndrome o Language delays are proportional to other cognitive delays o But sometimes there is a big difference between cognitive and linguistic functioning  William’s syndrome o Mental processing problems, normal syntax and normal MLU o Syntax can exist without semantic knowledge, this has been shown in many case studies o If normal cognitive development is necessary for normal language than this shouldn’t happen o Need to look beyond cognitive factors to explain language acquisition  Summary o Research has progressed on the assumption that certain cognitive processes are necessary for language but there are some dissociations between cognition and language o Shows that cognition while associated with language may not be necessary nor sufficient for it o Environment may be necessary but not sufficient o What about biology? Tuesday/Oct/1  Innate mechanisms o Most controversial of the processes  Some think it’s necessary  Some are skeptical  Some thing its downright wrong (like B.F. Skinner)  The language bioprogram hypothesis o Bickerton o Innate grammar that is available if our environment is insufficient o Pidgins and Creoles o Pidgin: arises when speakers of mutually exclusive languages interact such as workers brought from several countries as cheap labour. A version of the dominant language, just enough to get by o Creole: children of these immigrants acquire pidgin. Don’t have access to dominant language o Creoles abounded during the colonization eras o Looked at creoles in Hawaii o Developed between 1900 and 1920 looked at people who moved to Hawaii and had children during this time period o Speech of pidgin speakers was rudimentary  No syntax, little word order, complex sentences were absent  No subordinate clauses, sometimes no verbs, no anaphor system (referential system not involving the actual noun) o Despite impoverished environment the children of the pidgin speakers developed a creole  Consistent word order, use of complete sentences with relative clauses  Structural rules from other languages rather than no rules at all such as pidgin o Bickerton argued that this is proof of an innate language bioprogram that creates a language when insufficient environmental stimuli exist  Bickerton’s critics o Sophistication of creole based on English exposure on plantations o Differed from English in many ways, little contact o Similarities could be because there were similarities in the prepidgin language o Parents immigrated from Portugal, similar to English in some ways  More support for bioprogram? o Further support from congenitally deaf children o Deaf children who are not taught formal sign language, educated through lip reading o Developed homesign that was similar to normal language o Acquired homesign in same sequence and had morphemes for temporal and spatial  Differences in meaning  Sign language in Nicaragua o No formal education for deaf children in Nicaragua until 1979 o Then deaf children brought together o Created sign pidgin called LSN o Children exposed to the pidgin eventually developed a full fledged creole sign language called ISN o No consistency in LSN, consistency in ISN  What happens to the bioprogram when normal input is given? o Bickerton says the bioprogram is suppressed o Preemption principle: the dominant language will prevail  Parameter setting o Bickerton’s bioprogram is a specific instance of parameter setting o Grammar is a set of parameters or rules with a finite number of switches o Different languages have different ones on and off o All languages based on a combination of these grammars o Chomsky argues we are born with these parameters but they are not set yet o Acquiring language involves determining which parameters are on and off  The value of parameters o Explains rapid acquisition of language  Pinker o Argues that it would be difficult to acquire language from positive evidence alone (examples from parents)  Positive evidence is consistent with a greater number of grammars than any one language possesses  Need negative evidence to rule out competing grammars o Pinker claimed parents don’t give enough negative evidence o Present but not always available o Must have innate linguistic mechanism like subset principle are needed  Brown and Hanlon o Looked at how parents corrected their children o Made few corrections of syntactic errors, some on semantic o Yet children learn language o Replicated many times  The nativist view o Not a lot of evidence against it o Lots of evidence for it o Children from even a poor environment acquire language (poverty of stimulus argument again) o But is the bioprogram sufficient for language?  Feral/isolated don’t acquire language well  Some sort of critical period o Innate mechanism not sufficient to explain language acquisition  Elman et al o Argue that in cases like the Nicaraguan sign language it may be a case of problem solving not innate grammar or language o Jackendoff  Points out that adults would have a robust drive as well if it were innate but they obtain pidgins not creoles… why not work harder and get a creole if it’s innate? Chapter 13: models of biological language processing  Experimental studies of aphasia o Different brain damage leads to different aphasia o Broca’s: left hemi near motor cortex, problems with production and some syntax o Wernicke’s: left hemi near auditory cortex, problems with comprehension and semantic organization o Conduction: no communication between Broca’s and Wernicke’s, can’t repeat  Carramazza and Zurif o Looked at people with broca’s wernicke’s and conduction aphasia o Given sentence and had to match it to a picture o The book that the girl is reading is yellow (nonreversible) o Here all the person needs to understand is that the girl is reading the book o The horse that the bear is kicking is brown (reversible) o Must know that the horse is kicking the bear to understand  Results o Wernicke’s: did poorly on both types of sentences o Broca’s and Conductive Aphasics: did well on nonreversible but not reversible was at chance o Suggests both have syntactic deficits o Some specific syntax must be in Broca’s area, conductive aphasics have trouble because of the dissociation between Broca’s and Wernicke’s  Zurif et al o Broca’s and wernicke’s patients listened to sentences and were show related or unrelated words in a lexical decision task o If processing trace then they should show priming o Wernicke’s showed priming, broca’s did not o Broca’s can’t activate words quickly enough o Comprehension is slowed because of a general slowing of processing  Broca’s patient’s comprehension strategies o Can comprehend: it was the girl who chased the boy o Can’t comprehend: it was the boy whom the girl chased o First noun is treated like the agent  Implications for understanding normal comprehension o Is it true that language comprehension and production are distinct, as suggested by aphasias? o Category specific dissociations o Lose ability to name colours, vegetables, other categories  Suggests that is neurological damage can selective affect lexicon than the lexicon is organized neurologically  Summary o Aphasias demonstrate dissociations between linguistic components that would be difficult to find other ways o Distinctions between comprehension and production are clearly biologically based  Language laterality o Left hemisphere: seat of language in most people (also seat of ASL) o Right hemisphere:  More involved in spatial skills  Split brain patients could use left hand to identify shapes by feel but not right hand  Some limited language ability  Darwin o Right ear advantage for most language in dichotic listening tasks o In Darwin’s task had to determine pitch contour (rising, falling, rising then falling…) o In word format  Showed left ear advantage  Conclusion: REA does not occur when the task is not linguistically significant Thursday/Oct/3 Chapter 13  Hemispheres and language: laterality o Left hemisphere dominant for language o Many studies show this using dichotic listening tasks o Sounds or words presented to right or left ear, response required o When language related there is a right ear advantage (REA) o Sometimes there is a LEA when not speech related, read up on this in the text!  Bihrle et al o Looked at humour and comprehension in LH and RH damaged individuals o Shown two cartoon frames, had to choose a third that would funniest o RH damaged had more difficulty with this o RH often chose a funny ending that was unrelated to the other frames o LH chose an ending that was appropriate to context but not funny o RH adept at detecting surprise, LH adpt at continuity o Appreciation of humour depends on BOTH hemispheres  Studies of the lexicon o LH seems to suppress inappropriate meaning more quickly of the right o Burgess and Simpson o Used a lexical decision task with priming o Lexical items primed by dominant or subordinate meaning of the word  Dominant house->home  Subordinate house->keep o Varied time between prime and target o Presented to right or left visual field o RVF: immediate facilitation that decreased over time for subordinate o LVF: immediate facilitation for both that was sustained and even increased o Automatic spreading activation occurs in both hemispheres but only the LH can suppress it  Development of laterality o Lenneberg claims that laterality is not present at birth  Looked at studies of hemispherectomies; children can develop language o But these children show some deficits in complex grammar o Studied at age 9-10 and seemed similar except for grammar problems  What does this mean? o The brain is much more plastic when we are younger o Some laterality likely at birth because of handedness frequencies (would be 50/50 otherwise) o Laterality could still exist but increased plasticity could allow for greater recovery o Ties in with sensitive period for language  Perhaps during this time we are using left hemisphere for language, otherwise the hemisphere is used for other things, like manual dexterity  Summary o Studies of split brain patients clarify the roles of the hemispheres in language  LH is more linguistically sophisticated  RH more involved in ambiguity and pragmatics o Studies of dichotic listening tasks show REA for speech and LEA for non speech  Evolution of language o Many theories over the years  Arose from animal calls  Imitation of physical sounds  Grunts o Known as ‘bow wow’, ‘ding dong’ and ‘heave ho’ theories o All wrong and for a while scientists were discouraged from studying it  Phylogenesis of humans o Humans did not evolved from chimpanzees, we had a common ancestor about 6 MYA o Hard to say what the ancestor was… it is the missing link so to speak  Questions about the evolution of language o When did it emerge o When did our ancestors use language-like systems o Why did it emerge o Darwinian logic would assume it was a survival issue o At some point some of our ancestors had language and others didn’t o The ones with language survived.. why?  To ways to look at these questions o Examine the fossil record  Clues about behaviour of ancestors and anatomy o Behavioural studies of other animals  Look at similarities and differences in language capacity and lateralization of the brain  Communication in present day primates o Our closest relatives lack anything even close to language in their natural environment o Primate communication in the wild  A few gestures and noises  Alarm calls, mating displays, submissive gestures, food related calls o To be language there must be  Arbitrariness  Duality of patterning  Communication studies in chimps o Cant teach chimps to speak o Tokens, sign language, sign boards o All similar results o Chimp acquires small vocabulary and uses it to get what they want  Puts symbols together but no evidence for real grammar; can teach to offspring though  Some say that it is all imitation  Other say that chimps are capable of more and they have been limited by the lab  Look up washoe nim and kanzi for details  Does Kanzi use grammar? o Pinker says he doesn’t get it o He doesn’t use function words or inflections or tenses o Doesn’t distinguish between statements, questions and commands o Pygmy chimps are clearly bright and better at language than other chimps they do not possess language like humans do  Conclusions from chimpanzees signing studies o Chimps can acquire some aspects of human language and transmit it to the next generation without human intervention  Survival value of language o Can learn about predators indirectly o Can learn about food indirectly o Can share food more easily o Can learn from other members of a group o Can better maintain a group by knowing each other’s state of mind  Possible evolutionary sequences o Spoken language developed very recently o Developed larger pharyngeal area, needed for the vowels (a) (i) (u) o Must have been for important reason because it makes us more vulnerable to choking (perhaps because we were already communicating) o Survival advantage for larger pharyngeal area greater than risk from choking o First we developed bigger brains, then spoken language  Donald’s hypothesis o Drought led to deforestation about 7MYA o Quadrapedal pre-hominids starting to walk on two legs o Faster, able to reach more food sources, sun protection o We see first bipedal hominid about 6MYA (Lucy) o Still had a small brain but had pelvis for walking o Anstralopithecines o Bipedal hominids had free hands o Began to increase manual dexterity although probably didn’t have tools o Increased brain size a little but because of pelvis babyhood lasted longer o Needed to develop family groups and food sharing o Food sharing led to rudimentary communication (likely prosodic)  Prosody are emotional sounds that are distinct from language  Also led to bigger brains  Homo habilis o Literally means handy man o First hominid to use tools o Walked mostly upright o Looked more human  Homo habilis and tools o Use of tools would have led to the evolution of a bigger brain, particularly in terms of planning and dexterity  Only needed one dexterous hand, evolved in one hemisphere, the left  Pressure for brain to get bigger  Accommodate bigger social groups, better planning, better tools, better survival  Homo erectus, 1 MYA o Walked upright and definitely used tools o Able to use complex gestures because of better dexterity o Had much bigger brain than predecessors o Probably lived in family groups  Homo erectus and language o Rudimentary sounds, with gestures possibly  Homo sapiens o Earliest evolved about 125000 years ago o These had the basic structures for speech superlaryngeal tract long o Big brain o Probably used spoken language and gestures at first but then just spoken language Thursday/Oct/10  Linguistics finds commonalities across languages o Duality of patterning o Morphology o Phrase structure o Linguistic productivity  Duality of patterning o All languages have a limited number of meaningless sounds (phonemes) and an unlimited number of meaningful words made of phonemes o This is one major difference between humans and animals (one specific sound for one specific meaning, not combinable) o Phones  Different if they have different physical features  The p in pill and the p in spill are different phones  Phone doesn’t affect meaning  Expressed in brackets such as [p] if they are aspirated there is an h up high next to the p [ph] o Phonemes  Differences in sound that make a difference to meaning  /b/ and /d/ are different phonemes because they allow us to distinguish between big and dig  Miller and Nicely 1955 o Showed that these features of phonemes have psychological validity o Used consonants followed by the letter a (/b/a /d/a /g/a) o Syllables presented under different listening conditions o White noise always at the same level o Varied the level of the speech sounds o Had to match speech sound to the one they heard o The more similar the speech sounds (voiced, bilabial, and stop) the more the errors  Morphology o All languages have this o Phonemes are combined to create words o Use different forms of the same word to convey slightly different meaning o Rules for doing this called morphology o The smallest meaningful language is called a morpheme o Different kinds of morphemes  Free morphemes (words)  Bound or grammatical morphemes o Free morphemes can stand alone as their own words o Bound morphemes also contribute to meaning but aren’t words themselves o All languages have morphological systems but they differ in the impact that morphology has on grammar o English: number of pronouns and verbs must agree o Must decide when an action took place for tense o Not the case in all languages  Phrase structure o Third central concept in grammatical description is phrase structure o Sentences can be divided in to groups of words or constituents o The young swimmer accepted the silver medal* o How do we divide this sentence into groups or constituents?  Constituents o There are two constituents in a declarative sentence, the noun phrase and verb phrase o The noun phrase consists of  Determiner the  Adjective young  Noun swimmer o The verb phrase consists of  Verb accepted  Second noun phrase  Medal  Linguistic productivity o There is no limit to the number of sentences in a language o The vast number of sentences are novel but grammatically acceptable  Exception is clichés and proverbs that we hear all the time o Our ability to comprehend these novel structures is called linguistic productivity or linguistic creativity  Hockett and Chomsky o Take a sentence from one source and look for an identical sentence in another source… you’ll have a hard time finding one! o The human brain is finite, infinite sentences? o We can’t store them all due to lack of room o We must store the rules for creating sentences o The number of rules is finite but the rules can create an infinite number of sentences  Examples of linguistic productivity o Lasnik o Embedding one sentence inside another o The child thinks the man left* o We can extend this sentence by adding parts o The woman knows the child thinks the man left * o This is called a recursive rule o Recursion appears to be a resilient part of human language  Linguistic productivity and animal communication o Animal communication tends to be limited to a small number of discrete signals  No duality o All human languages invent new words as they are needed  Animals don’t do this o But not all aspects of language are productive o Some are governed by rote learning  Strong verbs o These are verbs that are morphologically irregular o Most in English are in the past tense such as went, fell and ate o Children have trouble with these and will say goed, falled and eated instead  Summary of the four basic grammatical concepts o Duality of patterning  Few sounds, infinite words o Morphology  Words consist of one or more morphemes o Phrase structure rules  Coding groupings of words in sentences o Linguistic productivity  No limit to the number of unique sentences  What is grammar o Language and grammar o What is the relationship between language and grammar? o In psycholinguistics grammar refers to a person’s linguistic knowledge o Definition of language  Infinite set of well formed sentences o Definition of grammar  Finite set of rules that allows us to generate infinite set of sentences o Grammars are thus theories of language  Evaluations of grammars o If grammar is a theory about language how do we evaluate the theory? o Observational adequacy  Grammar must specify what is and isn’t acceptable in the language  Phrase structure can’t have VP and then t=NP ex. The man left the child thinks o Descriptive adequacy  Grammar must specify the relationship between sequences  If two sentences are similar in meaning but differ in syntax the grammar should explain this o Explanatory adequacy  Should be easy to learn  A theory with clearer rules will be easier to learn  Chomsky’s evaluation o These criteria led Chomsky to evaluate various grammars or theories of language o Eliminated theory based on phrase structures because it does not have descriptive adequacy  Do not explain relationship between sequences  Chomsky’s solution: Transformational grammar o Three arguments made about the usefulness of distinguishing surface and deep structure  Deep structure ambiguity  Sentences can have similar surface structure but different deep structure  Different surface structure but the same deep structure o Deep structure ambiguity  Flying planes can be dangerous  One surface structure  Ambiguous but the constituents can still only be grouped in one way  Some sentences are similar on phrase structure but not underlying structure  Different surface structure but the same deep structure o Transformational rules  Transformational grammar: derivation of a sentence is a two part process  Phrase structure rules used to generate tree structure  Series of transformations is applied to the deep structure and the intermediate structure ultimately generating the surface structure  Apply to en
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