cross cultural psychology lecture 9(3)

cross cultural psychology lecture 9(3) -...

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Culture, Language and Communication
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Language divided into major components that each person must learn: Studied extensively
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Some basic facts about language Language is a universal across all human cultures – said to be a key characteristic of being human. All cultures and all human beings develop language Exceptions have to do with isolation, mental handicaps (e.g., deafness, low IQ), maltreatment of young children
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Basic facts While cultures differ in the exact nature of the language spoken, all languages include basic characteristics of human language: Phonemes Morphology syntax Semantics Pragmatics
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Language differences Some oral only – no written language Some use tones to create word meanings; others do not Particular phonemes used varies from language to language (many are common but some languages have unique phonemes not present in other languages) Morphology, Syntax , Grammar and semantics are present in all languages but exact use of these varies Verb endings, tense use Location of subject, verb, nouns, adjectives Pragmatics – All cultures use language to communicate – but variations in how used; formality
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Chomsky – Humans share a universal language learning system Big debate of the 1950’s 60’s – Chomsky and Skinner – nature or nurture. Chomsky: Brain contains language “acquisition device” that determines the potential for language Skinner: Language just one form of learning; experience is the key A language “organ” like sensory systems. All human’s are born with this device – genetically determined Contains basic mechanisms to enable language use Experience determines what language and how used within a culture: Chomsky called these surface features but underlying language follows same basic rules
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Evidence for Nature: How languages develop A biological given Parts of human brain devoted to language Left hemisphere for most people specializes in language; if not then right hemisphere devoted to language Several regions of brain are foci for language – Damage to certain areas of brain affect one or more aspects of language – e.g., word names; concepts
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