9.0Language and Thought
- Cognition- composed of distinct abilities
- Five key higher cognitive functions:
acquiring and using language
forming concepts and categories
- Impairment of these cognitive abilities can result in major and lasting disruptions
to our lives.
9.1Language and Communication: From Rules to Meaning
- Bees communicate location of food source by doing “waggle dance” indicates
both direction and distance of food source from hive
- Vervet monkeys have three different warning calls
Leopard call- provokes them to climb higher into a tree
Eagle call- makes them look up into the sky
- Language- system for communicating with others using signals that are
combined according to rules of grammar and convey meaning.
- Grammar- set of rules that specify how the units of language can be combined
to produce meaningful messages.
- Three major differences between human and animals
The complex structure of human language
Humans use words to refer to intangible things
Use language to name, categorize, and describe things to ourselves when
9.2The Complex Structure of Human Language
- Human language 1 to 3 million years ago
- written system 6,000 years ago
- 4,000 human languages grouped into about 50 language families
- Phonemes -smallest units of sound recognizable as speech rather than as
Example- B and p are classified as separate phonemes in English because
they differ in the way they are produced by the human speaker
- Phonological rules- indicate how phonemes can be combined to produce
speech sounds If rules are violated, resulting speech sounds odd we describe it as speaking
with an accent.
- Morphemes- combine phonemes, the smallest meaningful units of language
- A sentence–can be broken down into smaller units: phrases, morphemes, and
- Grammar rules that generally fall into two categories:
Rules of morphology-indicate how morphemes can be combined to form
Content morphemes- refer to things and events (e.g., “cat,” “dog,”
Function morphemes- serve grammatical functions, such as tying
sentences together (“and,” “or,” “but”) or indicating time (“when”).
o half of the morphemes in human languages are function morphemes
o function morphemes make human language grammatically complex
Rules of syntax- words can be combined to form phrases and sentences.
o Example: every sentence must contain one or more nouns, which
may be combined with adjectives or articles to create noun phrases
o Sentence also must contain one or more verbs, which may be
combined with adverbs or articles to create verb phrases.
- Deep structure- refers to the meaning of a sentence.
- Surface structure -refers to how a sentence is worded.
Example: “The dog chased the cat” and “The cat was chased by the dog”
mean the same thing but on the surface their structures are different.
To generate sentence first begin with deep structure and create surface
When you comprehend a sentence you do the reverse
- Average 1-year-old has a vocabulary of 10 words
- Expands to over 10,000 words in the next 4 years
child learns about six or seven new words every day
- Three characteristics of language development
Children make few errors while learning to
Over 3 million ways to rearrange the words in any 10-word sentence, but
only a few will be correct
children’s passive mastery of language develops faster than their active
- Infants can distinguish among all of the contrasting sounds that occur in all
- Between ages of 4 and 6 months babble speech sounds are made
Example: d and t appear in infant babbling before m and n. Even deaf babies babble sounds they’ve never h