Chapter 9 Language Psycholinguistics The study of language as it is learned and used by people. Looks at the pragmatics of natural language use. Language shared symbolic system for communication.
Natural Language: Emerged from peoples attempts to communicate. culturally agreed upon (arbitrary) symbolic system - refers to things not currently present. / to abstract concepts (e.g., love) Nearly five thousand languages are spoken in the world today.
Language Universals Features that are common to all languages. 1. Semanticity - language conveys meaning!! dog - Four legged animal - Common pet
- Fur - Chases cats - Barks - Etc. Semantic universals - All languages have pronouns. - All Languages distinguish between male and female; living and nonliving . . . .
2. Arbitrariness No necessary or natural relationship between the words of a given language and the concepts that they represent. For example, there is nothing in the word "tree" that connects it to the concept of a tree; which is why Spanish can use a totally different sign for the same concept: "rbol"; and so on with other languages.
Arbitrariness No resemblance between the language signal and the thing that it represents dog chien hund
perro Combination of signs (words) to produce complete thoughts are different from one language to the other. No set of rules can claim to be the "right" one. For example, in English you say "I like beer", whereas in Spanish you would say "Me gusta la cerveza". The literal translation of the latter would be something like: "Beer is agreeable to me",
which sounds strange in English. Neither of these formulations has a better claim to accuracy, correctness or truth than the other. 3. Flexibility Because the connection between the word and the meaning are arbitrary we can change them and invent new ones. Symbols can be combined to make endless new meaningful words
(e.g., nonmicrowavable or anitdisestablishmentarianism) 4. Naming We assign names to everything we see, feel and can conceive of. When there is a need for a name we produce one. How many English words have you witnessed the birth of??? Which words first appeared in print in the year you were born?
5. Displacement We can communicate about things that are not currently present. ~ other locations, times, realities. 6. Productivity Infinite number of (meaningful statements) that can be produced. We can say things we have never said before, never heard before. We generate language (on line) rather than repeat it.
We learn patterns and rules of producing meaning and then are free to use these rules to produce a way of conveying thoughts to other people. Productivity Our use of language is extremely creative. We have a limited amount of linguistic elements (e.g., sounds and words), but can combine those elements in novel ways.
I was tired of cleaning up after my dog in my backyard so I taught him to pole vault. Even though youve never heard this sentence before you can understand it effortlessly Is language learned or do humans have an innate ability to learn language?
Noam Chomsky (text 209 -210) The ability to learn language is instinctive (innate). His theory explains why all babies language development follows a pattern. Humans have a Language Acquisition Device (LAD) a structure within the brain that allows babies to absorb and understand the rules of language they are being exposed to. The brain is able to
analyse the language and work out the system that the language uses. Pidgin and Creoles Languages Pidgin is a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common. Commonly used in trade. A pidgin is not the native language of any speech community, but is instead learned as a second language. A pidgin may be built from words, sounds, or
body language from multiple other languages and cultures. Pidgins allow people or a group of people to communicate with each other without having any similarities in language and do not have any rules, as long as both parties are able to understand each other. Creoles have been nativized by children as their primary language, with the result that they
have features of natural languages that are normally missing from pidgins. Hawaii Creole Language Bioprogram Hypothesis Bickerton (1984) Creolization occurs when the linguistic exposure of
children in a community consists of a highly unstructured pidgin. Children use their innate language capacity to transform the pidgin into a language with a highly structured grammar. As this capacity is universal, the grammars of these new languages have many similarities. Bickerton (1983), ungrammatical utterances made by
English-speaking children (2 4 years) are very similar to perfectly grammatical sentences of English-based creole languages. Child Creole Where I can put it? Where I can put om?
Hawaii Daddy throw the nother rock Daddy t'row one neda rock'tone Jamaica I go full Angela bucket
I go full Angela bucket Guyana Lookit a boy play ball Luku one boy a play ball
Jamaica Nobody don't like me Nobody no like me Guyana I no like do that
I no like do that Hawaii Johnny big more than me Johnny big more than me
Jamaica Let Daddy get pen write it Make Daddy get pen write am Guyana I more better than Johnny
I more better than Johnny Hawaii FYI: Creolization (Birth) of New Sign Language in Nicaragua What About English?
History of English (to 2.15) The Roman army departed in 410 AD. Mercenary soldiers brought in who were Angles and Saxons from northern Germany. Norman conquest of England in 1066. Ruling class spoke a dialect of French. Lower class spoke a dialect of German. Structure of Language
Phonology and Orthography (sounds and letters) Semantics (meaning) Grammar (Syntax) Pragmatics Language Form: Phonology and Orthography A phoneme is a sound, or set of similar speech sounds, which are perceived as a single distinctive sound by speakers of the
language. For example, the "c/k" sounds in cat and kitten represent the English phoneme /k/. There are 44 phonemes in standard British English (40 in American English). Since there are only 26 letters in the alphabet (Orthography), sometimes letter combinations need to be used to make a phoneme. A letter (or combination of letters) can represent different phonemes. Ch is a good
example: chef = /ef/ choir = /kwa/ cheese = /ti:z/ Phonemic Rules Each language also has a set of rules for combining phonemes (what can and cannot go together).
English Spelling Englishs history as a creole shows especially in spelling numerous irregular or exception words. Comb Yacht Paradigm Though Danger, Anger, Hanger Morphology
Morphemes smallest units that convey meaning and grammatical properties (words and prefixes and suffixes). Free Morphemes can stand alone (e.g., words) Bounded Morphemes must be attached to other morphemes (e.g., the plural s). Can add grammatical features (e.g., plural, past tense, etc.). Change meaning (e.g., un, dis or ultra) Syntax (Grammar)
Rule that specify ordering of words by grammatical properties (e.g., nouns and verbs). Word order makes a difference! Dog bites man. Man bites dog. Bites man dog. Phrase Structure - organization of sentence constituents
Hierarchical Sentences Phrases -words with grammatical roles (e.g., verbs, nouns, adjectives etc.) Phrase-structure rules are a way to describe a given language's syntax. They are used to break down a natural language sentence into its constituent parts. What is a constituent? A word or group of words that
function as a unit and can make up larger grammatical units. Tree diagram - levels of constituents Sentence Noun Phrase Verb Phrase
Article Adj Noun Verb Article The red
squirrel buried Noun Phrase adj Noun the large
nut. Sentences can be rearranged as long as the constitutes are intact. E.g., George/ ran /up the mountain. Up the mountain/George/ran. Martha/ stood up /her blind date. Up her blind date Martha stood.
the red squirrel buried the large nut the red squirrel the large nut buried the large nut the red squirrel buried the large nut buried by the red squirrel But NOT buried the large nut the red squirrel buried the red squirrel the large nut Rearrangement of Constituents follow rules.
Phrase structure rules Rules that determine what goes into a phrase (constituents) how the constituents are ordered Transformational Grammar (Chomsky text pg. 215) 1. Surface Structure - actual words used
2. Deep structure - underlying meaning - abstract The same deep structure can be conveyed using several different surface structures. The cat has a big bushy tail. The feline has a big fluffy tail. The cats tail is big and bushy.
The big bushy tail is the cats. Similar surface structures can have very different deep structures. The lady hit the man with the umbrella. Transformational Grammar rules translates Kernels to other surface structures. E.g.,
John smelled the cookies (KERNAL, active) The cookies were smelled by John (passive) Did John smell the cookies? (interrogative) Were the cookies smelled by John? (passive, interrogative) Were the cookies not smelled by John? (passive, interrogative, negation) In general, more transformations, the longer
comprehension takes. Take home lesson: when possible, speak and write in the active voice. Semantics: The relationship between linguistic elements (e.g., words and phrases) and their underlying meaning. Meaning can often be expressed with different words
(phrases). Words (phrases) often can refer to different meanings. Mary stood up tall vs. Mary stood up Tom. Pragmatics (using Language) Pragmatics is a subfield of linguistics that studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning. Views language as a social exchange. Distinguishes between sentence meaning and speaker meaning.
Language Areas of the Left Hemisphere Brocas area production Left frontal lobe Case study of Tan. Wernickes Area comprehension Left temporal lobe
Aphasia language disorders Brocas Aphasia slow, effortful, halted speech. Lacks grammatical words (articles, prepositions) Wernikes Aphasia fluent, grammatical production, but lack of comprehension. Speech Perception Speech is difficult to decode because: Language is spoken very quickly (10 phonemes per sec).
Energy breaks do not correspond to breaks between words. Ch 8 pt 2 44 Coarticulation In spoken language, producing a word requires a speaker to coordinate five to six different parts of your vocal
tract (tongue, lips, larynx, etc.) with millisecond precision. Coarticulation The overlap of articulation in space and time. Production of one speech sound overlaps the production of the next. The speaker adjusts the shape of their articulatory apparatus (tongue, lips, mouth) in different ways
depending on what sounds come next. (e.g., H in Happy vs. Home). They do this in anticipation of the next sound. Invariance Problem Difficult to identify core features that correspond to particular phonemes. Categorical Perception Differences can be perceived as gradual and
quantitative, as with different shades of gray, or they can be perceived as more abrupt and qualitative, as with different colors. The first is called continuous perception and the second categorical perception. Phonetic Boundary Despite differences in speakers voice, pitch, accent, and or enunciation, we perceive phonemes within a
category as all the same. Due to specialized neurons (Wernicke's area in the left Temporal lobe) that act like feature detectors and respond to specific phonemes. How do these phoneme specialized detectors develop? They are learned. Habituation studies on young infants show that they can distinguish between phonemes that are not used in their
native language, but by two years old they are specialized in detecting differences in phonemes of their own language. E.g., People exposed to English can easily distinguish between /r/ and /l/ but many Japanese speakers cannot. In English, phoneme separate phoneme detectors respond to /r/ than do to /l/. In Asian languages these two sounds are perceived as the same.
More on Development By the time a child is 10, they lose the ability to detect differences between phonemes that are not used in languages that they have been exposed to. This is one reason why it is difficult for older children and adults to pick up new languages. Speech Perception
Involves both Bottom-up and Top-down processes. Degraded auditory input impairs speech perception (bottom-up) Using knowledge about words and context, we fill-in unclear auditory information (Top-down) Ch 8 pt 2 54
Word Superiority Effect People have better recognition of letters presented within words as compared to isolated letters and to letters presented within non-words. Why, processing occurs simultaneously at the feature, letter and word level. Processing is added (sped-up) by top-down information (words) when they can be used to help disambiguate information at lower levels.
Word Superiority Effect Phoneme Restoration Effect The brain's way of resolving those imperfections in our speech. Sounds actually missing from a speech signal can be restored by the brain and may appear to be heard. Demo audio clip 1 and 2
Context Effects Top Down Processes Lexical Identification Shift Ganong (1980) demonstrated a bias to perceive phonemes so they form words. For example sounds that could be either / d/ or /t/ tend to be heard as /t/ when followed by "ask" (to make the word "task") and as /d/ when
followed by "ash" (to make the word "dash"). Ch 8 pt 2 58 Lexicon Recognition and Access Lexicon mental dictionary Most people know more than 60,000 different words,
and well-educated people know more than 100,000. Factors that Effect Word Recognition Lexical frequency Size of lexical neighborhood Morphological complexity Context (i.e., semantic priming effects) Swinney (1979)
Ambiguous sentences containing words with multiple meanings. He measured the floor with his ruler. Followed by letter string A) a word related to the implied meaning inch was presented B) a word related to alternative meaning king was presented C) an unrelated word Pill D) a non-word jokt
Lexical decision task If both meanings activated A and B should be equally fast (primed) Varied the delay between the sentence and the letter string. 400 millisecond delay responses to A and B facilitated. Over 700 milliseconds, only the A was facilitated. So both are activated, but one fades quickly.
Disambiguation and telling a joke. Why timing is important. Humor is an emotional reaction to violation of schema. Some jokes rely on setting the listener up for one interpretation, and then providing more information that negates the original interpretation. Timing - If both meanings are activated, schema is not violated. Need to pause to allow alternate meaning to fade.
Production of Speech Stage 1: Conceptualization non-verbal meaning that we wish to communicate. Stage 2: Formulization Grammatical processing where the message is mapped into linguistic units. A:
functional stage: select semantically appropriate items and assign them functional roles (noun, verb, object). B: positional stage: syntactic structure corresponding to the functional roles is built, and lexical items are inserted into the syntactical structure. Tree diagram - levels of constituents
Sentence Noun Phrase Verb Phrase Article Adj Noun The
Grey squirrel Verb Noun Phrase Article
adj Noun buried the large
nut. How do we know that this is how utterance are built? Evidence from Speech Errors Word Order Errors e.g., The Grey nut was buried by the large squirrel. Syntactic Category Rule Word errors occur at the functional level. Words with same grammatical function are most likely to be exchanged.
In 99% of cases nouns switched with nouns, verbs with verbs but not nouns with verbs (Hotopf, 1980). Word Exchanges are most likely to occur across phrases. Garrett (1980) studied errors in spontaneous speech. -83% of word exchanges occurred across phrase boundaries. Suggests all words are available in parallel but were mapped to the phrase structure incorrectly.
3. Articulation Evidence from Spoonerisms A spoonerism is an error in speech or deliberate play on words in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched. Reverend Spooner
Oxford University lecturer in history, philosophy, and divinity (1876 to 1889). His tendency to get words and sounds mixed up could happen at any time, but especially when he was agitated. He reprimanded one student for "fighting a liar in the quadrangle" and another who "hissed my mystery lecture." To the latter he added in disgust, "You have tasted two worms."
Patriotic fervor excited Spooner as well. He raised his toast to Her Highness Victoria: "Three cheers for our queer old dean!" During WWI he reassured his students, "When our boys come home from France, we will have the hags flung out." He praised Britain's farmers as "noble tons of soil."
Sound (phonemic) Errors: Getting your Mirds Wixed Phoneme production errors. Occur because of mis-timing or mis-ordering of sounds at the positional stage. An unfortunate example from Fox News. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TO32SI4CITA Phonemic Errors occur within phrase boundaries.
- can be between words with different grammatical roles. - tend to share the same position in the word (first phoneme for first phonemes). These errors are at the positional level. They occur in ordering the phonemes. Acquiring Language Even before birth fetuses gain familiarity and knowledge about language.
DeCasper, Lecanuet, Busnel, Granier-Deferre and Maugeais (1994) Pregnant women recited a short childs rhyme, the target, aloud each day between the thirty-third and thirty-seventh weeks of their fetuses gestation. Then their fetuses were stimulated with tape recordings of the target and a control rhyme. The target elicited a decrease in fetal heart-rate whereas the control did not. Thus, fetuses exposure to specific speech sounds can affect their subsequent reactions to those sounds. More generally, the result suggests that third trimester fetuses become familiar with recurrent, maternal speech sounds.
By 6 months of age By 6 months of age, infants can recognize their own names and simple words such as no. Between 6 months and a year Can recognize names of familiar objects, foods and body parts.
Babbling and Cooing Begins as early as 6 weeks Vowel sounds come first (cooing) By four to 5 months consonants are added (babbling) By 10 months babbling is more complex and word like. By 12 months babbling begins to follow phonological rules Age one to two
Toddlers repeat words or sounds they hear you say, like the last word in a sentence. But they often leave off endings or beginnings of words. For example, they may say "daw" for "dog" or "noo-noo's" for "noodles. They are beginning to associate words with objects. Age one to two First words refer to concrete and familiar. (name objects, actions, and sensations) such as Mommy, BaBa
(bottle), go, hot. Nouns appear before verbs. Naming errors tell us a lot about the schema children are forming Overextensions use a word to refer to more than adult do (e.g., doggy for all four legged animals). Underextensions using car to refer to one. car, but not to all cars
Age one to two: Pointing at objects and naming them. Not language yet, but still an important stage! When a toddler points at something, generally the first thing you do is look at what they are pointing at. This pointing is your child initiating joint attention. That is, the child wants you to attend to the same item of interest as they are attending to. Joint attention is a
very important communication and social skill. Age one to two The frequency with which infants engage in joint attention is related to their language acquisition, even when general cognition is controlled for
(e.g., Morales et al., 2000; Mundy et al., 2007). Vocabulary By age two a child generally has about two to three hundred words, but are not really using language because they are limited to referring to the here and now. They Performatives not words, but are actions the
child takes in certain situations. E.g., we say bye-bye when we wave to Dad at the door. True Words Words are used to refer to things that are not currently present. This is the true language, the ability to refer to things that are not currently present! The same one word utterance can
mean many things Baba can mean, this is my bottle, or I want my bottle or I will feed my bottle to the puppy. By two years they start combining words. Telegraphic speech two word combinations that have grammar but leave out functional words such as articles (e.g., the and a) and prepositions ( e.g., by and
for). "Mommy bye-bye" or "me milk." The word combinations become more complex and show an understanding of grammar! Doggie bite Tommy is not the same as Tommy bite Doggie Age Three Begin using full sentences, can form questions, make
negative statements and use grammar! Vocabulary grows rapidly! Display understanding of symbolic and abstract language like "now," feelings like "sad," and spatial concepts like "in." Nature vs. Nurture B.F. Skinner and Behaviorists claim it is ALL nurture (i.e., conditioning).
Children whose mothers corrected them on word choice and pronunciation actually advanced more slowly than those with mothers who were generally accepting. Nature vs. Nurture Chomsky suggested that children are innately prewired to with knowledge about language and that language acquisition is a maturational process.
Argued that children learn language too rapidly for it to be conditioning. There must be something that aids the learning. Chomsky Not just repeating what adults say. Instead they are learning the rules (grammar) of language. Adults do not say things like I goed to the store or I broomed the floor but children do. They have figured
out grammatical rules, and they apply them where adults never would. Not just mimicking adults. Interactionist Approach Both Nature and Nurture are important. Children seem to be innately predisposed to learn language But the their social interactions with other also play a big role.
Child-Directed Speech Parents direct approximately 300 to 400 utterances an hour to their children. Simplified speech that provides infants cues that aid in their language learning. Aid with phonology, vocabulary, grammar and pragmatics
Phonology Separate phrases more distinctly (longer pauses). Speak more s-l-o-w-l-y. Exaggerated singsong intonation. Exaggerated difference between questions, statements and commands.
Higher and wider range of pitch. Vocabulary and Semantics Use of concrete nouns (e.g. train, cat) and dynamic verbs (e.g. give, put). Adopt childs own words for things (e.g.baba). Frequent use of childs name and absence of
pronouns. Content is often highly redundant Children whose caregivers talk to them more have larger vocabularies. Grammar Repeated sentence frames: Thats a Fewer complex sentence and passives.
Omission of past tense and inflections. Use of RECASTINGS: where the childs vocabulary is put into a new utterance. Framing where a word is repeatedly used in different syntactic contexts e.g. Heres a big ball! Throw me the ball. Wheres the ball? Pragmatics Lots of gesture and body language. Eye Contact and Smiling
Stopping frequently for child to respond. Supportive language adults encourage conversation Pragmatics (using Language) Pragmatics is a subfield of linguistics that studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning. Views language as a social exchange.
Distinguishes between sentence meaning and speaker meaning. Principles of Communication: Grices Maxims Violations of these maxims can be indicators of sarcasm or non-literal meaning. Cooperative Principle A basic underlying assumption we make when we speak to one another is that we are trying to cooperate with one another to construct meaningful conversations.
Four Maxims Quality: Do not say that which you believe to be false or for which you lack evidence. Quantity : Make your contribution as informative as is required, but not more, or less, than is required. Relation: Be relevant Manner: Be clear, brief and orderly
Maxim of Quantity : Make your contribution as informative as is required, but not more, or less, than is required. Often violated (33% of time) Perhaps figuring out what is needed is cognitively difficult leading to errors. Pragmatics also covers other nonlinguistic conventions of language
use. Turn Taking rules Gesture Discourse Markers Prosodic Cues - Rhythm, stress and intonation Turn Taking The process by which people alternate between speaking and listening.
Overlap of turns (when two or more participants talk at the same time) occurs in about 5% of cases and this suggests that speakers know how, when and where to enter. They signal that one turn has come to an end and another should begin. Turn Taking Cues Intonation Eye Gaze
Gestures In general the current speaker chooses the next speaker Ways of hanging on to ones turn. Gestures Hedges (meaningless sounds or repetitions) OVERLAPPING RULES Where, despite the rules, overlapping talk occurs (5%), studies revealed the operation of a system:
one speaker drops out rapidly as soon as one speaker thus gets into the clear, he typically recycles precisely the part of the turn obscured by the overlap. If one speaker does not immediately drop out, there is available a competitive allocation system, whereby the speaker who upgrades most, wins the floor. (upgrading = increased amplitude, slowing tempo, lengthened vowels, etc.) Gestures
More Gestures used when people think they are communicating with others rather than to a machine (Mol et al., 2009). Speakers adjust their gestures to adjust to the listeners needs Speakers underestimate the value of Gestures to the listener (Gerwing & Allison, 2009). Speakers used words and gestures to describe the layout of an apartment. Speakers judged only 25% of their gestures as
providing essential information that was missing from the speech Actual analysis indicated that almost all gestures (97%) contributed information that was not in the words. Gestures commonly used to convey spatial information (Bevelas, 2008) Figure 9.2 The number of times participants conveyed information about location, relative location, size, and shape by
gestures and by words. From Gerwing and Allison (2009). Copyright 2009 John Benjamins Publishing Company. Gesture many do more than give cues to the hearer. Gestures may also help the speaker to produce language. Gesturing can help people form clearer thoughts, speak in tighter sentences and use more declarative language. More about Gesture - might be on the exam.
(Bevelas, 2008) Speakers also use gestures on the phone (not for communication). Gestures on phone are fewer and smaller than face-to-face. Speaker describing the top of the skirt (telephone condition). Arrows indicate the size and direction of the gestures.
Restricting gestures reduced number of descriptions participants were able to give a name to (Frick-Horbury & Guttentag, 1998) Example: A thin oval tablet with a hole for the thumb at one end by which a painter holds it and mixes different shades of pigment on it. (Pallette)
Discourse Markers a word or phrase that is relatively syntax-independent and does not change the meaning of the sentence, and has a somewhat
empty meaning. Discourse Markers Analysis shows these seemingly meaningless utterances serve roles in conversation. um indicate problems deciding what to say next. you know check for understanding. like mark of sarcasm (avoid in job interviews) oh and so change of topic
Oh - change is relevant to speaker So change is relevant to listener Prosodic Cues Rhythm, stress and intonation Used to disambiguate the meaning of sentences. Psychopaths produce more beats Hare made another intriguing discovery by observing the hand gestures (called beats) people make
while speaking. Research has shown that such gestures do more than add visual emphasis to our words (many people gesture while they're on the telephone, for example); it seems they actually help our brains find words. That's why the frequency of beats increases when someone is having trouble finding words, or is speaking a second language instead of his or her mother tongue. In a 1991 paper, Hare and his colleagues reported that psychopaths, especially when talking about things they should find emotional, such as their families, produce a higher frequency of beats than normal people. It's as if emotional language is a second language -- a foreign language, in effect -- to the psychopath.
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