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Chapter 1

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Department
Psychology
Course
Psychology 2134A/B
Professor
Terry Biggs
Semester
Summer

Description
Chapter 1: What is Language Speakers use a finite set of rules to pronounce and understand an infinite set of possible sentences. These rules constitute grammar.  Phonology: the sound system  Morphology: the structure of the words  Syntax: how the words are combined into sentences  Semantics: the relation of sounds and meanings  Lexicon: the words Linguistic Competence, knowledge, is different from linguistic performance, behavior. Grammars Universal Grammar: forms the basis of specific grammars of all possible human languages and constitutes the innate component of the human language faculty that makes normal language development possible Descriptive Grammar: represents unconscious linguistic knowledge/ capacity of its speakers  Model of mental grammar, every speaker of the language knows  It does not teach rules of language, it describes the rules that are already known Prescriptive Grammar: grammar that attempts to legislate what your grammar should be  Prescribes does NOT describe, except incidentally Reference Grammar: written to help people find out grammatical facts of a language Teaching Grammar: written to help people learn a foreign language of their own language  A gloss: the meaning of a word given in the student’s native tongue to help increase understanding o House Maison Major sign language system used in North America is American Sign Language (ASL) Estimated 5000 languages spoken around the world 5 year olds are almost as proficient at speaking and understanding as are their parents Knowledge of the Sound System Knowing a language means knowing what sounds are in that language and what sounds are not Relation between speech sounds and meanings they represent is arbitrary. (What it means depends on the interpretation) Sign language is also arbitrary and conventional Swiss Linguist “Ferdinand de Saussure” pointed out important principle of “the arbitrariness of the sign”  User of CSL (Chinese Sign Language) will have difficulty with ASL Signs originally mimetic, similar to miming, now signs are convectional, .: knowing the shape or movement of the hands does not reveal the meaning of the gestures in sign language Sound symbolism, onomatopoeic: the sounds of the words supposedly imitate the sounds of nature  Ex. Hiss- snake, cock-a-doodle-doo- rooster’s crow Noam Chomsky Creative aspect of language use: knowing a language means being able to produce new sentences never spoken before and understand sentences never heard before  Creative ability is due to, language is not limited to stimulus response behavior Chomsky, Universal Grammar and Language Faculty. Believes that humans are born with innate “blueprint” for language. Children ar
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