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Chapter 9

PSYC 2650 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Phrase Structure Rules, Parsing, Linguistic Universal

Course Code
PSYC 2650
Dan Meegan

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Cognitive Textbook 335+
Knowing a word- knowing how to use a word correctly. A word like place demands a object.
Correct sentence (1) she placed the books on the table. Sentence (2) is anomalous (deviating
from normal or expected) she can place on the table.
Morphemes and words
College graduates know typically double high school graduates. For each word speaker knows
pieces of information. The speaker knows the words sound (the phenomes that make up the
word). Second the speaker knows orthography (the sequence of letters that spell the word).
Third the speaker knows how to use the word in phrases (rules of syntax). Finally speaker
knows the meaning of the word (semantic representation) with the phonological representation
– this connecting the meaning with the sound.
Referent: What a word refers to.
Some words are not understood and can only be understood by identifying relevant concepts.
“President of the United States”
Building new words- individual’s vocabulary are fluid, constantly learning new words that are
created. Any setting new clothes design, new genre of music, google searches.
We can readily make new words by adding the correct morphemes (smallest grammatical and
meaning in language). Morphemes allow you to use words in new ways “hack” – hacker,
hacking, I’ve been hacked. Morphemes allow you to make entirely new words “wave” –
Generativity of language: the capacity to create an endless series of new combinations all
built from the same set of fundamental units.
Someone in a given language knows how to combine morphemes to create new words, knows
how to adjust phenomes when they’re put together in novel combinations.
Syntax: combine dozens of phenomes to produce 1000s of morphemes and words. Depending
how many words we have 40,000-80,000 we can produce sentences as many as
100000000000000000. Speakers of a language respect the rules of syntax (the order of words
in a sentence) rules governing the sequence of words in a phrase or sentence. Nonsentences
can seem meaningful “me Tarzan”. We need rules of syntax that are separate from
considerations of semantics or sensibility.
Phase Structure
Syntax – Phase structure rule. These stipulation (conditions) elements of a phrase, some
languages sequence of those elements.
*One Phrase structure rule stipulates a sentence (S) must consist of a noun phrase (NP) and a
verb phrase (VP).
Noun phrase can include a ‘determiner’, some number of adjectives, and then the noun itself.
Verb phrases can take a different forms, but also a verb followed by a noun phrase.
^ This can be displayed as a tree structure like figure 9.7 pg 339
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