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Chapter 10

Psychology 2010A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 10: Phrase Structure Rules, Phoneme, Subvocalization

Course Code
Terry Biggs

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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
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
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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
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
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
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”
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