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Chapter 10

Chapter 10

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Psychology 2010A/B
Terry Biggs

Psych 2010A Chapter 10 - Language • combination of works to form a sentence is by association • since there are so many words, there are an infinite number of combinations • grammar: a system of rules that is capable of producing sentences. • language: collection of symbols and rules for combining these symbols, which can be used to create an infinite variety of messages • language is symbolic - symbols are arbitrary • language is generative - the capability to produce many difference messages by combining symbols in different ways • language is structured - the organization imposed on a language by its grammatical rules. • morphemes - the smallest units of meaning in a language • phonemes - the basic sounds of a language The Aspects of Language • Grammar (Forming Phrases) • Noam Chomsky - important psychologist who played a role in development of cognitive psychology • language can be learned by learning the association between adjacent words in a sentence • we learn to speak correctly through paired-associate learning - each word in a sentence serves as a stimulus for the word that follows it. • limitations to the association view of language: •there are an infinite number of sentences in a language - unreasonable to learn ALL the associations between words •it does not account for the relations of non-adjacent words in a sentence - ignores the hierarchal structure of sentences in proposing how people learn to speak grammatically correct sentences. • hierarchal structure of sentences is when we break the sentences down into parts (i.e. subject, verb, noun, etc) • Meaning (Combining Words and Morphemes) • a sentence that is grammatically correct is not necessarily meaningful • a sentence that is meaningful is not necessarily grammatically correct • syntax - grammar • semantics - meaning • Brocaʼs aphasia - patients have wrong grammar •damage in left hemisphere - damage in Brocaʼs area • Wernickeʼs aphasia - patients have wrong meaning, but correct grammar • Brocaʼs vs. Wernickeʼs aphasia •subjects were given 3 words (husband, mother, and shark) - asked the subjects to pick the two that were most similar •Wernickeʼs did poorly on the test compared to Brocaʼs • Kaan and Swaab - different parts of the brain are recruited for different aspects of syntactic processing - not just Brocaʼs and Wernickeʼs area • morphemes: the smallest units of meaning • morphemes include stem words, prefixes, and suffixes • each morpheme changes the meaning of the word (i.e. unfriendly is made up of ʻunʼ, ʼfriendʼ, and ʻlyʼ) - adding ʻlyʼ makes it an adjective and adding ʻunʼ changes the meaning of the word • advantage of morphemes: • enables us to generate novel words (i.e. a child does not know the plural of stranger, but knew that plurals are often formed by adding an s to the end of a noun) • Sound (Producing Phonemes) • language consists of written and spoken words • written words are converted into spoken words through the process of subvocalization - therefore, there is still some sound component to written language • children must learn to understand spoken words before learning to read • understanding words requires the discrimination of the phonemes (basic unit of sound) of a language • Kuhl - infants can establish the different phonemes in many different languages • indicates that prototypes of phonemes are important in speech recognition - infants as young as 6 months already have formed these phoneme prototypes. • people can differentiate two nonprototypical sounds better than a prototypical and nonprototypical sound - this is because as there are more prototypes formed, the variations of the prototype will sound more like the original prototype • we might expect that infants could better discriminate among familiar sounds in their own language rather than unfamiliar sounds in a different language - WRONG - if the sounds belong to the same phonemic category • we might expect that as infants grow older, they get better at discriminating sounds - WRONG - if the sounds belong to the same phonemic category • infants are born with the ability to discriminate among phonemes in many different languages but learn the prototypic speech sounds in their own language. • Evidence for Hierarchical Organization (Speech Errors) • what is the evidence that people follow the hierarchal organization when producing sentences? speech errors - as children grow older, we not only learn how to recognize speech, but we also learn how to produce speech • speech errors = slip of the tongue • exchange errors: an error in which two linguistic units are substituted for each other during sentence production • word exchange: an error in which two words are substituted for each other during sentence production • “writing a letter to my mother” vs. “writing a mother to my letter” • Morpheme exchanges: an error in which two morphemes are substituted for each other during sentence production - may not necessarily make sense • “slicely thinned” rather than “thinly sliced” • Phoneme exchanges: an error in which two phonemes are substituted for each other during sentence production • “lork yibrary” than “York Library” Psychology and Grammar • Phrase-Structure Grammar • phrase-structure grammar: a set of rules for partitioning a sentence into its grammatical units • a sentence is broken
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