Unformatted text preview: Language and Thinking: What Humans Do Best Language Essentials Language production Language comprehension is generative Superiority over machines The Four Aspects of Language Aspects of Language: Phonology
The structure of sounds that can be used to produce words in a language Phonemes Basic building blocks of speech sounds
Video clips: Language predisposition Infant speech sound discrimination Humans can produce about 100 phonemes Different languages use different phonemes French soft r's do not exist in English Japanese has no r's at all Aspects of Language: Syntax Syntax: Grammatical rules for organizing speech Aphasia: a disruption of language due to brain damage Broca's aphasia Wernicke's aphasia Damage to Broca's area: Speech production deficit Also, deficit in comprehension of complex syntax: "The leopard was killed by the lion." Damage to Wernicke's area: Comprehension deficit Produce fluent, syntactically structured, but "empty," speech Anomiadifficulty retrieving words The patient in the passage below is trying to describe a picture of a child taking a cookie: C.B. Uh, well this is the ... the /dodu/ of this. This and this and this and this. These things going in there like that. This is /sen/ things here. This one here, these two things here. And the other one here, back in this one, this one /gesh/ look at this one.Examiner Yeah, what's happening there? I can't tell you what that is, but I know what it is, but I don't now where it is. But I don't know what's under. I know it's you couldn't say it's ... I couldn't say what it is. I couldn't say what that is. This shu-- that should be right in here. That's very bad in there..." An internal translation problem--spoken and written language (phonological loop) Theories of Language Development Empiricism Nativism Language is entirely learned Championed by B. F. Skinner Some aspects of language are innate Language acquisition device (LAD) Championed by Noam Chomsky Interactionist theories Language Development Role of Environment and Experience: Enriching Environments Hart & Risley (1995/2002, 1999) Studied children of professionals, workingclass parents, and families receiving welfare Vocabulary size at age 3 1100 750 500 Children of professionals Children of workingclass Children of parents on welfare Language Development Environment acts on biology: Phases of language acquisition
Critical and sensitive periods Is there a language gene? Cases of "feral" children There appears to be a critical period for grammar acquisition There may not be a critical period for language comprehension Families who share specific language impairment ...
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- Spring '07