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PSYC 100
Ingrid Johnsrude

Week 13Language is a method for communicating information including ideas thoughts and emotionsHumans arent the only species capable of communicatingbees use dances to indicate to other bees where a source of nectar is locatedNot all forms of human communication may qualify as language Tufnels trilogya musical trilogy in D minor very sad Henry wadsworthmusic is a universal languageevery key signature and chord change carries a specific emotional message that can be understood universally Flowers specially arranged can also be used to convey certain messagesInformation can be communicated only if both the sender and receiver understand whats going on Vervet monkeys display different type of alarm calls for different types of predators eg one for snakes and a different one for eaglesFor the eagle call the troop runs to the nearest set of treesThe snake call results in some of the monkeys acting as a group to harass the snake until it leavesHuman language can be used to convey an array of concepts symbolically including historical facts and scientific theories to emotional states and fantasy worldsThose who study language use the word semanticitythe extent to which a language can use symbols to transmit meaningful messages Malcolm xa black nationalist leader in the American civil rights movementlanguages combines a limited number of words and a few rules to convey many ideas we dont need words for everythingGenerativitythe ability to combine words or symbols of a language using rules of composition and grammar to communicate an almost infinite variety of ideas using a relatively small vocabularyto be considered a languagea form of communication must have the property of generativity ie vervet monkeys dont meet this criteria for languagedisplacementthe ability to convey a message that is not tied to the current time and placeiethe honeybee is an example of displacement as they communicate about another location where the flower is but the vervet monkeys only communicate info about the here and nowlanguagecan be defined as a socially agreed upon rule governed system of arbitrary symbols that can be combined in different ways to communicate ideas and feelings about both the present time and place and other times and places real or imaginedLinguisticsstudies the rules of languagePsycholinguistics a branch of cognitive psychology devoted to the study of the comprehension and production of language study verbal behavior and cognitionPhonologyrules that govern the pattern of sounds that are used in languagewhich sounds are used and how theyre combined Phonemes the basic distinctive speech sounds in a language that distinguish one word eg rice from another word eg liceThey are distinct units of sound used to distinguish one word from anotherR and L are different phonemesPhonological rules govern how phonemes can be combined in a given languageThey can be different in different languagesPhonemes are combined to form morphemesthe smallest unit of meaning in language2 types of morphemes 1 free morphemesmeaningful on their own and can stand alone as words 2 bound morphemesmeaningful only when combined with other morphemes to form wordseg the word engagement has the free morpheme engage and the bound morpheme ment semanticsthe relationship between words and their meaningsCan be crucial for comprehensionthe syntax or syntactical rules grammatical rules of a particular language for combining words to form phrases clauses and sentencesDetermines how we combine words to form phrases and sentences Pragmaticssocial rules of language that allow people to use language appropriately for different purposes and in different situationsrefers to knowledge of the world as it relates to understanding and using languageComprehension of a remark utterance may require that the listener 1 recognize the sounds phonemes in the utterance2 identify the words in the message and associate them with their meaningsThe listener must access their morphological semantic knowledge 3 analyze the syntax of the messageThis can involve the use of many different cues including word order word class function and content wordsAffixesa type of bound morpheme Each level of processing requires the use of multiple cues or rule systemsProcessing may be occurring at all levels simultaneouslyArticulatorsmouth structures that make speech sounds jaw tongue lips and soft palate Different languages use different phonemesCoarticulationspeech sounds for words are not produced in a discrete sequenceInstead the articulators are effectively shaping multiple sounds at any moment in time so that different instances of a particular phoneme are acoustically different depending on the sounds preceding and following themStudies have shown that when infants are very young they can tell the difference between all of the phonemes used in the worlds languageBut by about 1 years old theyve lost the ability to tell the difference between sounds that arent phonemic in the language they are being raised inCategorical perceptionthe tendency of perceivers to disregard physical differences between stimuli and perceive them as the same such that a continuous change in a physical attribute is perceived not as continuous but as a discrete change at a category boundaryallows us to perceive sounds as one phoneme or another when in reality the sound might be quite ambiguous Categorical perception means that a change in some variable along a continuum is perceived not as gradual but as instances of discrete categoriesits harder to perceive differences between stimuli that you classify as the same thing eg male face 1 vs male face 2 then it is to perceive differences between stimuli that you classified as different eg male face 1 vs female face 1auditory categorical perceptiondepends on your ability to ignore acoustic variability in speech sounds that is irrelevant to your knowledge while making use of meaningful variability to distinguish phonemes
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