language1_08 - 1 Language I October 23, 2008 2 3 Why is...

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1 1 Language I October 23, 2008 2 3 Why is Language Important? • Represents unique form of abstraction in human species • Language influences perception and memory • Relevant to the form and manner of information storage • Relevance to thinking and problem-solving is unquestioned • Chief means of human communication 4 Key Terminology Phonology : (the way sounds function in the language) basic unit = phoneme – single speech sound – English has about 45; 9 make up half our words – dimensions: voiced (“a”); unvoiced (“s”); fricatives (“sh”), plosives (“t”); place of articulation (palate v. lips) Morphology : (study of the internal structure of words) basic unit = morpheme – smallest unit of meaning (words, parts of words, etc.) – free (e.g., “old”, “the”) vs. bound (e.g., “er”, “ist”) – over 100,000 words formed by morpheme combinations Semantics : (study of meaning) denotation vs. connotation words as economic labels; link between language and concepts Syntax : (study of rules that govern combination of morphemes in phrases and sentences; interdependency) prescriptive vs. descriptive grammar “Daddy, what did you bring that book that I don’t want to be read to out of up for”? 5 Linguistic Relativity • Whorf (1956) – Language determines or influences thinking • Miller and McNeill (1969) – Strong hypothesis • Language determines thinking – Weak hypothesis • Language influences perception – Weakest hypothesis • Language influences memory 6 Evidence • Regional/cultural differences in language – Hanuxoo have 92 different names for various types of rice • Could be that language evolution enables fine distinctions among types of rice • Could be that different environmental conditions influence the things people think about • Colour categorisation – Heider (1972) – color categories are universal – Dani (2 colors) v. American errors similar – Failures to replicate (Roberson, Davies, and Davidoff, 2000) 7 Influence of language (English vs. Berinmo) on choice of similar pairs of stimuli by English and Berinmo participants. Data from Roberson et al. (2000).
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2 8 Evaluation • Harley (2001, p. 87) – “There is now a considerable amount of evidence suggesting that linguistic factors can affect cognitive processes. Even colour perception and memory . . . show some influence of language.” • The evidence supports the weak and the weakest versions 9 Language Comprehension 10 Speech Perception • Input rapid ( 10 phonemes/sec) • “Non-invariance” - speech sounds affected by sounds which proceed and follow; also different voices • Segmentation problem - how to separate sounds in a continuous flow • Use of prosody • Definite left-hemisphere advantage 11 12 Auditory Word Recognition: Basic Processes Auditory Word Recognition: Basic Processes • Bottom-up: processing of individual phonemic features • Top-down: conceptual processing
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This note was uploaded on 12/01/2011 for the course CLP 7934 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at University of Florida.

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language1_08 - 1 Language I October 23, 2008 2 3 Why is...

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