Cognitive Psych: Chapter 9- Language I. Language A. Linguistics and Psycholinguistics Linguistics- the academic discipline that takes language as its topic; linguistics focuses on language itself as a formal, almost disembodied system. The USE of language is irrelevant in this discipline. Psycholinguistics- the study of language as it is used and learned by people. Language- is a shared symbolic system for communication. Its symbolic- it consists of linguistic units, sounds that form words and other meaningful units that symbolize or stand for the referent of the word. The symbol system is shared by all speakers of a language culture. Speakers and listeners all learned the same set of arbitrary connections between sound and meaning, and they also share a common rule system that translates the sound to meaning connections. The system enables communication. Language as an abstract system Language as a human behavior Linguistic universals- features or characteristics that are common to all known language. Hockett proposed that only human language consists the 13 features of linguistic universals Characterisics of Language: Semanticity- language conveys meaning. The sounds of human language carry meaning, whereas other sounds that we make say coughing, are not part of our language. Arbitrariness- there is no inherent connection between the units (sounds, words) used in a language and the meanings referred to be those units. The symbol we use to refer to something bears no relationship to the thing itself. In language, the relationship between sound and meaning is arbitrary Because there are no built- in connections between symbols and their referents, knowledge of language must involve learning and remembering the arbitrary connections. The principle of arbitrariness makes language entirely symbolic. Flexibility- because the connection between symbol and meaning is arbitrary, we can change those connections and invent new ones. E.g. automobiles became cars Naming- we assign names to all the objects in our environment, to all the feelings and emotions we experience, to all the ideas and concepts we conceive of. We also have an elaborate vocabulary by which we refer to unseen characteristics, privately experienced feelings, and other intangibles and abstractions. We can also generate or invent names for new objects, ideas, etc. We can create new languages Displacement- our language gives us the ability to talk about something other than the present moment. By conjugating verbs to form past tense, future tense, and so on, we can communicate about objects, events, and ideas that are not present but are remembered or anticipated. We can talk about things displaced in time. We can communicate about something that has never happened, and indeed might never happen, while anticipating future consequences of that never-performed action. Productivity-language is a productive and inherently novel activity, that we generate sentences rather than repeat them. The bulk of what we say is NOVEL. Our utterances are not memorized, are not repeated, but are new. Infinite output from finite means. Human language is infinite; new sentences and words can be created This means that language is a creative system as opposed to a repetitive system. We can understand the infinite set of sentences by the rules that form the basis for each level of language. Implicit Rules- human language is governed by rules that are implicit. (occurs at each level) Humans are very good at using these rules Competence and Performance E.g. WUG(s); WUCK(s), etc; children know how to use plural automatically Competence- the internalized knowledge of language and its rules that fully fluent speakers of a language have. Underlying knowledge. Underlying structure of knowledge Linguistics is interested in this Language is abstract to the linguist Performance- the actual language behavior a speaker generates, the string of sounds and words that the speaker utters. How people use language My performance did/did not reflect my underlying knowledge. How underlying knowledge gets played out in actual use. Performance reveals imperfections Dysfluencies- irregularities or errors in otherwise fluent speech; lapses of memory, momentary distractions, intrusions of new thoughts- NOT part of competence (user?s basic knowledge of the language) Animal Communication Systems: Beyond the level of arbitrariness, no animal communication system seems to exhibit the characteristics that appear to be universally true of- and vitally important to- human language. (naming, flexibility, novel, displacement, productivity) II. Levels of Language Structure: Five levels of analysis: Language is a set of all acceptable, well-formed sentences in the language. In this scheme, sets of rules are said to generate the sentences, and the entire set of rules is called a grammar. Grammar: of a language is the complete set of rules that will generate or produce all the acceptable sentences and will not generate any unacceptable, ill-formed sentences. Such grammar operates at three basic levels: Phonology, Syntax, Semantics and two higher levels: Conceptual knowledge and beliefs (proposed by Miller) *don?t need to know two higher levels for test. Ambiguity: everything we encounter has more than 1 interpretation and can be at any level. Phonology: the sounds of language Morphology (lexical): formation of words (units of meaningful speech) Syntax: the order of words, formation of sentences, grammaticality Semantics: meanings; deals with accessing and combining the separate word meanings into a sensible, meaningful whole. Ex. the shooting of the hunter was terrible- was the hunter shot? Pragmatics: the use of language Sarcasm: form of ambiguity. Literal: how we manipulate language to convey info in a certain way. Rhetorical questions: intended as statements Relationship of sound to meaning is: Arbitrary: nothing about a sound shows what something means Displacement: we can talk about things displaced in time, we can talk about something untrue. Productivity (Generativity): no limits to the number of sentences you can speak and understand. III. Linguistic Rules and Processing A. The rules are implicit. Most people can?t describe the rules of language, they just know them implicitly. Competence: underlying knowledge of structure of language (knowledge gets filtered through all of our abilities) Performance: use of language B. Phonology: the sounds of language and the rule system for combining them; sound structure of language (units of speech sound) 1. Phonemes: actual sounds of speech The smallest unit of speech sound that makes a difference to meaning. The basic sounds that compose a language A category of sounds treated as functionally identical. Basic sound that compose a language, smallest unit of speech sound that makes a difference for meaning but does not have meaning /b/ and /p/ are different phonemes in English because they make a difference to the meaning- bin and pin. Like a family of sounds English contains about 46 phonemes. From these phonemes, English generates all its words. Sometimes, two speech sounds may be different so we consider them to be different, even if they sound similar. P in pill and p in spill are very differ sounds but English doesn?t consider the difference to be important. Sounds are different phones but not phonemes. Phoneme: the category or group of language sounds that are treated as the same sound, despite physical differences among the sounds. Liberman Study: Categorical perception: All the sounds falling within a set of boundaries are perceived as the same, despite physical differences among them. Because English speakers discern no real difference between the hard /k/ sounds in cool and keep, they are perceived categorically, that is, perceived as belonging to the same category, the /k/ phoneme. 2. Phones: smallest unit of speech sound (ex. [ph] and [p] are phones, with [ph] a puff of air comes out) Don?t have relevance to meaning ?Raw? speech sound A sound as uttered 3. Allophone: two realization of a single phoneme ([ph] and [p] in English) [ph] and [p] are allophones in English, but different phonemes in Korean. /b/ and /p/ are different phonemes in English, but allophones in Spanish and Korean. Both perception and production are affected (e.g. accents in learning a new language) Have to become accustomed to contrasts Hearing differences in aspirations is difficult to do. Aspiration: create an effect in production and perception; make it difficult to learn a new language. Phonemes as abstract categories of sound: We never produce the same sounds twice. How we pronounce sound is influenced by the sound we make before and the sound we make afterward. Phonemic Competence: the extensive knowledge of the rules of permissible English sound combinations. These rules tell you what is and isn?t permissible Speaker of the language have this phonemic competence as part of their knowledge of language, an implicit, however a largely unverbalizable part. We do not string phonemes together. Sounds change from speaker to speaker, from one time to the next within the same speaker, and they change or vary from one word to another, depending on what sounds precede and follow. Problem of invariance: variability in sounds. The problem in speech perception is that the sounds are NOT invariant; they change al the time. There are no invariant cues to the identity of a particular sound. Keep Cool: both start with /k/ sound; same phoneme; tongue is in the same place when you make the k sound; identity of a phoneme is spread out among many sounds. Coarticulation: more than one sound is articulated at the same time. Each phoneme changes the articulation of each other phoneme and does so differently depending of what the other phonemes are. C. Processing phonological Information How do we tolerate this variability and still decipher the changeable, almost undependable spoken signal? Context- the words, phrases, and ideas already identified- leads us to correct identification of new, incoming sounds. To put it another way, the answer is conceptually driven processing. Categorical perception: all the sounds falling within a set of boundaries are perceived as the same, despite the physical differences among them (ex. the difference between the hard /k/ sound in cool and keep are perceived as belonging to the same category (/k/ category)) We have a mechanism for perceiving consonants that filter out all of this noise. So we get a whole range of voicing/sounds that can sound the same until it hits some threshold. But within its entire range before threshold, you cannot hear the difference between them. Speech in context: speech is conceptually driven processing- words, phrases, and ideas that are already identified lead us to correct identification of new, incoming sounds. We hear sounds in semantic contexts Sound does not have meaning Categorical perception is particularly important in the study of speech recognition because the phonemes in a word exhibit Coarticulation, overlapping effects among successive phonemes, such that an initial sound is influenced by the sounds that follow and the later sounds are influenced by what came before. Therefore, speech recognition relies heavily on conceptually driven processes. D. Morphology: smallest unit of meaningful speech Free morphemes: is like a single word; can stand by itself, can have meaning by itself (ex. book, tie) Bound morphemes: something that doesn?t have meaning by itself; it can?t stand by itself but changes meaning (-s (books), -un (untie). Morphological representation: we mentally represent words as their root word. e.x. Book +plural morpheme; foot+ plural morpheme= feet a. Stems and affixes b. Pseudoprefixed words: words that look as if they can have a prefix (relish) but people take a long time to recognize these words. Re- is just part of the word relish. -Word recognition c. Morphologically based speech errors: misplaced morphemes - E.x. Terry?s gross guest: past tense morpheme attaches to the wrong word. This suggests morpheme is a real thing psychologically. -Slips of the tongue -Sometimes people will misplace the morpheme but not the entire word. E. Syntax: the arrangement of words as elements in a sentence to show their relationship to one another; or sentence structure. Our syntactic grammar is a set of rules for ordering words into acceptable, well-formed sentences. Goals of grammars 1. Grammar as a theory: a theory of the structure of language. Word order: The psycholinguistc study of syntax is descriptive; that is, it takes as its goal a description of the rules by which words are arranged to form sentences. Phrase order: we also rely on the ordering of larger units such as phrases or clauses to convey meaning. Number agreement: another part of syntax involves the adjustments we must make depending on the other words in the sentence. A necessary part of every sentence is a subject and a verb. It is also required that the subject and verb agree in number. We need to understand these syntactic clues and how they are used. 2. Generate infinite number of sentences 3. Account for certain linguistic judgments Grammaticality: colorless green ideas sleep furiously; we can judge if something is grammatical or not Ambiguity: visiting relatives can be a nuisance; we can judge when something is ambiguous- can have two meanings Synonymy: the boy hit the ball/ the ball was hit by the boy; when two different sentences mean the same thing *Linguistic performance: memory and attention can influence it Compsky: Phrase-Structure Grammar 1. Phrase-Structure Grammar: words come in phrase structure groupings; the constituents of the sentence, the word groupings and phrases that make up the whole utterance, and the relationships among those constituents. It tires to show structure and hierarchical structure of a sentence The patio resembles a junkyard In phrase structure grammar, the entire sentence is symbolized by an S. The sentence S can be decomposed into two major components, a noun phrase (NP) and a verb phrase (VP) S?NP + VP In the second rule, the NP can be rewritten as a determiner (D), an article such as the or a, plus a noun. A noun phrase ca be rewritten as a determiner and a noun. NP?D + N A VP is rewritten as a verb (V) plus an NP: VP?V+NP. Six rewrite rules are necessary for generating the sentence ?The patio resembles a junkyard) Rewrite Rules: S?NP +VP NP?Det + Noun VP?V+NP Det?(A, the) N?(boy, girl, dog, snake) V?(chased, bit, kissed) *Tree diagrams reveal hierarchical structure of a sentence and the internal structure of the various parts as they relate to each other. *Different constiguents of the sentence are related to each other (tree diagram)- shows it?s a legal sentence, follow rules (grammaticality) Judging Syntactic Ambiguity They are wrestling cheerleaders It can show what structures are and how they are different, it fulfills the requirement of ambiguity. Phrase structure and ambiguity (wrestling cheerleaders): the constitutes of the sentence, the word groupings and phrases that make up the whole utterance, and the relationships among those constituents. Failures of P-S grammar: Difficulty with some types of ambiguity (the shooting of the hunters was terrible) Difficulty with synonymy: Problems showing how whole sentences are related to each other, So its not a proper theory of knowledge. A sentence might be both syntactically acceptable and semantically anomalous. Intuitions about structural differences: If 2 sentences are structurally the same and we apply the same set of rules to them, they should change in the same way. BUT once we paraphrase it, we don?t get the same structure at the end. -John is eager to please -John is easy to please *we get the same diagram for the sentence but we recognize fundamental differences. -People?s intuitions, that active passive paraphrases are more or less identical at the level of meaning, are not captured by the phrase structure approach. 2. TG and the deep-surface distinction Chompsky?s theory relied heavily on a phrase structure approach because it captures and important aspect of language- its productivity His theory is joined with two other components: the lexical entries ( the words we insert into a sentence) and the lexical insertion rules ( the rules for putting the words into their slots= deep structure representation. Deep Structure: an abstract syntactic representation of the sentence being constructed; underlying relationships between grammar in sentence (ex. john is the subject of a sentence, recipient of the pleasing) (abstract representation of the sentence) Once we apply the transformation rules, we get the surface structure. Surface Structure: relationship of words in spoken sentence (john is the person) (might have more than one meaning) Ambiguous Because of the separate treatment of the semantic component, a sentence?s true meaning might not be reflected accurately in the surface structure. We are able to account how whole sentence are related to each other by knowing the deep and surface structure. Transformational Rules: convert deep structure into a surface structure (a sentence ready to be spoken) By applying different transformations, we can form an active declarative sentence, a passive voice sentence, a question, a negative, a future or past tense, etc. Phrases can exchange places, and words can be inserted and deleted. One deep structure can be transformed in two different fashions Lexical and Semantic Factors: The level at which word and phrase meanings are ?computed? (retrieval from memory) Mental Lexicon: the mental dictionary of words and their meanings. Contributions of word meaning to sentence meaning. -The boy hit the ball -The ball hit the boy -Order is very important to uncover syntactic structure and meaning. Case Grammar: meaning of a sentence is determined by analyzing the semantic roles or cases played by different words, such as which word names the overall relationship and which names the agent or patient of the action. Other cases include location, time, and manner. -The semantic analysis of sentences involves figuring out what semantic role is being played by each word or concept in the sentence and computing sentence meaning based on those semantic roles. -From case grammar inspiration, propositions came about. -Semantics integrated with syntax -The verbs the heart of the sentence -Noun phrases as ?cases? of the verb -Case roles: we focus on the semantic roles played by the content words in the sentence. Different kinds of relations. -Agent, patient, instrument, etc. The surgeon (agent) cut the flesh (patient) The scalpel (instrument) cut the flesh. Scalpel and surgeon have very different roles in the sentence. Interaction of Syntax and Semantics: Semantic factors refer to more than just word and phrase meanings because different syntactic devices can be clues to meaning. Our theories of language performance must be as sophisticated as our own knowledge of language is. We are sensitive to focus on highlighted aspects of sentences and subtleties of the ordering of clauses. Occasionally, semantic characteristics overpower the syntax of a sentence. Sometimes we comprehend not what we hear or read, but what we expect to hear or read. Semantic Grammar Approach: We assume that listeners and readers begin to analyze the sentence immediately, as soon as the words begin. This analysis is a process of assigning each word to a particular semantic case role, with each assignment contributing its part to overall sentence comprehension. IV. Processing Syntactic information: linguistic performance The Role of STM: plays a powerful role; were getting huge amounts of info at the same time, so how do we deal with it? The syntactic burden falls more heavily on the speaker than the listener. When you have to produce a sentence rather than comprehend it, you must create a surface structure, a string of words and phrases that will communicate your idea as well as possible. Syntax becomes a feature of language that is particularly related to the speaker?s mental effort, the information processing involved in producing the sentence. Immediacy vs. ?wait and see? Immediacy of processing: we build a sentence as we go. We process immediately. Strategies to decrease burden on STM: Syntactic Ambiguity: the women hit the man with flowers. Overwhelming tendency to put the flowers in the hand of the women. Prepositional phrases can be attached to a few different places in the sentence. Always an overwhelming tendency to attach the prepositional phrase to the verb. Garden-path sentences: all the evidence points to a certain structure so we assume that it is that structure. As we continue with sentence we may have to change the assumed structure, and this is evidence that we process info as we go. Early part of the sentence sets you up so that the later phrases in the sentence don?t make sense given the way assigned case roles in the first part (the sentence leads you down the garden path and you make wrong judgments before the sentence is over. We make judgments about the sentence before its over The early part of the sentence sets you up so that the later phrases in the sentence don?t make sense given the way you assigned case roles in the first part. Minimal attachment: decreases burden on STM ; try to have as few branches on the tree as you can. Late Closure: you try to take each word and try to put it in the phrase that you already have. This leads some sentences to be understood easier then others. WE have a bias towards a sentence with the simpler structure. When Madonna sings the song, it?s a hit- late closure, makes sense When Madonna sings, the song is a hit- early closure, doesn?t make sense. Summary: Syntax involves the ordering of words and phrases in sentence structure and features such as active versus passive voice. Chompky?s theory: heavily syntactic scheme with two sets of syntactic rules. Phrase structure rules were used to generate a deep structure representation of a sentence. Transformations rules converted the deep structure in the surface structure, the string of words that make up a sentence. How we plan an execute sentences: studies reveal a highly interactive set of processes, rather than a strictly sequential sequence. WE pause, delay, and rearrange sentences as a function of planning and memory-related factors like accessibility and working memory load. V. Brain and Language: A. Methods: 1. Lesions- people who have head injuries and lose some kind of function; studying damaged areas in brain, not uniform among patients. 2. ERP- shows electrical activity in brain= good temporal resolution, bad spatial resolution. We can also look at intact brains Great temporal resolution because they are getting a measure of the activity as its happening But pinpointing the location of activity is hard (spatial resolution) 3. Neuroimaging- measures homodynamic response= good spatial resolution, bad temporal resolution B. Lateralization and location: differences/ similarities of hemisphere Language is lateralized to the left hemisphere of the brain in most humans Left hemisphere: primary hemisphere for this type of processing: -production -comprehension -reading -syntax -semantics -vocabulary Right hemisphere: involved in processing certain aspects of language -Integration and global processing : context, background knowledge -Emotional language: sarcasm -abstract language: metaphor and joke comprehension C. The Aphasias Aphasia: the disruption of language caused by a brain-related disorder Broca?s aphasia- characterized by severe difficulties in producing speech. Patients show speech that is hesitant, effortful, and phonemically distorted. Patients generally respond to questions with only one-word answers. Comprehension is spared Consistent TOT or completely mute. Located toward the rear of the left frontal lobe. Problem with spoken language Wernicke?s aphasia- comprehension is impaired, as are repetition, naming, reading, and writing, but the syntactic aspects of speech are preserved. Person has difficulty comprehending speech and creates grammatical sentences that don?t make sense. Syntax is intact. Copious unintelligible jargon is produced, unrecognizable content word, recognizable but of ten inappropriate semantic substitutions, or invented nonsense words. Located toward the rear of the left temporal lobe Patients can generate speech fluently and grammatically, but the semantic aspects of the speech are severely impaired. Conduction aphasia- unable to repeat what they have just heard. People can understand and produce speech quite well. The intact comprehension and production systems seem to have lost their normal connection or linkage. Inability to repeat words and sentences D. Related Disorders: 1. Acquired dyslexia- difficulty with reading Phonological difficulty Whole-word difficulty 2. Anomia- disruption of word finding, an impairment in the normal ability to retrieve a semantic concept and say its name; difficulty naming. 3. Agnosia- Difficulty recognizing 4. Schizophrenia 5. Pure word deafness- problem of comprehension of auditory input What have we learned from these disorders? Dissociation between syntax and semantics Dissociation between reading and writing Biological basis for language- specific areas of brain are ready to learn language from the time you are born E. Language in the right hemisphere 1. Distant semantic associates 2. Nonliteral language: have a hard time getting sense of humor; indirect requests, sarcasm, metaphor (topic and vehicle), idiom (conceptual metaphors underlying idiom) 3. Coherence among sentence: putting sentences into a story
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