Introduction to LanguageMost psychologists consider human communication to be language •Language is regulated by the rules of grammarThe quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog○The lazy dog was jumped over by the quick brown dog○•Words in a language arbitrarily represents what they meanLack of resemblance between words and their meaning○•Words in a language can be combined in many productive ways to describe most any situation or idea•How do humans develop language?The Whorf-Sapir hypothesisLanguage influences our thoughts and the way we perceive and experience the world§Difficulty understanding specific numbers supports the Whorf-Sapir hypothesisOne line of evidence supporting his hypothesis comes from a study of the Piraha, a tribe of hunter-gathers in Brazil. The native language contains only three counting words corresponding to one, two, and many. According to the strongest version of the Whorf-Sapir hypothesis, this tribe should have trouble understanding fine numerical concepts because the language lacks words for these fine distinctions. Peter Gordon of Columbia University, asked members of the tribe to match groups of objects according to how many items were in each group. Gordon laid out a number of familiar objects, such as sticks or nuts and asked □§○•LanguageMonday, October 7, 20191:43 PM
familiar objects, such as sticks or nuts and asked tribe members to lay out the same number of objects on their side. As you would expect, the members of the tribe performed well on this task when there were groups of one or two, but performance worsened with test sets greater than three objectsRecognizing different relatives with similar labels counters the Whorf-Sapir hypothesisMore than one person in your family may be called uncle - but you are still able to recognize these are two separate people□§The Structure of LanguageGrammar forms the structure of human language•Morphemes All languages use sounds or words, or symbols, to transmit information○In oral language - the smallest units of sounds that contains information○In manual or sign language - morphemes are identified in units of signs rather than sound○Often a word, but some words contain multiple morphemesExample is table containing 1 morpheme, while the word (table)(cloth) contains 2 morphemes§Another example is (table)(s) containing 2 morphemes, table is the first morpheme indicating the object and the s is indicating there are multiple tables§Examples: the word "pizza", the suffix -ingin the word "running", the letter s in the word "cats"§○Phonemes are the smallest unit of sounds in a word○•Syntax The rules that govern how words in a sentence are out together○Also known as grammar○He, she, table○•
He, she, table○
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