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Chapter 9

PSYA02 - Chapter 9 .docx

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Steve Joordens

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Chapter 9 Language and ThoughtCOGNITION is composed of distinct abilities5 key higher cognitive functionsa acquiring and using languageb forming concepts and categoriesc making decisionsd solving problems ande reasoning Language and Communication From Rules to Meaning social species have systems of communication that allow them to transmit messages to each other For eg Honeybees communicate the location of food sources by means of a waggle dance that indicates both the direction and distance of the food source from the hive LANGUAGEa system for communicating with others using signals that are combined according to rules of grammar and convey meaningallows individuals to exchange info about the world coordinate group action and form strong social bondsGRAMMARa set of rules that specify how the units of language can be combined to produce meaningful messages3 DIFFERENCES that distinguish human language from animals monkeys a the complex structure of human language distinguishes it from simpler signaling systems Humans can express a wider range of ideas and concepts that are found in the communications of other species animals dont have this capacity b humans use words to refer to intangible things eg democracy These words could not originate as simple alarm calls in this case monkeysc we use language to name categorize and describe things to ourselves when we think which influences how knowledge is organized in our brainsThe Complex Structure of Human Language approx 4000 human languagesdespite the difference all of the languages share a basic structure involving a set of sounds and rules for combining those sounds to produce meaningsBasic CharacteristicsPHONEMES are the smallest units of sound that are recognizable as speech rather than as random noise these building blocks of spoken language differ in how they are produced For eg when you say ba your vocal cords start to vibrate as soon as you begin the sound but when you say pa there is a millisecond lag bw the time you start the p sound and the time your vocal cords start to vibrate Therefore B and p are classified as separate phonemes PHONOLOGICAL RULESevery language has these rules They indicate how phonemes can be combined to produce speech soundssound differs for different languagespeople learn these phonological rules wo instruction and if the rules are violated the resulting speech sounds so odd that we describe it as speaking w an accentPhonemes are combines to make MORPHEMESthe smallest meaningful units of languageFor eg your brain recognizes the p sound you make at the beginning of pat as a speech sound but it carries no particular meaning The morpheme pat is recognized as an element of speech that carries meaning All languages have grammar rules that fall into 2 CATEGORIES a MORPHOLOGICAL RULESindicate how morphemes can be combinedto form wordssome morphemes can stand alone as wordsthere are 2 kinds of morphemes1 CONTENT morphemesrefer to things and events For eg cat take 2 FUNCTION morphemesserve grammatical functions such as tying sentences together and but or indicating time when half of the morphemes in human language are function morphemesthey make the human language grammatically complex enough to permit us to express ideascontent and function morphemes can be combined and recombined to form an infinite number of new sentences which are governed by syntaxb SYNTACTICAL RULESindicate how words can be combined to form phrases and sentencessimple rule in English is that every sentence must contain one or more nouns which may be combined with adjectivesMeaning Deep Structure vs Surface Structure sounds and rules are ingredients of language that allow us to convey meaning DEEP STRUCTUREthe meaning of a sentenceSURFACE STRUCTUREhow a sentence is worded to generate a sentence you begin w a deep structure and create a surface structurewhen you comprehend a sentence you process the surface structure in order to extract the deep structure
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