Pinker Chapter 1 - Activity 1: What are the fields of study...

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Unformatted text preview: Activity 1: What are the fields of study that deal Activity What with language? Activity 2: Language is a symbolic system but it is Activity Language a special kind of symbolic system. Do you agree with this view? you Activity 3: Is human life possible without Is language? What will happen if all human beings simultaneously lose their faculty (ability to speak, read, write, and listen) for language? write, Activity 4: Give examples for the eccentricity of Give English language. English Chapter 1 Chapter An introduction to what the books is about. An What follows are some of his viewpoints. What viewpoints Pinker’s Views – Language is human instinct instinct Language is a biological adaptation to Language communicate information. Language is the product of a well-engineered biological instinct. Language is an instinct in human beings just as Language the web spinning is instinctive in a spider. Spiders spin spider webs because they have spider brains. We speak language because we have human (language) brains. have Pinker’s Views – Language is a biological organ Language Language is a biological organ and is not Language different from any other physical organ such as hands or legs; as such, language acquisition must be studied in the same way as how human beings acquired hands and legs in the evolutionary process. In short, language is an evolutionary adaptation, like the eye or any other part of the human body. any Pinker’s Views Pinker’s Language is not a cultural artifact Language is not a cultural invention - it is Language not a cultural artifact. not Pinker’s Views Pinker’s Language is a multidisciplinary study Language is to be studied under cognitive Language science. Cognitive scientists combine tools from psychology, computer science, linguistics, philosophy, and neurobiology to explain what language is. to Pinker’s Views – Pinker’s Language is species specific Language is species specific and it is Language language that separates human beings from other species. from Pinker’s Views Pinker’s Language is qualitatively the same in all human beings Language is qualitatively (fundamentally) Language the same in every human being. the Pinker’s Views Pinker’s Language is a special skill Language that is different from other human skills that Language is a complex, specialized skill. Language is distinct from more general abilities Language to process information or behave intelligently. to Language is not a manifestation of a general Language capacity to use symbols; if it is so, how come children are incompetent at the visual arts, traffic signs, and other forms of semiotics. signs, Pinker’s Views Pinker’s Mental grammar cannot be captured in machine programs Human language is so complex and Human eccentric that it is impossible to capture (replicate) it in a computer program. (We drive on the parkway and park in a driveway). It is a system of great richness and beauty. and Language is creative (there is only a Language limited number of words) and is a product of mental grammar. of Pinker’s Views Pinker’s Mental grammar A child’s mental grammar is more complex child’s than a linguist’s grammar. A three year old is a grammatical genius. is Though there are many languages in the Though world, all these (mental grammars) can be captured in the form of Universal Grammar (UG). Grammar Pinker’s Views – Language Acquisition Pinker’s Children’s learning of language is not the Children’s result of imitation. result Behaviorism cannot capture the fact that Behaviorism virtually every sentence we speak is a new combination of words. new Pinker’s Views – Language Acquisition Pinker’s UG with its highly restrictive principles UG guides the language acquisition process in children. children. Children learn language from fragmentary Children evidence (poverty of stimulus argument). evidence Pinker’s Views – Language Acquisition Pinker’s Children learn language without any Children conscious effort or formal instruction. conscious ...
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course LING 161 at San Jose State University .

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