Lecture 4

Where we are topic 2 how we productively combine words

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Unformatted text preview: h the world ▪  in a particular sort of body ▪  with the sorts of mental faculties we have ▪  in the context of other humans, with social goals, interactions, etc. Where we are   Topic 2: how we productively combine words to create more complex structures, like sentences. This is grammar: the study of what people know about how words combine to produce meaningful patterns   Grammar is going to turn out to be best understood through embodiment, too Grammar   Grammar is important   It’s very human: all typically developing humans (that includes socialization) develop language, with grammar ▪  that’s hierarchically structured ▪  that uses grammatical categories (parts of speech) ▪  that uses word order   May be uniquely human: other animals aren’t as flexible   So it might reveal stuff about how the mind works   Evolution might play a role: some developmental impairments interfere with acquisition of grammar (and maybe not as much with other cognitive abilities) Grammar   Some things that grammar does   Organizes the meaning contributions of words The kids ate the watermelon ≠ The watermelon ate the kids   Imposes hierarchical structure The kids ate the watermelon The hungry kids ate the watermelon The hungry kids who had just played soccer ate the watermelon   Allows (in principle unlimited) productivity The monkey killed the student. ^ that the professor trained ^ that the police were searching for Grammar   Some questions about grammar and cognition   What cognitive mechanisms are involved in grammar use?   Are they unique to grammar (or to language)?   How does grammar contribute to meaning?   How do we learn grammar? History of grammar   Until the late 1950s, the study of the language of individuals was largely behaviorist.   The mind was a black box; all you could study was what went in and came out of human language users   Hypothesizing about mental states or representations or processes was off ­limits   This included grammar Chomsky and grammar       Starting in the 1960s, Noam Chomsky, an MIT linguist, advocated viewing language instead as a window to the mind This is of cognitivism—the idea that you can hypothesize...
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This note was uploaded on 02/09/2014 for the course COGS 101c taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at UCSD.

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