PsychologyChapter9 - Psychology Chapter 9 THOUGHT LANGUAGE...

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Language - Human thought and behaviour depend on more than the physical structure of the brain - Evolutionary theorists believed that language evolved as humans gathered to form larger social units The Nature and Structure of Language - Language : consists of a system of symbols and rules for combining these symbols in ways that can produce an almost infinite number of possible messages or meanings - Three critical properties essential to any language: o Symbolic – language uses sounds, written signs, or gestures to refer to objects, events, ideas and feelings Displacement: a linguistic feature that refers to the fact that past, future and imaginary events and objects that are not physically present can be symbolically represented and communicated through the medium of language o Structure – rules that govern how symbols can be combined to create meaningful communication units o Generative – symbols can be combined to generate an almost infinite number of messages that can have a novel meaning - Surface and Deep Structure… o Psycholinguists: study the psychological properties of language and the underlying mechanisms that produce it Describe language as having both a surface structure and deep structure o Surface structure: consists of the way symbols are combined within a given language Syntax: rules of grammar o Deep structure : the underlying meaning of the combined symbols Semantics : the rules of connecting the symbols to what they represent o When we recall something, we are likely to retrieve deep structure (meaning) rather than the specific words - Language from the Bottom Up… o Phoneme : the smallest unit of sound that is recognized as separate in a given language o Morpheme : the smallest unit of meaning in a language o We have a 5-step language hierarchy: phoneme morpheme word phrase sentence Acquiring a Language - Biological Foundations… o Several facts suggest a biological basis for language acquisition o All languages have a common underlying deep structure o Some linguists are convinced there is a sensitive period during which language is most easily learned (typically extends from infancy to puberty) o Sex differences… Men who suffer from left hemisphere strokes are more likely than women to show severe aphasic symptoms this suggests that, in women, more of their language function is shared with the right hemisphere - Social Learning Processes…
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o Social learning plays an essential role in acquiring a language o B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning explanation consists of the basic premise that children’s language development is strongly governed by adults’ reinforcing appropriate language and non-reinforcing of inappropriate verbalization o Parents typically correct the deep structure of their child’s speech rather than the surface structure o Telegraphic speech : 2-word sentences containing a noun and a verb - Bilingualism: Learning a Second Language
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PsychologyChapter9 - Psychology Chapter 9 THOUGHT LANGUAGE...

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