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Biological and Cognitive Foundations > Language > Flashcards

Flashcards in Language Deck (18):

Is language taught?

acquired- not taught explicitly. natural for us (chomsky, pinker): uniquely human, develops spontaneously, recently evolved
seemingly effortless once acquired
communicates affect
Discrete infinity- can produce an infinite number of expressions


Language terms

lexicon- store of detailed info about words (includes orthographic, phonological, semantic and syntactic)
orthography- info about spelling of words
phonology- info about sounds and parts of words
semantics- meaning conveyed by words and sentences
syntax- rules/principles of sentence structure (grammar)


Anthropological approach

role of language in culture/society
cognitive tool
linguistic relativity (whorfian hypothesis) that language influences perception


Linguistic approach

traditional focus on syntax
concerned with how people use language and what they need to know to do so
competence vs performance


Biological approach

Pinker- faculty of language is an instinct-- children using -ed for past tense
Brain structures involved
-lesion: aphasia


Computational approach

develop algorithms, programs- practical goal to understand how we learn and create language


Psychological approach

psycho-linguistics- cognitive processes: syntax, semantics
performance focus- communication, social/affective context, early development
borrowed from other approaches


Heuristics: word order

most of the time noun-verb-noun sequence works or agent-verb-object but not always. we use this combined with other heuristics



how language is used- various forms of expression: command, inform, ask etc
assumptions- conversational postulates: can you tell me the time.
Cooperative principle- we work together to ensure mutual understanding
Maxim of quantity- we provide enough info for the purpose
eg marty is meeting a woman for dinner tonight (vs meeting his wife)



how is meaning conveyed and represented
different levels- morphemes (minimal amount of meaning)
mental lexicon- all the words
semantic context- schemas, scripts
declarative knowledge- semantic memory


Does language influence thought?

Yes (this is called relativity)- Whorf: structure of language affects cognition
No (this is called universality)- perceptual color space naming even without language for focal colors
YES AND NO- Regier, categorical perception: language can influence your categorization of color naming


How do infants acquire language?

acquire specific items, form general rules. reflects 'neural commitment'. role of the procedural system
babies spend more time listening to 'part words' perhaps more importance should be paid to novel things
same thing with phonetic learning- effects of live foreign language exposure


Is speech perception only auditory?

The McGurk Effect- ba vs va changes depending on the visual cue suggesting it's not just sound- more than only auditory


Broca's Aphasia

nonfluent aphasia: damage to Broca's area; serious impairment in language PRODUCTION
near motor cortex, frontal lobe
slow, laborious, hesitant speech
usually aware of difficulty speaking
more complicated sentence structures are more difficult to respond to or say
Omission of most pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, auxiliary verbs, tense and number endings
"cookie jar...fall over...chair...water...empty"


Wernicke's Aphasia

fluent aphasia- issue with comprehension; involves broader integration- parietal lobe integration area
- person can still speak somewhat smoothly and grammatically but it's meaningless word salad
- recognition of items often not impaired- usually not aware of language problems


Challenges for listeners: what is the segmentation problem

need to separate out or distinguish words: can't do it with gibberish but can when words are disorganized and placed in a paragraph sensibly.

Silences are more often within words than btw words


Phonemic restoration effect

context will influence the sounds you hear
eel on the axle- wheel
eel on the shoe- heel


Nonhuman precursors of language

bonobos monkeys
alex african gray parrot- find items but makes mistakes to 2 blue items