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Flashcards in 7 - Language Deck (12):
1

Three central mechanisms for language

- Speech production
- Speech comprehension
- Reading / Writing

2

Which hemisphere is primarily used for language?

Left Hemisphere

3

5 levels of language representation

Discourse
Syntax
Word
Morpheme
Phoneme

Discourse
- a collection of words that have a meaning greater than the words themselves

Syntax
- the structural relationships between the words that give them meaning (different for different languages)

Word
- individual word

Morpheme
- building blocks of words (chunks of phonemes)

Phonemes
- smallest unit of sound

4

4 features of human language

Arbitrary
Duality of Patterning
Infinite Generative Capacity
Syntactic Recursion

Arbitrary:
- the words we use do not describe what the object is, they are arbitrary

Duality of Patterning:
- the phonemes in language can be used in multiple ways, can be combined in different orders to create new words that still make sense

Infinite Generative Capacity:
- morphemes and phonemes can be reorganised in an infinite number of ways, providing the syntax is correct

Syntactic Recursion:
- we can keep track of new additions to the discourse
- also shows that language is not learned by association, as it is in apes (sign)

5

Language perception

- the information that arrives in our auditory cortex is ambiguous
> the same word can have different meanings
> there is no clear gap between words
> the way one speaks varies greatly

Findings:
- the context of the discourse is more (cognitively) important than the content
- we compute all possible meanings subconsciously (200ms)

6

Paul Broca

- had a patient that had a selective deficit in language production, he could still comprehend language fine
- post mortem discovered a lesion on the Left side of the Frontal Cortex
- now called Broca's area, the Left Frontal Cortex is for language production but not language comprehension

7

Carl Wernicke

- discovered that the area slightly posterior to Broca's area was for Language Comprehension
- now Wernicke's Area
(left frontal cortex, slightly posterior)

8

Aphasia of the Arcuate Fasciculus

- the white matter that joins Wernicke and Broca's areas
- when damaged, people can comprehend and produce language moderately well
- but they cannot repeat words they have heard

9

Bilingualism

- used to be thought that exposing children to more than one language early on impairs language development
> because they are slower to utter their first words
- but actually bilingualism improves executive function ability
> perhaps because the child learns to inhibit the non-used language

- bilinguals have a larger language centre in the Left Inferior Parietal Cortex
- this is larger if they learned earlier and are more fluent

10

Executive Function Tasks

- cognitively demanding
- require cognitive control
- utilise the pre-frontal cortex

11

Deafness

- it has been found that deaf people learning sign language use the same language centres of the brain as normal

12

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)

- small electric current on the skull as accurately as possible to stimulate neuron firing in the area to stimulate growth and repair of aphasia