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Chapter 2

Chapter 2

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Todd Ferretti

Psycholinguistics – Chapter 2  introduction o fluently speaking a language does not guarantee explicit knowledge of the language  speaking comes naturally to people, though we don't consciously think of how we construct sentences, it is very autonomous  basic grammatical concepts o word order  English is strict about word order  syntactic rules including those pertaining to word order are taught relatively early  basic word order is subject->verb->object (SVO)  girl chased boy  Japanese uses subject-object-verb (SOV)  taro ga hanako ni sono hon o yatta  taro to hanako that book gave  in Russian, meaning is conveyed less by word order than by the affixes (suffix and prefixes) (pre-, -ed)  affixing is more complex in most languages than in English  verbs would need to include the tense as well as whether the subject was male or female  in Turkish, speakers must emphasize if the action was witnessed or emphasized, on top of word order  in Mandarin Chinese, indicating the tense is optional o research shows that even with all the differences in languages, there are underlying similarities  every language contains declarative sentences that express subject, verb and object  all languages have a preferred word order, even though some might be more flexible than others o list of properties that are commonly agreed to be evident among the world's languages  duality of patterning  two levels  1 - large number of meaningful elements or words  2 - relatively small number of meaningless elements that are combined to form words  in spoken language, meaningless elements are individual speech sounds  phones and phonemes  phones - speech sounds  two sounds are different phones if they different in physically specifiable ways  difference between the p sound in pill and spill  separated by brackets [p]  aspiration is puff of air for the p sound in pill  phonemes - differences in sound that make contribution to meaning  big and dig  separated by slashes /b/ig and /d/ig  only phonemes can change the meaning of words  distinctive features  characteristic of a speech sound whose presence or absence distinguishes one sound from another  phoneme /b/ is similar to /p/ but different physical parts are used to produce /b/ but not /p/  presence of feature indicated by + while absence is indicated by -  phoneme /b/ is said to be +voicing while /p/ is said to be voicing 1 Psycholinguistics – Chapter 2  /b/ is also +bilabial and +stop  sound is articulated at the lips  airflow from the lungs is completely stopped during production  word cannot begin with two stop consonants  p, b, t, g, d, k are all +stop  voiceless stop consonants are aspirated when they occur at the beginning of a word  till - [s]till  kill - [s]kill  languages differ in their phonemes and rules by which phonemes are to be combined to form words, but they all have duality  morphology  system of rules that govern how we use different forms of the same word to convey the different shades of meaning  morphemes - smallest meaningful units in a language  truck - single morpheme  bedroom - two morphemes  two different types of morphemes  free morphemes - morphemes that can stand alone  bound morphemes (grammatical morphemes) - which contribute to word meaning but are not words  insert 2.1  although languages have morphological system, languages differ in grammatical distinctions they make and in way in which they make them  phrase structure  intuitively, we know that sentences can be broken up into groups of words  sentences consist of noun phrases and verb phrases  NPs can be replaced by NPs and VPs can be replaced by VPs  phrase structure rules  syntactic rules that specify the permissible sequences of constituents in a language  insert 2.2-2.3  provide good account of one type of sentence ambiguity called phrase-structure ambiguity  they are eating apples  are eating = V in VP  are = V, eating adj in NP  linguistic productivity  no limit to number of sentences in a language  most sentences we say are novel but grammatically acceptable arrangements  linguistic productivity / linguistic creativity: ability to produce and comprehend novel utterances  given that human brain is finite, how the brain can master a language with finite sentences is still a problem psycholinguists are trying to solve  impossible for the human brain to store infinite sentences  most psycholinguists assume that the brain does not store sentences, but rather, stores rules, as rules are finite  recursive rule  rule where a rule refers to itself 2 Psycholinguistics – Chapter 2  most closely related to language productivity as there is no limit to the number of times we can embed one sentence into another  appears to be resilient property of human language use  even children with little exposure to language create language that has this property  linguistic productivity distinguishes human language from animal communication systems  animal communication systems consist of very small number of discrete signals  human languages are open communication systems  new words are coined as needed  words are combined to create novel words  not all aspects of language are productive, some words are not rule governed  went instead of go-ed  insights from sign language o linguistic properties of ASL (American sign language) are being considered o signs are represented in a visual or spatial form rather than auditory o difference between signed and spoken language  iconicity and arbitrariness  arbitrariness - no intrinsic relationship exists between set of sounds and object to which the sounds refer  small words could refer to large objects and vice versa  caterpillars are small, trains are big  universal language feature  iconicity - how much the word resembles the referred object  signs have high degree of iconicity  different sign languages have developed around the world, different languages have different signs  different cultures represent the objects in different ways  not always easy for people to understand sign if they don't understand as objects are represented differently based on culture  iconicity in ASL has decreased in the past 200 years as signs are "simplified" to ease and speed of communication processes  ASL has a dual system of reference, part iconic, part arbitrary  simultaneous and sequential structure  spoken language is largely sequential in nature, rules that specify the order of words in the sentence  SL differs that it is organized spatially, rather than temporally  specified primarily by combination of features simultaneously present in the sign rather than the order o similarities between signed and spoken languages  duality of patterning  three major parameters of signs are hand configuration, place of articulation and movement  19 values of hand configurations or hand shapes  can be given parameters - index and compact  +/- index = index finger extended  +/- compact = hand open or closed  1
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