10-22 Language_Thought1 - Language "Language shapes...

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1 Language "Language shapes the way we think and determines what we can think about." – Benjamin Lee Whorf Structure of Language • Phonemes combine to form morphemes , which in turn combine to form words Morphemes Morphemes are the smallest units of meaning in a language • The English language consists of approximately 50,000 morphemes • Combining of morphemes b words Suffixes, prefixes, connecting words -ed, -er, pre-, and Root words man, hat, cat Function Morphemes Content Morphemes
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2 The word shamelessness has nine phonemes and three morphemes Structure of Language • Words combine to form phrases , which in turn are combined to form sentences • Phrases and sentences convey more complex concepts that words alone • Phrases and sentences are constructed according to a language’s rules of syntax Rules of syntax = constraints on how words and phrases can combine into sentences
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3 Ambiguity of Sentences Newspaper Headlines Deer Kill 130,000 Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim N.J. Judge to Rule on Nude Beach • Often times, the meanings of phrases and sentences are ambiguous Time flies like an arrow (time flies as an arrow does) (time flies, a creature, enjoy an arrow) (time those flies like you would time an arrow) • Context and experience allow us to disambiguate phrases and sentences Language • Structure of Language Theories of Language Acquisition • Language in the Human Brain • Language in Nonhumans? Behaviorist Theories • B.F. Skinner proposed that language is learned through imitation and conditioning – children imitate parents • Children are reinforced for generating correct speech sounds Problem : Parents tend not to correct grammatical mistakes in children B.F. Skinner
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4 Nativist Theories • Noam Chomksy argued that language acquisition appears to be universal across culture (could not be accounted for by learning) • He proposed that humans are inborn
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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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10-22 Language_Thought1 - Language "Language shapes...

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