PSYCH 2H03 Chapter 10: Language

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Chapter10:Language
Summary
● Languagehasahierarchicalstructureunitsateachlevelare
assembledtoformthelargerunitsofthelevelabovethem
● Ateachlevelofhierarchythere’sendlessrecombinationsoftheunits,
thesecombosaregovernedbyrulesthatexplainwhysomecombosare
rareorevennotallowed
● Languageisgenerative→anyuserofthatlanguagecanaddnewparts
● Adifferentsetofprinciplesdescribeshow,momentbymoment,people
interpretthesentencestheyhearorread;inthiswaypeopleareguided
byprocesseslikesyntax,semantics,andcontext
● Insentenceinterpretationpeopleusea“compileasyougo”strategy,try
tofigureouttheroleofeachwordasitarrives→efficientbutcanleadto
error
● Human’slanguageskillismadepossiblebecauselargesectionsofour
brainsaredevotedtolanguage
● Languageinfluencesarethoughts,shapesourexperienceandcognition
TheOrganizationofLanguage
● Languagereliesonwelldefinedpatternsinhowwordsareused,how
thosewordsareputintosentences
● Thisisahierarchy
● Atthehighestlevelofthestructurearetheideasintendedbythe
speaker,typicallyexpressedthroughsentencescoherentsequences
ofwordsthatexpressintendedmeaning
● Sentencesinturnarecomposedofphrases,madeupofwordsmadeup
ofmorphemesthesmallestlanguageunitsthatareabletocarry
meaning
● Somethinglike“talk”or“umpire”wouldbeamorphine,othermorphemes
canbebound
ontothesefreemorphemeslike“ed”of“s”tomaketalks
orumpired
● Morphemesareconveyedbysoundsorphonemeswhicharethe
smallestunitofsoundthatcandistinguishwordsinlanguage
● Withineachlevelpeoplecancombineandrecombineunitstomake
novelpatterns
Phonology
● Thehierarchycanbeusedtoexaminelanguage
● TheProductionofSpeech
○ Noiseisproducediftheairflowoutofthelungsisalteredor
interrupted,allowshumanstomakemanysounds
○ Twoflapsofmuscleinthelarynxcalledvocalfolds/cordsthat
canberapidlyopenedandclosedtovibrate
○ Thisiscalledvoicing
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○ Soundcanalsobemadebynarrowingtheairpassagewaywithin
yourmouth→hissingforexample
○ Variousdifferentwaysofsound/speechproductiondependingon
howtheairflowisrestrictedmannerofproduction
○ Anotherwaytodistinguishbetweensoundsthatare
voiced/producedarethoseproducedbythevocalfoldsandthose
thataren’t
○ Alsotheycanbecategorizedaccordingtowheretheairflowwas
restrictedplaceofarticulation
■ E.x.whenproducingan[f]youplaceyourbottomteethon
yourupperliptomakelabiodentalsounds
■ Butwithsoundslike[p]and[b]youcloseyourlipsmaking
bilabialsounds
○ Thiscategorizationschemeletsusdescribeanyspeechsoundin
termsofafewsimplefeatures
○ Thesefeaturesofsoundproductionarecombinedand
recombinedtomake40orsophonemesinEnglish,butthis#is
differentindifferentlanguages
● TheComplexityofSpeechPerception
○ Ourdescriptionofspeechsoundsinvitesasimpleproposalabout
speechperception
○ Eachspeechsoundcanbedefinedbyafewfeatures,butdoes
allthelistenerhavetodoisidentifythem?
○ Speechperceptionismorecomplicated→soundisairpressure
changesreachingtheear,onceisgetstherespeechperception
begins
○ Thefirststepisspeechsegmentationweareonlyableto
segmentwordsthatweunderstand,whichiswhyforeign
languagessoundsegmentedtous
○ Speechperceptionisalsocomplicatedbycoarticulation→
referstothefactthatinproducingspeechyoudon’tutterone
phonemeatatime,thephonemes“overlap”whenyousayone
phonemeyou’realreadygettingreadytosaythenext
○ Thisoverlapmakesspeechproductionquickerandmorefluid,
butitchangesthepatternofeachsoundwhenthesoundis
influencedbythesoundthat’sabouttobesaid
○ Difficulttodiscernonedistinctpatternforeachdifferentphoneme
○ Aidstospeechperception
■ Theneedforsegmentationinacontinuousspeech
stream,thevariationscausedbycoarticulation,the
variationsfromspeakertospeakerallmakespeech
perceptioncomplex
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■ However,wealwaysmanagetoperceivespeech
accuratelyandeasily
■ Thespeechencountereddaytodayisverylimitedin
range,weallknowthousandsofwordsbut½ofthewords
weactuallyuseareacommon50words
■ Speechperceptiondoesn’trelyonstimuliyoureceivebut
isguidedbythecontextinwhichthewordissaid
■ Yousupplement
theinputwithpersonalknowledge
■ Inthephonemicrestorationeffectresearchersrecord
somespeechandmodifywhatthey’verecordedby
removingsomesoundandreplacingitwithsomenoise
■ E.x.removingthessoundinlegislatures
■ Whenparticipantsheardthistheyinsistedtheyhadheard
thecompleteword,notaburstofnoise
■ Theyusedcontextratherthansensoryinput
■ Anotherexperimenthadresearchersrecordcommon
sentencesandhaveparticipantstryandidentifythewords
inisolation
■ Whenonlythewordswerepresentedtheyonlycorrectly
identified½ofthewords,butwhenrestoredtooriginal
contextitwaseasytoidentifyallthewords
○ CategoricalPerception:peoplearemuchbetterathearingthe
differencesbetween
categoriesofsoundsthanhearingvariations
within
acategoryofsounds
■ Canhearthedifferencebetween[g]and[k]butnotone
[p]soundfromaslightlydifferent[p]sound
■ Whenstimulusisshiftedgraduallyfrom(forexample)[ba]
to[pa]theresearchersexpectedagradedmembership
pattern
■ However,somewhereinthemiddletherewasanabrupt
shiftwheresuddenlytheparticipantsheardonorthe
otherdistinctly
■ Seemsthatyourperceptualapparatusis“tuned”to
provideyouwithjusttheinfoyouneed
● CombiningPhonemes
○ Englishreliesonjustafewdozenphonemesbuttheycanbe
combinedtomakethousandsofdifferentmorphemeswhichcan
becombinedinturntomakethousandsofwords
○ Therearerulesgoverningthecombosthatcanbemadethough
○ Forinstance“tl”canonlyexistattheborderbetweensyllables
○ However,thisisalimitonEnglish,notonwhatthehumanear
canhear
○ OtherlanguagesroutinelyusecombosnotusedinEnglish
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