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Chapter 9

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Psychology 1000

CHAPTER 7 // LANGUAGE  Language is a system of symbols and rules for combing these symbols in ways that generate infinite possible messages  Psycholinguistics the study of psychological aspects of language, such as how people understand and use it LANGUAGE 1) ADAPTIVE FUNCTIONS OF LANGUAGE  The underlying function of language is to share and convey thoughts, feelings, goals, intentions, etc.  Also used as a learning mechanism 2) PROPERTIES OF LANGUAGE  Language is governed by symbols and structure  Grammar set of rules that dictate how symbols are combined to create meaningful communication  Syntax rules on how words should be in order o Can help improve or impede meaning o Humor comes with formal thinking. Having the ability to “appreciate” ambiguous meaning and logical inconsistency o Phonological Ambiguity Confusion of sounds (ex. Knock-knock) jokes o Lexical Ambiguity Confusion or double meaning with words o Syntactic Ambiguity Confusion in structure o Semantic Ambiguity Overall meaning  Language, regardless of culture, share common function such as how to change the tense  Semantics the ability of take the arbitrary rules of language and create meaning out of the words and sentences  Generativity symbols can be combined to create an infinite amount of messages with meaning  Displacement language allows us to communication about events and presents that are not physically present, such as the future and the past 3) THE STRUCTURE OF LANGUAGE  Language has surface and deep structure  Surface structure symbols that are used and their order, ie. Syntax  Deep structure refers to the underlying meaning of the combined symbols, ie. Semantics o Ex: “Flying planes can be dangerous”  Deep I Planes can be dangerous (surface structure)  Deep 2 Piloting planes can be dangerous (deep structure) A) HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURE OF LANGUAGE  Human language has a hierarchical structure  Phonemes are the most elementary building block, the smallest unit of speech sound in language that can signal a difference in meaning o Ex: th, sh  Phonemes have no inherent meaning, but when they combined they are morphemes, the smallest units of meaning in a language o Ex: d and og are phonemes combined together to create the morpheme dog  In turn, morphemes are formed to create words, which in turn create phrases, then sentences  Discourse is the highest form in the human language hierarchy. This includes paragraphs, articles, books and conversations.  Bottom-up processing is the process in which individual elements are analyzed and unified together to create a whole perception  Top-down processing Sensory information is interpreted with existing knowledge, concepts, ideas and expectations  Speech segmentation is perceiving where each word within a spoken sentence begins and ends o We use several cues to tell when one spoken word ends and another begins  Pragmatics is the social context of language and the practical uses of it o Allows us to know when to use language formally and informally o Psycholinguists have identified that we change our speech rate, choice of words and sentence complexity depending on who we are talking to B) DIFFERENCES IN SEX  Research has shown that men are more likely to suffer from a stroke in their left- hemisphere than women are  Thus men are more likely to suffer from stroke-induced aphasia  Neural systems involved in speech may be organized differently in males and females 3) ACQUIRING LANGUAGE  Learning a new language is not necessarily the result of imitation and reinforcement, the trick is creativity  Mistakes in grammar are often not corrected, but just the facts a) Biological Foundations  Chomsky proposed that humans are born with language acquisition device, that we are prewired with the biological mechanism that contains the general grammatical rules common to all languages  Juskzyk (1986) sucking rates for “Pa” vs. “Ba” increased o Finds that babies can pick up subtle differences in phonemes o However, sensitivity to foreign contrasts drops as infants approach 12 mos., suggesting that we are pre-wired for language acquisition b) Social learning Processes  Parents communicate with their infants using a high-pitched tone  Skinner explained that children’s language development is governed by positive reinforcement  Babies vocalize in the first few moments of life, but babbling has no meaning, only a social quality in hearing infants and learning  Language Acquisition Support System represent the feats in the social environment that facilitates that learning of language c) Developmental Timetable and Sensitive Period  There is a critical period in which a child must acquire experience with language in order to develop it normally  Studies of feral children, isolated children and children with no model (ie. Deaf kids who do not learn sign language early on in life) who are not exposed to civilization within the critical period show no progress in language development. Doesn’t work for animals o On the other hand, if they are exposed within this period, they can progress at the same speed are “normal” children  The brain is hard-wired for language, but it develops on it’s own. d) Stages in Language Development  One Word Speaker 5-8 months of age, responds to parent’s words o Talking beings 10-20 months o Early vocabulary is very simple, ex: nouns interactions and adjectives o Words are not strung together into a sentence, and are more likely to contain objects that an infant can manipulate o Under generalize Learn that only one word is applicable to one thing only, so it’s difficult to understand what they mean  2-Word Speaker Telegraphic speech starts at around 2 y/o o Vocabulary expands to around 100 words o Speech picks up proper syntax o By 2 ½ y/o, more than 2 words are used and sentences are more complex o Generalization rules are being established  At 4-5 y/o, mistakes in tenses occur quite often due to over generalization from formal schooling taking over. o Ex: “Eated” instead of ate 4) BILINGUALISM: LEARNING A SECOND LANGUAGE  A second language is learned be and spoken most fluently when it is learned during the sensitive period of childhood  Research has revealed that bilingual people show better cognitive and flexible processes than monolingual people  Psycholinguists believe that learning a second language is best during the critical period of learning o Evidence has proven that children to early teens acquire language better than people who acquire a second language at a later age o For instance, they have better grammatical skills and proficiency 5) LINGUISTIC INFLUENCES ON THINKING  Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis suggests that not only does language influences our thinking, it can also determine how we think  However, this hypothesis is not necessarily correct o If this theory was correct, then people who cultures have only a few words for colour should have a greater difficulty perceiving colour o This is untrue as proven by research; limited words for colour did not impede perception of colour  Psycholinguists believe that language influences our thinking o Ex: Students where shown two statements in which one was used “He” and the other was used “They.” The students were then asked if psychology was a profession for males and/or females. Those that had read the passage with “He” thought that psychology was a male-orientated career, whereas those who read the passage with “They” thought psychology was a gender-neutral career  Language can also influence how well we think in certain domains o Ex: English-speaking children do poorly in math compared to Asian children due to different ways to verbally represent numbers o Whereas English-speaking children say eleven, twelve, thirteen, Asian children say ten-one, ten-two, ten-three. This helped performed mathematics more easily than English-speaking children Thinking 1) THOUGHT, BRAIN, AND MIND  Neuroscientists believe that there is a biological level of analysis of thought, as proven through patterns of neural activity  Thinking comes in different modes: o Propositional Thought Thoughts that express ideas, ie: “I’m hungry” o Imaginal thought Images that we see, hear, or feel in our mind o Motoric thought Relates to mental presentations of motor movements, such as throwing 2) CONCEPTS AND PROPOSITIONS  Proposition is the most common type of thinking. They are statements that express ideas  Two or more concepts brought on together create a proposition o Ex: “College students” + “intelligent people” = College students are intelligent people  Concepts are mental categories into which we place objects, activities, abstractions and events o Some concepts are hard to define, yet can be brought on by an example o Ex: Vegetable is hard to define, but you can easily give an example of it  Concepts are defined by prototypes, the most familiar members of the category o We decided what cate
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