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Week 13 Online Lecture Summary

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PSYC 100

Week 13: Language 1. Defining Language: • Language is a method for communicating information including ideas, thoughts and emotions • Not only humans are capable of communicating language— ex: bees use different types of dances • Semanticity— the extent to which language can use symbols to transmit meaningful messages • Gernativity— combining a limited number of words and a few rules to convey many ideas • a form of communication must have the property of generativity to be considered a language • by combining vocabulary and grammar we can create compelling and complex ideas that extend beyond any single word or group of words • Displacement— the ability to convey a message this is not tied to the current time or place— communicating information about events in the past or future or at some other location • Any form of communication must have the property of displacement to be considered a language • Language can 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 imagined. • Linguistics are used to study the rules of language— complex • Psycholinguistics— a branch of cognitive psychology devoted to the study of the acquisition, comprehension and production of language • study the verbal behavior and cognition • phonology— the rules that govern the patterns of sounds that are used in language— which sounds are used and how they are combined— use phonemes • phonemes— the sounds in language that distinguish one word— ex: rice and lice • phonological rules govern how many phonemes can be combines in a given language— help figure out where word boundaries occur in spoken utterances • different language use different phonemes • phonemes are combined to form morphemes • morphemes— the smallest unit of meaning in language • two types of morphemes: 1. Free Morphemes: meaningful on their own and can stand alone as words— ex: engage 2. Bound Morphemes: meaningful when combined with other morphemes to form words— engagement ( contains the free morpheme “engage” and the bound morpheme “-ment” • The combination of the two give us the words we need to communicate properly • Language has many rules and each rule type represents a different area of knowledge about the human language • Semantics— the relationship between words and their meanings o Crucial for comprehension • Syntax— grammatical rules of a particular language for combing words to form phrases, clauses and sentences o Used for order and understanding of a sentence • Pragmatics— the social rules of language that allow people to use language appropriately for different purposes and in different situations o Help with interpretation of what others are saying • Comprehension of an utterance requires the listener to: 1. Recognize the sounds in the utterance— phonemes 2. Identify the words and associate them with their meanings— morphological and semantic knowledge 3. Analyze the syntax of the message— semantics 4. Interpret the utterance in its context— pragmatics • Each level of processing requires multiple rule systems 2. Written and Spoken Language: • Speech involves more than creating and assembling a simple sequence of phonemes— they overlap and affect the sound and the expectations about the other phonemes around them • Articulators— mouth structures that make speech sounds, include the jaw, tongue, lips and soft palate • Speech requires very fast movements of the articulators— prepare for the next sound before the first has finished resulting in coarticulation • Coarticulation— information about speech sounds is spread over time and information about different sounds overlaps in time— the sound associated with any phoneme varies depending on its context • Categorical perception— the tendency to disregard physical differences between stimuli and perceive them as the same so that a continuous change in a physical attribute is perceived not as continuous but as a discrete change at a category boundary • Allows us to perceive sounds as one phoneme or another, when in reality the sound might be quite ambiguous • Researchers used to think language was different from other cognitive abilities because of categorical perception • Auditory categorical perception depends on the ability to ignore acoustic variability on speech sounds that is irrelevant in your language, while making use of meaningful variability to distinguish phonemes • 3 types of language: 1. Oral language 2. Written language 3. Internal language • Written language is a visual system that is imposed on top of an auditory system • Linguistic knowledge and analytical skills that assist speech comprehension and production also help understand and produce written language • Morphology can help a person break down a word into smaller units to understand the word • Vocabulary (part of semantics) plays a key role in comprehending text • World knowledge is also critical to interpreting written language in context • Before someone can learn to read they need to be able to map the visual symbol system onto
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