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Chapter 12

Chapter 12

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Gabriela Ilie

Chapter 12 Language The Nature of Language The understanding of language is relatively automatic. As we hear or read a sentence, we focus on its meaning and comprehend it by using the information stored in our long term memory. Psycholinguistics refers to the study of comprehension, production and acquisition of language. Levels of Language Representation A sentence is composed of many different pieces and these different pieces are referred to as different levels of language representation Grammar refers to the rules of usage but in linguistics grammar refers to the sum of knowledge that someone has about the structure of hisher language. Most of the grammatical knowledge is unconscious but it underlies our ability to speak or comprehend a language Various levels of language representation explain how we understand sentences. These levels include: 1. Discourse level refers to a coherent group of written or spoken sentences. This level mentally represents the meaning of an sentence that goes beyond the meaning of individual words. In this representation, the two most important parts are the subject and the object. The relationship between the words is explained in terms of a propositional representation which relates the action, the one doing the action and the thing that is acted on. Discourse level links the sentence to the context in which it occurs and links it to information in the long term memory. This linkage can help us remember how things work in a particular situation e.g. the last time we ate at x fast food, the food was bad notice we performed the action of eating the object food and the incident occurred last time which was then stored in our long term memory 1 www.notesolution.com 2. Syntax level specifies the relationships between the types of words in a sentence (e.g. between noun and verb) Syntax represents the structure of a sentence and it is believed to be a part of our mental representation of sentences as well. It builds on the doer, action and the object Representing the syntax of a sentence uses a phrase structure tree which is a diagram of a sentence that illustrates its linear hierarchical structure. It breaks down the components of a sentence. It is believed that we build a mental representation of the trees hierarchical representation of the word relationships and likewise comprehend the meaning of the sentence. At the level of syntax comprehenders make a decision about the word order. A sentence can have the same content but different syntax based on the word order. Patients with damage to the left hemisphere may have aphasia which refers to language or speech disruption. Aphasia can manifest itself in various ways and one manifestation that involves disruption of syntactic level of representation is called non-fluent aphasia or Brocas aphasia. (Brocas ara is the left frontal area) Patients of Brocas aphasia have difficulty relating the discourse and the syntactical level of representation. The difficulty is not related to the meanings of the words these patients do understand the meanings of the words but fail to understand the relationship among the words in the sentence (they may shuffle around the words of a sentence while comprehendingproducing). Since these patients have long term memory of objects, usually they can relate the doer, action and object using their logic from memory. 3. Word and morpheme level; at this level the meanings of the words are encoded: Morphemes are the building blocks of words i.e. the smallest unit of meaning in a language. Words can be composed of single or multiple morphemes e.g. burnednoodles is composed of two morphemes i.e. burn and ed or noodle and s Bound morphemes are the plural and past tense forms that attach onto other morphemes they are usually prefixes or suffixes 2 www.notesolution.com
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