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Cognition & Language Chapter 7 Part II William G. Huitt Last revised: May 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Cognition & Language Chapter 7 Part II William G. Huitt Last revised: May 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cognition & Language Chapter 7 Part II William G. Huitt Last revised: May 2005

2 The Structure of Language Psycholinguistics –The study of how language is acquired, produced, and used, and how the sounds and symbols of language are translated into meaning –The structure and rules governing language involve four basic building blocks—phonemes, morphemes, syntax, and semantics Phonemes –The smallest units of sound in a spoken language –Letters combined to form sounds are also phonemes –English uses about 45 phonemes

3 The Structure of Language Morphemes –The smallest units of meaning in language –In almost all cases in the English language, a morpheme is made of two or more phonemes –Morphemes, singly and in combination, form the words in a language and provide meaning Syntax –The aspect of grammar that specifies the rules for arranging and combining words to form phrases and sentences

4 The Structure of Language Semantics –The meaning or the study of meaning derived from morphemes, words, and sentences –Noam Chomsky Maintained that the ability to glean a meaningful message from a sentence is stored in a different area of the brain than are the words used to compose the sentence He distinguished between the surface structure and the deep structure of a sentence

5 The Structure of Language Semantics –Surface structure The literal words of a sentence that are spoken or written –Deep structure The underlying meaning of a sentence

6 The Structure of Language Semantics –In some sentences, the surface structure and the deep structure are the same The dog ate the bone. The bone was eaten by the dog. –Alternatively, a single sentence may have one or more different deep structures You would be lucky to have him work for you.

7 The Structure of Language Pragmatics –Indicators of the social meaning of an utterance, such as intonations and gestures –In English, statements fall in intonation at the end, while questions rise

8 Language and The Brain Researchers used PET scans to view activity in areas of the brains of Italian and English speakers while they read aloud a list of words and nonwords; no difference was found Other researchers found that brain activity in three regions varied according to the speaker’s native language

9 Language and The Brain Brain-imaging studies have identified one area in the lower rear section of the left temporal lobe that plays a major role in processing information about both syntax and semantics Two brain areas that are important for processing language – Broca’s area—speech production – Wernicke’s area—language comprehension

10 Animal Language As far as scientists know, humans are the only species to have developed this rich, varied, and complex system of communication Most animal species studied by language researchers are limited to motor responses, such as sign language, gestures, using magnetic symbols, or pressing keys on symbol boards Research with sea mammals such as whales and dolphins has established that they apparently use complicated systems of grunts, whistles, clicks, and other sounds to communicate within their species

11 Language and Thinking Linguistic relativity hypothesis –The notion that the language a person speaks largely determines the nature of that person’s thoughts –Created by Benjamin Whorf Eleanor Rosch –Tested whether people whose language contains many names for colors are better at thinking about and discriminating among colors than people whose language has only a few color names –Found no significant differences

12 Bilingualism Research suggests that there are both advantages and disadvantages to learning two languages early in life –For school-aged children, the more one knows about one’s first language, the easier time the individual will have learning another one –One of the plusses is that, among preschool and school-age children, bilingualism is associated with better meta-linguistic skills –On the downside, even in adulthood, bilingualism is sometimes associated with decreased efficiency in memory tasks involving words In European countries, most students learn English in addition to the languages of the countries bordering their own

13 Bilingualism Kim and others –Suggest that bilinguals who learned a second language early (younger than age 10 or 11) rely on the same patch of tissue in Broca’s area for both of the languages they speak –But in those who were older when they learned a second language, two different sections of Broca’s area are active while they are performing language tasks – one section for the native language and another for the second language

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