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Flashcards in Language and Thought Deck (24):


Consists of the use of symbols to represent, transmit, and store meaning / info
- Symbols include organized patterns of sound, visual representations, and movements
- Meaning includes concepts, quantities, plans, identity, feelings, ideas, facts, and customs
Composed of phonemes, morphemes, and grammar


What are the uses of language

- Provides a means to relay info
- Allows ppl to connect to ppl far away
- Allows for planning / execution of schemes



Smallest units of sound
eg. vowels and consonants



Units of meaning
eg. words / meaning parts of words; pre-/suffixes



The rules for using words, including semantics, definitions, connotations, and syntax
ie. how the order of words make meaning


Language Development in Children

(0-4mon) receptive language
(4mon) productive language
(10mon) babbling sounds more like household language
(12mon) one-word stage, esp. nouns
(18-24mon) two-word, telegraphic speech: addition of verbs, constructing phrases
(24mon+) full, complex sentences


Nature vs Nurture in Language

We seem to have an genetic talent for acquiring language, but we also seem to have a "statistical" patter recognition talent


Critical Period for Learning Language

Development of language centers of the brain peaks at 3-7yrs; after that the development decreases linearly


How do deaf and blind children develop language skills?

Deaf / blind children se complex adapted language by using other senses that are heightened
eg. sign language



Impairment in the ability to produce / understand language; caused by brain damage


Broca's Aphasia

Aphasia w/ difficulty in constructing sentences, speaking single words; does not affect the ability to sing


Wernicke's Aphasia

Aphasia w/ difficulty in comprehending speech, producing coherent speech


Written Language Processing Pathway

1. Visual cortex receives written words as visual stimulation
2. Angular gyrus transforms visual codes into auditory ones
3. Wernicke's area interpret's auditory code
4. Broca's area controls speech muscles via motor cortex
5. Motor cortex allows word to be pronounced


Receptive Language

Associating sounds w/ facial movements
Recognizing when sounds are broken into words
Occurs in 0~4mon babies, dogs


Productive Language

Multilingual babbling / gestures
Occurs in 4mon babies, bees (dances), chimps (sign language)


Communication with Chimpanzees

Washoe the chimp learned to use 245 signs
- communicated w/ a deaf NYTimes reporter
- combined words to make convey meaning: "apple which is orange" for an orange

Chimp word production lacks syntax and productivity (ie. use language to request rather than describe)


Linguistic Determinism

The idea that our specific language determines how we think


Japanese vs English Language

Speaking in Jp provides many words for interpersonal emotions (eg. sympathy / empathy)
Speaking in En provides many self-focused emotions (eg. sadness / sorrow)


Language's Influence on Thought

Bilingual ppl appear to have different personalities when describing themselves in different languages
Different languages vary in their separation of blue and green
Gender-inclusive words (ie. mankind) influences what images come to mind when these words are heard


Pormpuraaw vs English Language

English-speakers view time as a rightward bound arrow
Pormpuraaw view time as a westbound arrow


Apple in German vs Spanish Language

Apple in Ge: masculine
Apple in Sp: feminine


Bilingual Advantage

Bilinguals tend to have numerous brain connections / neural networks
- can suppress one language while learning another
- can resist distractions / inhibit impulses


Is there conscious thinking that goes on without being formed as words?

Some everyday decisions, such as which turn to take while driving, are certainly made based on images or other nonverbal content such as mental maps


Benefits of Imagery

Image rehearsal can help us improve behavior, even skilled performance such as playing piano or playing sports
Imagining a detailed sequence of actions often allows one to execute them