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Chapter 10

Chapter 10 Study Guide

Course Code
Oren Amitay

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Chapter 10 Language
Chapter Outline
1. Speech and Comprehension
-language allows us to communicate perceptions, thoughts, and memories
-semantics are the meanings of the words
-syntax is specific rule that words are arranged in sentences
-context helps identifying individual words
2. Reading
-reading is achieved by two processes: 1) whole-word recognition and 2) decoding the sounds
-brain damage produces acquired dyslexia, which disrupts the processes
-developmental dyslexia is caused by damage in left hemisphere
-semantic priming is a method that neural circuits use to recognize and understand spoken and
written words
3. Language Acquisition by Children
-language is social behaviour
-baby use movements, facial expressions, and sounds to communicate
-in two-word stage, children begin to combine words creatively
say things they have never heard (experimentation)
-infants learn how to communicate verbally from adults and older children
the simple concise language that adults and older children use to communicate with infant is
known was child-directed speech
-some researchers believe that brain contains a language acquisition device that already contains
universal rules of grammar
-humans were the only species that have language
-language is also used as a tool to remember and think
-use language to: 1) encode information in memory verbally (chapter 8)
2) extend long-term memory for information by writing notes
3) think complex and abstract issue by encoding them as words and manipulate words according
to logical rules
-linguists study rules of language, describe the precise structure of words in speech and writing
-psycholinguist study verbal behaviour
more concerned with human cognition than rules that describe language
interested in how children learn to speak from interaction with adults
study how adults use language and how verbal abilities interact with cognitive abilities
1. Speech and Comprehension
Perception of Speech
-speech does not come to us in a series of individual words

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-to understand speech, we must extract words from a stream of speech
Recognition of Speech Sounds
-auditory system recognizes patterns of speech instead of only sounds
-temporal lobe on the auditory cortex shows large difference in response when human
vocalizations (both speech and non-speech) are heard
-both left and right hemispheres showed contrast between vocalizations and other natural sounds
-a greater contrast in response is observed in the left hemisphere
suggests that left hemisphere plays a larger role in analyzing detailed information of speech
-analysis of speech begins with its elements (phoneme)
-phonemes are elements of speech
smallest unit of sound that allow us to distinguish the meaning of a spoken word
-voice-onset time is the delay between initial sound of a consonant and the vibration of vocal
-voicing is the vibration of vocal cords
-phonemic discriminations begin with auditory processing of sensory differences
the process occurs in both hemispheres
but left auditory cortex specializes in recognizing special aspects of speech
-Ganong found that perception of phoneme is affected by sounds that follow it
-we recognize speech sounds in pieces larger than individual phonemes
-phonemes are combined to form morpheme
-morphemes are the smallest units of meaning in language
-syntax determines how phonemes can be combined to form morphemes
-bound morphemes cannot stand by themselves, i.e., -est in fastest
must be attached to other morphemes to provide meaning
Recognition of Words in Continuous Speech: The Importance of Learning and Context
-special electrical signal, called N100 wave, appears shortly after people hear an intelligible
-Sanders found that when people learned nonsense sounds as words, people show N100 response
as well
-we are able to recognize sounds even in a speech with sloppy pronunciation because of context
-context affects perception of words through top-down processing
Understanding the Meaning of Speech
-syntax is grammar and syntactical rules

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-fMRI studies have shown that as syntax becomes more complex or ambiguous, our brains
become more active
-syntactical rules are learned implicitly (knowledge that cannot be described verbally)
-patients with anterograde amnesia can learn artificial grammar even though they had lost the
ability to form explicit memories
but are unable to learn meanings of new words
suggests that syntax and word meaning appears to involve different types of memory (brain
-syntactical cues include word order, word class, function and content words, affixes, word
meanings, and prosody
-word order indicates the agent and object in the sentence
-word class is the grammatical categories, such as noun, pronoun, verb, and adjective
-function words are determiners, quantifier, preposition, like a, the, to, some, but, and
-content words are nouns, verbs, most adjectives, and adverbs
-content words express meaning
-function words express relations between content words
-affixes are sounds that we add to the beginning (prefixes) or end (suffixes) of words to alter
their grammatical function
-suffix -ed is added to a regular verb to indicate past tense, -ly to an adjective to indicate adverb
-word meanings (semantics) help us to understand the syntax of the sentence
-knowledge of the world and usual meanings of words provide syntactical cues when a sentence
gets complex
-function words help to determine syntax of a sentence
-content words help to determine meaning
-prosody is the use of stress, rhythm, and changes in pitch that accompany speech
->emphasize syntax of word and act as a primary source of syntactic information
Relation between semantics and Syntax
-Chomsky suggested that newly formed sentences are represented in the brain in terms of their
meaning (deep structure)
brain then transforms deep structure into surface structure (words and syntax) to communicate
verbally in complete sentence
-“slip of the tongue is the error of the brain in translation from deep to surface structure
-people with conduction aphasia have difficulty repeating words and phrases
but they understand meaning of words
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