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• Tree Diagrams: a description of a process that proceeds from one level at
which a number of relationships are simultaneously present to other levels at
which these relationships are serially ordered. Wundt uses tree diagrams to
describe the relationships between different parts of our overall experience of a
• The process of speech proceeds from one level at which a number of
relationships are simultaneously present, to another level at which these
relationships are serially ordered as a succession of words in a sentence. The
listener can reconstruct the speaker‟s experience by reversing the process
whereby the speaker generated the sentence.
• Language: open-ended verbal communication that consists of all possible
• Speech: those sentences that are actually spoken; only a small subset of
• Chomsky argues that processes that made a sentence grammatical were
different from the processes that made a sentence meaningful.
• critical feature of a finite state grammar is that every word in a sentence is
produced in a sequence starting with the first word and ending with the last
• Chomsky‟s objection to finite state grammars is that it is impossible to construct
a finite state grammar that will generate all and only the grammatical utterances
of a natural language. Finite state grammars are too simple to underlie the
complexity of natural languages.
• one of the problems with finite state grammars is that they operate at only one
level. they genereate sentences by a process that moves only from left to right.
• Phrase structure rules: Rules describing the way in which symbols can be
rewritten as other symbols. These rules allow a number of different sentences
to be derived.
• Grammatical transformations: rules operating on entire strings of symbols,
converting them to new strings. an example of such a procedure is the passive
transformation. John admired kevin. the pasive transformation, Kevin was
admired by John converts the string underlying the terminal string, to produce
something like the following. The passive transformation is an example of
optional transformation. it is not necessary for optional transformations to be
applied in order to make a sentence grammatical.
• Chomsky defined kernel sentences as ones that are produced without optional
transformations. this suggests that kernel sentences might be easier to
understand and remember because they require fewer transformations.
however, it was difficult to demonstrate that the number of transformations-and
not such variables as sentence length-determined ease of understanding.
passive sentences such as johnson was admired by boswell has more words
than its active counterpart, and may be more difficult to process simply for that
• a person has a commmand of a language. on the one hand it means that the
person has internalized a system of rules that relates sound to meaning.
• Competence and performance: a person may have an internalized system of
rules that constitutes a basic linguistic competence, but this competence may
not always be reflected in the person‟s actual use of the language
• linguistic performance is also determined by such cognitive factors such
cognitive factors as memory and the persons understanding of his or her
ituation. In principle, one can generate extremely long sentences but such
sentences cannot be easily understood because they exceed the attentional
capacities of listeners.
• Deep and surface structure: the sequence of words that makes up a sentence
constitutes a surface structure that is derived from an underlying deep
structure. The distinction between deep and surface structure allows us to
understand a number of interesting linguistic phenomena, including ambiguous
• the existence of ambiguity in language illustrates why we need to make a
distinction between deep and surface structure. When we understand a
sentence, we transform a surface structure into a deep structure. when we
produce a sentence we work the other way: from a deep structure to the
construction of a surface structure.
• Innateness hypothesis: the hypothesis that children innately possess a
language acquisition device that comes equipped with principles of universal
• Poverty of the stimulus argument: The hypothesis that the linguistic
environment to which a child is exposed is too deficient to enable the child to
acquire language on that basis alone.
• Language acquisition device (LAD) and universal grammar: the hypothesis
that children possess a language aquisition device that contains general
principles that apply to any natural language ( universal grammar).
• Skinner said that children must learn a language by receiving informative
feedback on their utterances (words, spoken sentences).
• Perhaps language learning takes place when children are given approval for
generating grammatical sentences, and disapproval for making ungrammatical
ones (r. brown and Hanlon)
• Minimalism: the belief that linguistic competence has only those characteristics
that are absolutely necessary.
• Parameter setting: the hypothesis that language acquistion involves a
universal grammar that contains a variety of switches which can be set to one
of a number of possible values, or parameters. A parameter is a universal
aspect of language that can take on one of a small set of possible values.
• Concealing function: the hypothesis that language is a kind of code. the
parameters that are set for one language conceal its meanings from the
speakers of another language.
• It has been claimed that children understand constructions like “I put my books
on the books shelf as another demonstration of knowledge despite “povery of
the input” (pinker)
• Parental reformulations: adult reformulations of children‟s speech constitute