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Chapter 8

Chapter 8 - Language and Thought

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York University
PSYC 1010
Rebecca Jubis

Chapter 8Language and ThoughtCognition the mental processes involved in acquiring knowledgeLanguages Turning Thoughts into Words What is LanguageLanguage consists of symbols that convey meaning plus rules for combining those symbols that can be used to generate an infinite variety of messages o Is symbolicspoken sounds and written words represent objects actions events and ideas o Is semantic meaningfulo Is generativelimited number if symbols can be combined in an infinite variety of ways o Is structuredrules govern the arrangement of words into phrases and sentencesThe Structure of LanguagesPhonemesPhonemes the smallest speech units in a language that can be distinguishedperceptually o Humans are only capable of recognizing about 100 o Different languages use different groups of about 2080English is composed of 40 y A letter of the alphabet can represent more than one phoneme if it has multiple pronunciationsy Some phonemes are represented by a combination of lettersMorphemes and SemanticsMorphemes the smallest units of meaning in a language o About 50 000 in English o Include root words prefixes suffixesSemantics the area of language concerned with understanding the meaning of words and word combinations o Consists of a words denotation dictionary definition and connotation emotional overtones and secondary implicationsSyntaxSyntax a system of rules that specify how words can be arranged into sentences o Ex sentences must have a subject and a verb o People know these rules and apply them without being able to verbalize what these rules are Milestones in Language DevelopmentMoving Toward Producing Words3 month old infants can distinguish between phonemes from all of the worlds languages o Ability disappears between 412 months o Proves babies learn sound structure long before they start talkingIt is easier for babies to learn languages o Ability can be derived from listening to speech in the womb
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