Week 13 Notes: Language
Why are humans better than computers at interpreting both spoken and written language?
Describe language as a form of communication
Explain how perceptual skills are essential to language
Language: use of symbols or words to convey a complex message, either relating to immediate circumstances or
Semantics: how much symbolism is used when communicating messages
Bees use a low level of semanticity since they don’t convey details and there are limited dances
Vervet monkey calls are moderate, each call means something specific to them
Flower arrangement is a high level if both parties understand because each flower has a different meaning
Having a larger vocabulary helps to convey your message, but we don’t need a word for everything. Instead, we use
generativity, combining words/symbols to convey our meaning.
Displacement: conveying messages not tied to the immediate time and place
Language; textbook definition: a socially agreed-upon, rule-governed system of arbitrary symbols that can be
combined in different ways to communicate ideas and feelings about both current time and place and other times
and places, real or imagined.
Phonemes: basic speech sounds distinguishing one word from another (/b/ or /p/).
Morphemes: Lego bricks of language. Free morphemes like “engage” in engagement, and bound morphemes like
“ment” in engagement.
Semantics: meanings of words (Kate’s wedding band)
Syntax: order in which we combine words and grammar
Pragmatics: social rules of language, what’s socially acceptable to say to someone
Articulators: mouth structures to make speech (jaw, tongue, lips, soft palate)makes intricate movements
Coarticulation: info of speech sound is spread over time, the sounds of syllables and letters change depending on
what surrounds it
Categorical Perception: grouping similar things even though they may have different characteristics (different
shades of red)
Your perception of speech is warped, or sculpted by experience based on learned perception
When learning to write, we first learn letters of the alphabet, then learn to analyze phonemes relating to how
How do Humans Develop Language
Evaluate time course of language development in children and theories of language acquisition
Evaluate the uniqueness of human capacity for language IDT (Infant-Direct Talk): exaggerated expressions and tones to aid child’s comprehension
Over and Underextending words in association to objects commonly occurs when first learning to speak
Nativism: theory that children are born with some innate knowledge of universal grammar
FOXP2 is a gene, where genetic mutations may determine linguistic ability
Interactionist: language development depends onmultiple biological and social influences
Convergent Evolution: two different species evolved in the same way in a particular area
Learning Objectives Week 13
Communication is any form of message transmission, while language has a sticter definition. Language uses
symbols or words to convey a message, either relating to immediate cirumstances or other times and places.
The key three properties of language are:
Semanticity: the use of symbolism. This must be high in real language, where both parties understand
Generativity: instead of having a different word for everything, we combine other words in ways which
convey our meaning
Displacement: we’re able to convey messages that don’t necessarily refer to our immediate time and place
Components of language:
Phonemes: minimum unit of sound