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Chapter 9

Psychology 1000 Chapter 9: Key in Textbook


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Professor
Dr.Mike
Chapter
9

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C9 Language and Thinking
LANGUAGE
“The jewel in the crown of cognition" and "the human essence"
Language consists of a system of symbols and rules for combining
these symbols in ways that can generate an infinite number of
possible messages and meanings.
Psycholinguistics: the scientific study of the psychological aspects
of language, such as how people understand, produce, and acquire
language.
Properties of Language
Symbols, structure, meaning, generativity, displacement.
Language Is Symbolic and Structured
Language uses sounds, written characters, or some other system of
symbols (e.g., hand signs) to represent objects, events, ideas,
feelings, and actions. Moreover, the symbols used in any given
language are arbitrary.
Grammar is the set of rules that dictate how symbols can be
combined to create meaningful units of communication.

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Language Conveys Meaning
Semantics: the meaning of words and sentences
Language Is Generative and Permits Displacement
Generativity means that the symbols of language can be combined
to generate an infinite number of messages that have novel
meaning.
Displacement refers to the fact that language allows us to
communicate about events and objects that are not physically
present.
The Structure of Language
Surface Structure and Deep Structure
Surface structure: consists of the symbols that are used and their
order (syntax)
Deep structure: the underlying meaning of the combined symbols
(semantics)
Sentences can have different surface structures but the same deep
structure.
A single surface structure can give rise to two deep structures
When read or hear speech, moving from the surface structure to
deep structure

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When express thoughts, transform deep structure into a surface
structure
The Hierarchical Structure of Language
Phoneme: the smallest unit of speech sound in a language that can
signal a difference in meaning
- Phonemes have no inherent meaning, but they alter meaning
when combined with other elements
Morphemes: the smallest units of meaning in a language
Words
Phrases
Sentence
Disclosure: sentences are combined into paragraphs, articles,
books, conversations, and so forth.
Understanding and Producing Language
The Role of Bottom-Up Processing
Bottom-up processing: individual elements of a stimulus are
analyzed and then combined to form a unified perception
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