Some Questions of Interest • ? • ? • ? • ?
What is Language? • Organized way to combine words to communicate • Language is unique to humans • A communication system that is learned instead of biologically inherited
Four Areas in Psycholinguistics • Linguistics • The study of language structure and change • Neurolinguistics • The study of the relationships among the brain, cognition, and language • Sociolinguistics • The study of the relationship between social behavior and language • Computational linguistics • The study of language via computational methods
Properties of Language • Communicative • Arbitrarily symbolic • Regularly structured • Structured at multiple levels • Generative, productive • Dynamic
1. Communicative Property • Language permits us to communicate with one or more people who share our language
2. Arbitrarily Symbolic • Language creates an arbitrary relationship between a symbol and what it represents • Principle of conventionality • Principle of contrast
3. Regularly Structured • Language has a structure • Only particularly patterned arrangements of symbols have meaning, and different arrangements yield different meanings
4. Structured at Multiple Levels • The structure of language can be analyzed at more than one level • Sounds • Words • Sentences • Paragraphs and text
5. Generative Property of Language • “John drove the car”
6. Dynamic Nature of Language • Languages constantly evolve • New words or meanings • Blog, spam, wicked 900AD “Hwaet! We Gardena in geardagum, peodcyninga, brym gefrunon, hu oa aebelingas ellen fremedon” (Beowulf) 1350 “Whan that aprill with his shoures soote The droghte of march hath perced to the roote, And Bathed every veyne in swich licour” (Chaucer)
Structure of Language • Phonology • Morphology • Syntax • Semantics • Pragmatics
Phonology • Phoneme • Smallest unit of speech • Different languages use different sets of phonemes
Morphology • Morpheme • The smallest unit that denotes meaning • Content morphemes convey the core of the meaning (e.g., attractive, happy) • Function morphemes add nuances to core meaning (e.g., unattractive, happiness) • Lexicon entire set of morphemes for a language Root words Prefixes Suffixes cake chair boy pre- non- un- -ly -ist -ness
Syntax • Rules used to put words together for a sentence • Sentence = noun phrase + verb phrase • Noun phrase [NP] • Contains a noun and relevant descriptors • Verb phrase [VP] • Contains at least one verb and possibly objects it acts upon
Semantics • The study of meaning in a language The honest umbrella is in the garage. The salty craftsman appreciates the quality of the product. Cindy slept badly due to the sniffing dream.
Language Comprehension • Understanding words • Understanding meaning • Understanding sentences
Language comprehension1. understanding words • Coarticulation: of phonemes • 50 phonemes/sec! • Also occurs in ASL • How do we recognize sounds in a way so a stable set of phonemes is perceived?
Speech Perception Is “Ordinary” • Phonetic refinement theory • Analyze auditory signals • Then go to higher-level processing using context to help figure out what is heard • TRACE model (like network models) • Three levels of feature detection • Acoustic features • Phonemes • Words • Then use spreading activation
Phoneme Restoration Effect • It was found that the *eel was on the axle • It was found that the *eel was on the shoe • It was found that the *eel was on the orange • It was found that the *eel was on the table
Speech Perception Is “Special” • Evidence of categorical perception • Continuous dimension perceived as discrete Continuous = Actual sounds Discrete = Actual perception
cogLab: • Categorical identification • Categorical discrimination
Categorical Perception • The sounds “ba” and “pa” differ on the continuous dimension of VOT • Listeners can differentiate between /p/ and /b/; • however, distinguishing between different types of /p/ sounds is difficult • specialized processes are being used
Infant categorical speech perception! • http://www.learner.org/resources/series150.html
Motor Theory of Speech Perception • The movements of the speaker’s vocal tract provide a listener with phonetic information • Disrupting participants’ lip representation in the primary motor cortex with rTMS made it more difficult to distinguish speech sounds that involved lips or tip of the tongue in their articulation • The McGurk effect
Slips of the “ear”? • “Mondegreens”- when the boundaries between sounds are not clear • “…and to the republic for Richard Standz” • “s‘cuse me while I kiss this guy” • “There’s a bathroom on the right” • “Olive the other reindeer”
Heteronyms Context helps determine pronunciation and meaning 1. According to the cab driver, the taxes on taxes was outrageous! 2. She did not know if it would be appropriate to appropriate the items on the list from her mother’s house. 3. She felt the need to console the person in front of the console. 4. She knocked the guard out after she tried to entrance him. She went through the appropriate entrance.
Language comprehension:2. Understanding meaning • Denotation vs. connotation • "The name reservation has a negative connotation among Native Americans--an intern camp of sorts.” • "Since 'tribe' has assumed a connotation of primitiveness or backwardness, it is suggested that the use of 'nation' or 'people' replace the term whenever possible in referring to Native American peoples.” • Remember concepts?
Language comprehension 3:Understanding syntax • Aka grammar • Descriptive grammar vs. prescriptive grammar • “Why did you bring that book that I don’t want to be read to out of for?”
`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!” He took his vorpal sword in hand: Long time the manxome foe he sought -- So rested he by the Tumtum tree, And stood awhile in thought.
Evidence for Power of Syntax • Speech errors • Spoonerisms (ch 10) • Heteronyms • Droodles
Activity: create sentences Use these words to make 5 grammatically correct sentences and 5 grammatically incorrect sentences • Ball, basket, bounced, into, put, red, rolled, tall, the, woman How did you do it?
Phrase structure rules PS 1 S (sentence) = NP + VP • PS 2 NP (noun phrase) = det + (adj) + N • PS 3 VP (verb phrase) = V +NP • PS 4 N (noun) = boy, dog, man, book • PS 5 V (verb) = ate, broke, kissed • PS 6 adj (adjective) = quiet, red, happy, wormy • PS 7 det (determiner) = a, the
Syntax and Tree Diagrams “The girl looked at the boy with the telescope”
Chompsky’s Transformational Grammar • underlying propositions can be rearranged to form multiple phrase structures • Deep structure • The structure of the sentence that conveys the connections between sentences • Surface structure • The actual phrase structures that may occur from transformations
Chomsky’s Transformational Grammar • To understand syntax, we must also consider syntactical relationships between sentences
Transformational Grammar • Use phrase-structure rules to generate the underlying tree structure (deep structure) • Apply a sequence of transformational rules to the deep structure to generate the surface structure of the sentence • Transformations occur by adding, deleting, or moving constituents