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Psycholinguistics - Psycholinguistics Core Linguistics...

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Psycholinguistics
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2 Core Linguistics    Interfaces… Psychology Engineering Medicine Computer science History Anthropology Sociology Cultural Studies Literature Languages CORE LINGUISTICS Phonetics Phonology Syntax Morphology Semantics Pragmatics
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Questions? How is it possible that babies learn language without any effort and adults often struggle with new languages? Why are adults better at learning a language with some methods rather than others? Why do older people start losing language? Which language do they lose first? Why do injuries to different parts of the brain produce different language problems? 3
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Speech versus other motor  skills 4 Language develops before other complex motor or cognitive skills are acquired.
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First language acquisition A normal human child can acquire any language it is exposed to. By age 5, most of the language is in place. Children make mistakes they have never heard. This implies that they do NOT learn by imitation only. They make predictable mistakes (generalizations of regular patterns: maked, eated, goed, mouses …). Babies seem to be born “prewired to learn language”. Maybe they are born with a “ language faculty ” in their brain that contains the principles of the universal grammar. 5
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Syntax: Noam Chomsky’s view Universal Grammar We are born “pre-wired” to learn a language; there is a language faculty in human brain (UG) that enables human children to acquire a certain type of language. Language-specific Grammar Each language sets its own specific parameters for the basic (universal) principles of linguistic structures. E.g. word order is significant but different languages use different basic word orders: SVO, SOV, VSO 6
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Principles and Parameters UG provides us with a set of principles underlying all human languages. The grammar of an individual language sets parameters for these principles. 7
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Principles and Parameters Pay attention to the order of elements. Word order is important: SVO, SOV, VSO… Ordering of morphemes in words is important Sentences have subjects: Pro-drop, etc. Structures have heads: there is an ordering of elements as in head first, head last structures… There is some co-ordination of parameters.
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