03-13 Language-1 - Language "Language shapes the way...

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1 Language "Language shapes the way we think and determines what we can think about." – Benjamin Lee Whorf Language • A language is a system of symbols, sounds, meanings, and rules of combination that allows for communication among humans • Language is symbolic , semantic , generative , and structured Language Structure of Language • Theories of Language Acquisition • Language in the Human Brain • Language in Nonhumans?
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2 Structure of Language • The structure of language is hierarchical Phonemes Phonemes are the smallest speech units and are distinct sounds b the stimulus of speech • Phonemes Syllables • Phonemes Letters /s/ = s ink /š/ = sh oe /z/ = z inc /ž/ = treas ure • The human vocal apparatus is capable of producing ~100 distinct phonemes • Most languages use 20-80 phonemes • English = 40 phonemes The Human Vocal Tract • Phonemes are produced by forcing air from the lungs through the mouth • Varying movements of the vocal apparatus (lips, mouth, tongue, vocal cords) result in the production of different phonemes • Example: Voicing – Adding voice changes phoneme – /s/ = nonvoiced; /z/ = voiced
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3 The Segmentation Problem • We perceive clear boundaries between words • However, there are often no breaks in the physical signal, or the breaks in the signal do not correspond to
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This note was uploaded on 02/05/2011 for the course PSYCH 1101 taught by Professor Tomhutcheon during the Spring '10 term at Georgia Institute of Technology.

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03-13 Language-1 - Language "Language shapes the way...

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