10 Concepts

10 Concepts - Concepts Meaning Ques1on for class What is...

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Concepts & Meaning
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Ques1on for class: What is meaning?
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Meaning has diferent meanings “MeaningFulness”: e.g., importance or value; purpose or goal E.g., The meaning oF liFe This isn’t really what linguists & psychologists have in mind
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Reference’/’Word’meaning’ Meanings Words Sounds / ˈ æpəl/ referent Meanings are mental representations / states that encode information, which can be used to describe properties of our experience, our inner lives, our imaginations, or the world
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Some theories of meaning 1. Classical’view : meanings are deFni1ons - e.g., BACHELOR= post-pubescent, eligible & unmarried 2. Sta:s:cal’view : meanings are collec1ons of associa1ons (also called “prototype theory”) - e.g., CAT= animal (.99); furry (.85); four legs (.85); meows (. 6); cute (.34) 3. Theory’view : meanings are deFned by their role in a theory (also called “theory theory”) - e.g., what is “force” or “mass” (you need to know physics to know meanings of these words).
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A method for studying concepts & meaning: emergence in acquisi1on
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Pairing meaning to sound Infants begin learning word meanings by 6 months of age By 10 months, children in the U.S. have comprehension vocabularies of about 11-154 word Begin using words between 10 and 15 months Comprehension -> produc±on
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How’does’the’child’do’it? Four’problems: 1. iden±fying phonemes (last class) 2. segmen±ng the word (vs. other words in sentence) 3. focusing on the right part of the world 4. determining what the speaker is naming The’input: Look, a bunny!
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What’is’being’referred’to? The’input: Gavagai! Willard V. O. Quine (1908-2000)
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Rabbit (kind of thing) Peter (proper name of the rabbit) Angora rabbit (subordinate concept) Mammal, animal, living thing (superordinate concept) Uncle, herbivore, prey, pet (role, job descrip1on) Runner (temporary state) These’are’all’ways’in’which’we’can’describe’this’object.’ Ambiguity Fur (rabbit stu±) Dinner (rabbit stu±) Tail (part) Family (collec1on) Species Furry, preLy, swi² (property) Race (event) Hopping (ac1on) ³ife, fecundity, nature (abstrac1on) Rabbit in the morning Rabbit or baseball Undetached rabbit parts Con1nuous succession of rabbit 1me slices Rabbit un1l 20´0, then tortoise
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Word learning requires constraints; a form of l mind-reading z What’are’the’building’blocks’of’this’mind’reading?
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10 Concepts - Concepts Meaning Ques1on for class What is...

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