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Chapter 10: Language in Context

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1 Chapter 10: Language in Context

2 Understanding Language
Read the following sentences: The student forgot the solution was in the back of the book. While Agnes dressed the baby spit up on the bed. Known as garden path sentences Ambiguous nature helps us to understand complexity within language.

3 Reading Bottom-up processing Top-down processing
Recognizing letters and words Top-down processing Meaning of words Expectations and prior knowledge about material

4 Dyslexia Difficulty in reading and comprehending text
Processes that can be impaired in dyslexia Phonological awareness Phonological reading Phonological coding Lexical access

5 Impaired Processes in Dyslexia
Phonological awareness How many phonemes are in a word? Problems attaching sounds to letters Cannot attach the sound "cuh" to the letter "c" in the word "cat"

6 Impaired Processes in Dyslexia
Phonological Reading Difficulty telling if two words rhymed or started with the same sound Difficulty in sounding out the entire word and then repeating the sounds rapidly so that the word can be identified

7 Impaired Processes in Dyslexia
Phonological Coding Using working memory Confuse phonemes like t & b, z, v or g Lexical Access Difficulty retrieving phonemes from long term memory

8 Consider Idioms All the rage Cook the books
The full meaning of a idiom is not the composition of the idiom’s elementary parts. Illustrating the complex processes involved with comprehending English in context. Images taken from Microsoft office clipart

9 Reading Processes Lexical Processes Comprehension Processes

10 Lexical Processes in Reading
Saccades Eyes pause on individual words or pairs of words Fixations last 1/4 to 1/2 of a second

11 Research on Saccades O’Regan (1979) Recorded saccades of participants
Examined whether length or a syntactic feature led to a word being skipped Read a pair of sentences that began in the same way but ended differently The dog that growled the most was friendly The dog that growled ate many biscuits He claimed the ladies the maid knew lived in New York He claimed the ladies met many times to discuss O'Regan, J.K. (1979). Moment to moment control of eye saccades as a function of textual parameters in reading. In P.A. Kolers, M.E. Wrolstad, & H. Bouma (Eds.), Processing of visible language (vol. 1). New York: Plenum.

12 O’Regan (1979) Results “ the” was skipped substantially more often than three-letter verbs Example: the first pair of sentences given, the was more likely to be skipped in the first sentence than ate in the second The dog that growled the most was friendly The dog that growled ate many biscuits Evidence that the syntactic and semantic components of words play a role in determining whether fixation occurs

13 Carpenter & Just (1983) Recorded eye-movements 14 college students
Asked to read normally 15 short excerpts from Time and Newsweek Asked to recall what they could of each paragraph after it was finished Carpenter, P.A., & Just, M.A. (1983). What your eyes do while your mind is reading. In K. Rayner (Ed.), Eye movements in reading: Perceptual and language processes. New York: Academic.

14 Carpenter & Just (1983) Results
Found that readers fixated on an average of 67.8 percent of the words Content words were fixated on 83% of the time Function words were fixated on 38% of the time Evidence that the syntactic and semantic components of words play a role in determining whether fixation occurs

15 Lexical Access Retrieving the meaning of a word from our lexicon

16 Demonstration Based on Reicher (1969)
On the next several slides, a row of six letters will appear. You will then see two letters, one above and one below a letter that appeared Guess which of the two letters actually appeared in the appropriate location This word superiority effect demonstration was created by Thomas Pusateri (2003) for Thomson/ Wadsworth. Each demonstration starts with a row of XXXXXX as a fixation point for students. Prepare students by saying “Ready, set, go” and click on the presentation to display the letters. Ask students to identify which of the two letters appeared in the location between the letters, and call for a show of hands for each of the two letters. Afterwards, you can right-click on the slide and select “Previous” to show students the letters that were displayed. The first, second, fourth, and sixth displays are not words; approximately half of the students should guess correctly on these displays. The third, fifth, seventh, and eighth display are words; almost all of the students should guess correctly on these displays.

17 XXXXXX

18 JBDVLM

19 XXXXXX ----L- ----B-

20 XXXXXX

21 SOKDHR

22 --K--- XXXXXX --R---

23 XXXXXX

24 FATHER

25 XXXXXX ---H-- ---T--

26 XXXXXX

27 CGZIFW

28 ----F- XXXXXX ----G-

29 XXXXXX

30 POSTER

31 --R--- XXXXXX --S---

32 XXXXXX

33 RCHUQV

34 --H--- XXXXXX --U---

35 XXXXXX

36 STRIPE

37 ----K- XXXXXX ----P-

38 XXXXXX

39 CRATES

40 XXXXXX -----R -----S

41 end

42 Word Superiority Effect
Letters are more easily recognized in the context of a word than alone Words are also more easily recognized after processing a sentence This demonstrates the importance of the interaction between top-down and bottom-up processing

43 Interactive-Activation Model of Word Recognition
Interactive-activation model from Sternberg text. Fig. 10.1: David Rumelhart and James McClelland used this figure to illustrate how activation at the feature level, the letter level, and the word level may interact during word recognition. In this figure, lines terminating in arrows prompt activation, and lines terminating in dots (blue circles) prompt inhibition. For example, the feature for a solid horizontal bar at the top of a letter leads to activation of the T character but to inhibition of the N character. Similarly, at the letter level, activation of T as the first letter leads to activation of TRAP and TRIP but to inhibition of ABLE. Going from top down, activation of the word TRAP leads to inhibition of A, N, G, and S as the first letter but to activation of T as the first letter.

44 Linguistic Relativity
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis Strong interpretation Thoughts and behavior are determined by language More evidence against than for Milder interpretation Thoughts and behavior are influenced by language Variety of interesting studies, some for, some against

45 Linguistic Relativity Studies
Bilinguals maintain that they “think” differently in different languages (Wierzbicka, 1985) Differences in lexicons support lexical relativity when language differences lead to differing mental structures

46 Linguistic Relativity Studies
Carroll & Casagrande (1958) Noted that Navajo language focused more on form than the English language Tested Navajo & English dominant Navajo children Shown a pair of objects varied in size and form Yellow rope and blue stick Children were then asked which of the two objects should they place with a blue rope? Study details provided in Hunt, E. & Agnoli, F. (1991) The Whorfian Hypothesis: A Cognitive Psychology Perspective. Psychological Review, 98,

47 Linguistic Relativity Studies
Carroll & Casagrande (1958) 70% Navajo dominant selected the yellow rope (thus focusing on form) 40% of English dominant selected the yellow rope Concluded results support Whorfian-Sapir hypothesis Study details provided in Hunt, E. & Agnoli, F. (1991) The Whorfian Hypothesis: A Cognitive Psychology Perspective. Psychological Review, 98,

48 Linguistic Relativity Studies
Carroll & Casagrande (1958) Also asked Caucasian children from Boston, Massachusetts the same question 80% of these children choose the yellow rope (form) This component of the study goes against the Whorfian hypothesis Hunt & Agnoli (1991) note this is an interesting study that needs to be redone to clarify whether the Whorfian-Sapir hypothesis is supported. Study details provided in Hunt, E. & Agnoli, F. (1991) The Whorfian Hypothesis: A Cognitive Psychology Perspective. Psychological Review, 98,

49 Linguistic Relativity Studies
Labels have been shown to lead to memory distortion Kay & Kempton (1984) Used triads of colors Two items were clear examples of blue or green and a third lay between them

50 Linguistic Relativity Studies
Kay & Kempton (1984) Asked English speaking and Tarahumara speaking participants to determine if C was closer to A or B In Tarahumara, there is no color distinction between blue and green C A B

51 Linguistic Relativity Studies
Kay & Kempton (1984) English speakers showed categorical perception, made the color either blue or green (were able to create label) Tamahumara speakers did not show categorical perception (had no labels) Supports the idea of linguistic relativity

52 Linguistic Relativity Studies
Hoffman, Lau & Johnson (1986) Bilinguals fluent in Chinese & English Read story about a worldly, experienced, socially skilled person who is devoted to his family, and somewhat reserved written in either English or Chinese Chinese language has one word to describe such a person : shi gE English speakers do not

53 Linguistic Relativity Studies
Hoffman, Lau & Johnson (1986) After, participants rated a variety of statements about the characters Some asked about shi gE stereotype If passage was read in Chinese, a greater impact of the stereotype was present

54 Bilingual Studies Bilingual Simultaneous bilingual
People who can speak two languages Simultaneous bilingual Learn two languages from birth Sequential bilinguals First learn one language and then another

55 Bilingual Studies Additive Bilinguals Subtractive Bilinguals
Learn a second language without loss to the native language Subtractive Bilinguals Learn a second language that interferes with the native language

56 Bilingual Studies Early research argued that learning two languages was harmful Problems with early research Lower class bilinguals were compared to middle class monolinguals IQ and achievement tests were usually in the monolinguist’s language

57 Bilingual Studies Research showing advantages
Bilinguals acquire more expertise in their own language Bilinguals are sensitive to subtle aspects of language Bilinguals perform better on tests of nonverbal intelligence that require recognition of verbal patterns

58 Factors Influencing Bilingualism Fluency
Age The earlier in life a second language is learned, the more fluent the speaker will become Bahrick & colleagues disagree Vocabulary and fluency is acquired just as well in older participants but not fluency

59 Single-System or Dual? Single-system hypothesis Dual system hypothesis
Two languages are represented in one system Dual system hypothesis Two languages are represented by separate systems

60 Pidgins & Creoles Pidgins Communication between two language groups
Often used between immigrants and locals or missionaries and natives in order to be understood by each other without having to learn the language of the other group

61 Pidgins & Creoles Pidgin develops over time in such a way that it becomes a Creole Creoles are complete languages, Pidgins are not Does have native speakers Has developed through expansion form and grammar Is stable and autonomous in its norms

62 Slips of the Tongue / Speech Errors
Speech errors: we mean to say one thing, but utter another Chipping the flannel Flipping the channel Box in the Jack Jack in the box Your model is renosed Your nose is remodeled

63 Slips of the Tongue / Speech Errors
Errors seem to follow a structure and can be analyzed to assess what level of speech production was incorrect Stages of speech production Mentally create meaning of utterance Choose words Put words into right forms (add prefixes & suffixes) Organize into phrases for sentence Put together the phonemes Errors can occur at any stage

64 Slips of the Tongue / Speech Errors
Phoneme exchange Mixed up two sounds At the lead of spite Speed of light Go and shake a tower Go and take a shower

65 Slips of the Tongue / Speech Errors
Word level error I have to fill up my gas with car I have to fill up my car with gas Once I stop I cannot start Once I start I cannot stop Your model is renosed Your nose is remodeled Note for nose example, prefixes and suffixes are already in place before word error occurs Error analysis can be done to tell us how speech production is planned

66 Figurative Uses of Language
Metaphor Two nouns placed together to note similarities Argument is war Theories are buildings Ideas are food Identify tenor, vehicle, ground and tension in the metaphors listed. Why speak of metaphors? Understanding how we can understand and process metaphors gives cognitive psychologists insights into how complex language processing is. Cognitive theories try to explain how we can understand metaphors.

67 Theories about Metaphors
Traditional View Emphasizes the similarities Anomaly View Emphasizes the differences Domain Interaction Combination of the two

68 Pragmatics Knowing what to say, how to say it, and when to say it or how to be around other people (Bowen, 2001) Study of discourse and conversational skills Situational determinants of the use of language Semantic and Pragmatic Difficulties 2001 Caroline Bowen accessed January 21, 2005 at

69 Pragmatic Skills Establish common ground Maintaining a topic
Introduce a topic in order for the listener to fully understand Maintaining a topic Or change topic appropriately Or interrupt politely Appropriate eye-contact Not too much staring Not too much looking away Semantic and Pragmatic Difficulties 2001 Caroline Bowen accessed January 21, 2005 at

70 Pragmatic Skills Distinguishing how to talk and behave towards different communicative partners Formal with some, Informal with others Responding to gestures and non-verbal aspects of language Semantic and Pragmatic Difficulties 2001 Caroline Bowen accessed January 21, 2005 at

71 Speech Acts Five basic categories of speech acts that reflect the intention of the utterance Representative conveys info I like Polar bears. Directive is order or request that causes behavior Turn on the air conditioner. Commissive is a promise/agreement to do something I will make the cookies. Expressive conveys information about inner state I enjoy spending time with you. Declaration is a statement that brings about new situation I am now a vegetarian.

72 Speech Acts Different ways to get someone to do something
For example: You want someone to open a window. Direct Speech Acts Open the window. Indirect Speech Acts Could you open the window? It sure is hot in here. Explain to students that with indirect speech acts, the first sentence is a literal question of whether they have the ability to open the window, not a direct request to do so. However, when people say that sentence, they mean, they would like for them to open the window. The second sentence is even more indirect indicating the need for an open window.

73 Research on Speech Acts
Holtgraves (1986) examined the impact of status on the use of direct and indirect speech acts Participants were asked to read scenarios that had either the high or low status person asking about a speech they gave Bob is a junior executive for a fairly large corporation. He is on friendly terms with John, the company president, and they occasionally have lunch together. A few days earlier they had both attended a company board meeting during which John had made a presentation. The presentation had not gone well and was obviously not well thought out. A few days later, Bob and John are alone and having lunch together when John says to Bob “What did you think of the presentation that I gave to the board the other morning?”

74 Research on Speech Acts
After the scenarios were presented, participants had to select which of the following responses they would give if in that situation Direct and true: I really didn’t think your presentation was very good. Direct and false: I really thought your presentation was very good. Indirect evasive question: Don’t you think we should have our board meeting on some other day than Monday? Evasive assertion: I think we should have our board meeting on some day other than Monday. Indirect irrelevant question: Wasn’t that latest stock market rally sure a surprise? Irrelevant assertion: The latest stock market rally was sure a surprise.

75 Holtgraves (1986) Results If of low status, evasive replies were perceived as more likely and polite than a direct reply One demonstration of how social context affects speech act choices

76 Speech Acts Direct speech acts are often considered rude because of their directness, and tend to be avoided in formal situations/conversations I’d be grateful if you opened the window. Could you open the window? It would help to have the window open. It’s getting hot in here. Open the window. (direct)

77 Conversational Postulates

78 Gender Differences in Language
Differences between what men and women talk about Do men interrupt more? Is a woman more likely to ask for directions?

79 Tannen Girls tend to talk about one topic
Boys tease, tell jokes, notice things around the room, talk about finding games to play Girls talk face to face Boys talk at angles, eyes straight ahead

80 Tannen Women tend to overlap and finish each others sentences
Men perceive this as an interruption, intrusion or lack of attention

81 Understanding Discourse
Research focuses on how we obtain the meaning from stories, lectures, and reading Identify the processes underlying reading and factors that lead to successful comprehension

82 Reading Comprehension Processes
Semantic encoding Acquiring vocabulary Comprehending ideas Creating mental models Impact of context on comprehension Impact of perspective on comprehension

83 Semantic Encoding The relationship between knowing what a word means and using that knowledge when processing new material Research has found that a strong relationship between vocabulary (word-meaning knowledge) and the ability of students to construct meaning exists Now the issue becomes what is the best way to create a strong vocabulary? Beck, Isabel L., Charles A. Perfetti, and Margaret G. McKeown Effects of long-term vocabulary instruction on lexical access and reading comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology.

84 Acquiring Vocabulary Readers acquire vocabulary in a variety of ways
Through wide reading From the use of context Through use of the dictionary Direct instruction

85 Comprehension of Ideas
Kintsch’s Model Use propositions in working memory Macropropositions Macrostructure

86 Evidence for Propositions
A sentence can be decomposed into many meaning units called propositions Donna gave Lucy a bone (GIVE (SUBJECT Donna) (RECIPIENT Lucy) (OBJECT bone))

87 Evidence for Propositions
Ratcliff & McKoon (1978) Participants were asked to learn the following sentences: Geese crossed the horizon as wind shuffled the clouds. The chauffeur jammed the clutch when he parked the truck. After a 20-minute delay Shown single words and were asked if word was in sentences previously studied Reaction time to answer was noted Discuss how each sentence contains two propositions, may want to diagram on the board.

88 Ratcliff & McKoon (1978) Geese crossed the horizon as wind shuffled the clouds. The chauffeur jammed the clutch when he parked the truck. Results   Stimuli Reaction time Same proposition geese-horizon 709 msec Different proposition geese-cloud 752 msec Different sentence geese-clutch 847 msec Interest was in how quickly participants responded to sequences of words. Discuss how the results support the propositional model.

89 Kintsch & Keenan (1973) Participants read different sentences
All sentences had the same number of concepts Sentences differed in terms of the number of propositions contained The crowded passengers squirmed uncomfortably. (3 propositions) The horse stumbled and broke a leg. (2 propositions)

90 Kintsch & Keenan (1973) The greater the number of propositions, the longer the reading time Conclusion: propositions, not single words, are the units of comprehension

91 Text Comprehension Involves constructing and storing a related set of propositions that describe details of text or story

92 Van Dijk & Kintsch (1983) Model
Surface form is the superficial and short-lived representation of text Propositional textbase is an interconnected propositional network holding the core meaning of what is read Macrostructure is comprised of the summarized main points of the text A situational model of the material is created as propositions are processed and understood

93 Inferences Additional concepts that are added to the explicit concepts in a text Bridging inference An inference that is necessary to connect two sentences A car sped around the corner out of control. The vehicle smashed into some empty boxes. Text requiring inferences leads to longer processing time

94 Controversy Across Text Comprehension Models
How many and what type of inferences are made Minimalist position posits that only two classes of inferences occur Inferences based on easily available information Inferences required for local coherence Constructivist models of text comprehension (like Kintsch’s) propose there are many potential inferences that are automatically generated during reading.

95 Neuropsychology of Language
Aphasia Impaired language function due to brain damage Wernike’s Broca’s Global Anomic

96 Neuropsychology of Language
Autism Developmental disorder Abnormal social, language and cognition behaviors

97 Theories of Autism Sex differences in brains
“extreme male brain” Executive Dysfunction Theory Problem with frontal lobes

98 Brain Research Lesion Studies ERP Research fMRIs
Localization of language functioning


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