; Language
Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out
Your Federal Quarterly Tax Payments are due April 15th Get Help Now >>



  • pg 1
									March 8, 2010
   First 5: Explain this sentence:
   The soldier decided to desert his
    dessert in the desert.
   Objectives: To develop an
    understanding of the structure of
    language and its complexity.
Language and Thinking
   Agenda: First 5
   Lecture
   Group work on Articles from yesterday
English is difficult!
   A farm can produce produce.
   The dump was so full it had to refuse refuse.
   The soldier decided to desert his dessert in
    the desert.
   The present is a good time to present the
   At the Army base, a bass was painted on the
    head of a bass drum.
   The dove dove into the bushes.
   I did not object to the object.
   The insurance for the invalid was invalid.
   The bandage was wound around the wound.
   They were too close to the door to close it.
Definition: Symbolism used to
           communicate ideas &
           concepts & to problem solve

All Language shares 3 things in common
   1. Semanticity: True language conveys thoughts in a
      meaningful way by use of symbols and sounds
        sounds such as coughing or clearing one’s throat are not for
       communication and therefore have no meaning and are not a part of
   2. Generativity: Ability to combine words in new ways
   3. Displacement: Ability to talk about objects that are
      not present
    Parts of Language
   Phonemes: Smallest unit of sound that can be understood as
    part of a language
     - Ex: The m of mat, the b of boy, or the ch in church

   Morphemes: Smallest unit of sound that conveys a meaning
    in a language. Can be individual or combinations of phonemes
     - Ex: Unit consisting of a word, such as man
     - Ex: A word element, such as -ed in walked
     - Ex: Phoneme such as I
     ** cannot be divided into smaller meaningful parts**

   Grammar: Set of rules that enables us to use our language
    • Semantics – Refers to aspects of meaning assigned to language
      (Ex: adding “ed” means it happened in the past)
    • Syntax – The system of rules we use to string words together into
      proper sentences
      (Ex: adjectives come before nouns)
Language Structure
Phonemes: The smallest distinct sound unit in a
spoken language. For example:

        bat, has three phonemes b · a · t

       chat, has three phonemes ch · a · t
Language Structure
Morpheme: The smallest unit that carries a
meaning. It may be a word or part of a word.
For example:

                 Milk = milk
            Pumpkin = pump . kin
       Unforgettable = un · for · get · table
Structuring Language

  Phonemes    Basic sounds (about 40) … ea, sh.

              Smallest meaningful units (100,000)
  Morphemes   … un, for.

              Meaningful units (290,500) … meat,
  Words       pumpkin.

              Composed of two or more words
  Phrase      (326,000) … meat eater.

              Composed of many words (infinite)
  Sentence    … She opened the jewelry box.
Grammar is the system of rules in a language
  that enable us to communicate with and
             understand others.


        Semantics          Syntax
Semantics is the set of rules by which we derive
   meaning from morphemes, words, and
            sentences. For example:

 Semantic rule tells us that adding –ed to the
word laugh means that it happened in the past.
  Syntax consists of the rules for combining
 words into grammatically sensible sentences.
                For example:

 In English, syntactical rule says that adjectives
come before nouns; white house. In Spanish, it is
              reversed; casa blanca.
 Language Development
   Children learn their
 native languages much
  before learning to add
  We learn, on average
(after age 1), 3,500 words

                             Time Life Pictures/ Getty Images
 a year, amassing 60,000
  words by the time we
   graduate from high
Language and the Brain
   As a child grows, his/her language develops.
    Usually, understanding language occurs before
    the production of language.

                     Broca’s Area    - Damage here
                     affects your ability to produce

                     Wernicke’s Area      - Damage
                     here affects your ability to
                     understand speech
    Language Development (Year One)
   Infant – Crying
   4 to 6 months – Babbling
            (sounds present in all languages)
   9 months – Finite babbling
         (narrow to sounds reflected back to them)
   1 year – One-word stage
     • Overextension: Applying a word to a wide variety of similar items
       (Ex: using “horse” to refer to any four-legged animal)

     • Underextension: Using a word to define only one object as though it
       were a proper name
       (Ex: using “bird” to refer to only the child’s pet and not to wild birds
       in the yard or other winged creatures)

     • Holophrasic Speech: Using one word to mean an entire sentence
       (Ex: “shoe” means “Will you tie my shoe?”)
     • Overgeneralization- Misuse of rules “goed” “sheeps”
Language Development (Past 1st Year)
   18-24 months – Two-word stage

   2 years old – Capable of relating past and

   3 years old – Uses simple sentence
    structure and can tell a simple story

   4 years old – Five-word sentences are
    characteristic of this age group

   5 years old – Capable of complex syntax
Pic: Overview of
typical language
Pic: Units of Language
Pic: Farside
Theories of Language Acquisition
   Skinner – Learned through association,
    reinforcement and social imitation

   Chomsky – Believed that language
    acquisition is innate from his observations
    that children create sentences they have
    never heard before and learning is too rapid
    to be explained solely by learning principles

       *Possibly a combination of the two
Language Acquisition
as we get older…
     Thinking and Language

    Whorf’s Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis
    Definition: Word order and word choice can affect our
          “Language itself shapes man’s basic ideas”

- Hopi have no past tense, so they do not readily think about the past

-    English has many words for self-focused emotions such as anger
-    Japanese have many words for interpersonal emotions such as
-    Bilinguals may show different personalities when taking the same
     personality test in their two languages
 English is difficult!
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in
pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England.
Quicksand works slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither
from Guinea nor is it a pig.
If you have a bunch of odds & ends and get rid of all but one, what do you
call it?
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats
vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Why do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send
cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim
chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house
can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and
in which an alarm goes off by going on.
If Dad is Pop, how come mom isn't Mop?
Grr Wrawr!
   In your groups of 3:
   Write on 1 sheet of paper what each person
    thinks about the theories on language
    acquisition- which theory they believe to be
    the most reasonable and why.
Final 5
   What did each person in your group believe
    about the theories?
Language Influences Thinking
Linguistic Determinism: Whorf (1956) suggested
that language determines the way we think. For
example, he noted that the Hopi people do not
have the past tense for verbs. Therefore, the Hopi
cannot think readily about the past.
Final 5
   Break down this sentence into phonemes
    and morphemes: I walked the dog to the pet
   Morphemes: I, Walk, the, dog, to, the pet,
   Phonemes, I, w,
Language Influences Thinking
When a language provides words for objects or events,
   we can think about these objects more clearly and
 remember them. It is easier to think about two colors
with two different names (A) than colors with the same
                name (B) (Özgen, 2004).
Thinking in Images
 To a large extent thinking is language-based.
When alone, we may talk to ourselves. However,
            we also think in images.

          We don’t think in words, when:

       1. When we open the hot water tap.

       2. When we are riding our bicycle.
Images and Brain
Imagining a physical activity activates the same
 brain regions as when actually performing the

                                             Jean Duffy Decety, September 2003
Animals & Language
        Do animals have a language?

 Honey bees communicate by dancing. The dance
 moves clearly indicate the direction of the nectar.
Do Animals Think?
 Common cognitive skills
   in humans and apes
  include the following:

1.   Concept formation.
2.   Insight

                                                             William Munoz
3.   Problem Solving
4.   Culture               African grey parrot assorts red
                              blocks from green balls.
5.   Mind?
Animal Culture
 Animals display customs and culture that are
  learned and transmitted over generations.

                                                                                       Michael Nichols/ National Geographic Society
                            Copyright Amanda K Coakes

Dolphins using sponges as                               Chimpanzee mother using and
      forging tools.                                     teaching a young how to use
                                                               a stone hammer.
Mental States
 Can animals infer mental states in themselves
                 and others?

 To some extent. Chimps and orangutans (and
 dolphins) used mirrors to inspect themselves
when a researcher put paint spots on their faces
                  or bodies.
Do Animals Exhibit Language?
There is no doubt that
animals communicate.

  Vervet monkeys,
whales and even honey
 bees communicate

                                                 Copyright Baus/ Kreslowski
with members of their
  species and other
                           Rico (collie) has a
                         200-word vocabulary
The Case of Apes
  Chimps do not have a vocal apparatus for
  human-like speech (Hayes & Hayes,1951).
 Therefore, Gardner and Gardner (1969) used
   American Sign Language (ASL) to train
Washoe, a chimp, who learned 182 signs by the
                 age of 32.
Gestured Communication
 Animals, like humans, exhibit communication
through gestures. It is possible that vocal speech
 developed from gestures during the course of
Sign Language
     American Sign Language (ASL) is
  instrumental in teaching chimpanzees a
         form of communication.

                                        Paul Fusco/ Magnum Photos
         When asked, this chimpanzee uses
             a sign to say it is a baby.
Computer Assisted Language
 Others have shown that bonobo pygmy chimpanzees can
develop even greater vocabularies and perhaps semantic
  nuances in learning a language (Savage-Rumbaugh,
  1991). Kanzi and Panbanish developed vocabulary for
            hundreds of words and phrases.

                                       Copyright of Great Ape Trust of Iowa
1.   Apes acquire their limited vocabularies with a
     great deal of difficulty, unlike children who
     develop vocabularies at amazing rates.
2.   Chimpanzees can make signs to receive a
     reward, just as a pigeon who pecks at the key
     receives a reward. However, pigeons have not
     learned a language.
3.   Chimpanzees use signs meaningfully but lack
4.   Presented with ambiguous information, people
     tend to see what they want to see.
   If we say that animals can use meaningful
 sequences of signs to communicate a capability
   for language, our understanding would be
naive… Steven Pinker (1995) concludes, “chimps
           do not develop language.”
   Cognitive Psychology – Seeks to study how
    people think, problem solve, make decisions,
    communicate, understand concepts and access
Components of Thinking - Concepts
   Concepts
    • Definition: A mental grouping of similar
      objects, people, events, etc.

    • Function: Help us to order our world into
      categories and communicate with fewer words

    • Prototypes: Our best example of a concept
         Ex: concept: dog
             prototype: your Poodle (the image that pops into your
        head when you think of “dog”)
Components of Thinking - Problem Solving
Trial and Error: Trying one solution after another in no particular order
  Ex: Thomas Edison – light bulb

Means-Ends Analysis: Given a current state and a goal state, an action is
  chosen to reduce the difference between the two. The action is performed
  on the current state to produce a new state, and the process is recursively
  applied to this new state and the goal state.
Ex: Used often in computer programming and artificial intelligence

Insights: Sometimes answer just comes to us out of nowhere when we are
   not focusing hard on it
Ex: Trying to remember someone’s name at a party and can’t. Go home that night
   and while brushing teeth the name pops into your head.
Ex: Taking a test in class and can’t remember name of psychologist who
   conditioned dogs. Later at lunch the name Pavlov suddenly appears in your
Components of Thinking - Problem Solving

Algorithm: A systematic procedure used to solve a
problem which guarantees a solution, although it may
take longer than a Heuristic approach.
  -Like a recipe to solve something

Heuristics: Using a rule of thumb strategy to problem
solve and make decisions.
 -Often comes from our past experiences and personal judgments.
 -Usually quicker, but more error-prone, than algorithms.
 -Sometimes called“mental shortcuts

Ex: If you are having difficulty understanding a problem, try drawing a picture.
   If you can't find a solution, try assuming that you have a solution and seeing what you
can derive from that ("working backward").
   If the problem is abstract, try examining a concrete example.
    Decision Making
Definition: The process of choosing among a number of
   Representativeness Heuristic – When we make a decision
    based on how much a new situation or object resembles our
    old prototypes
    (Ex: truck driver vs. Ivy League professor)

   Availability Heuristic – When we base a decision on what
    we have most available in our memory. Things that come to
    mind are presumed to be more common.
    (Ex: letter “k”…more frequent 1st or 3rd letter)
    (Ex: casino noises)

   Comparison – When we measure the value of two
    alternatives by comparing them on a point-by-point basis
Errors Made in Problem Solving
   Functional Fixedness: Inability to use familiar
    objects in new ways
    • Ex: Need a flashlight? Use your cell phone.
    • Ex: Someone who does not show functional fixedness is a
      robber who uses women’s hosiery placed over his head to
      distort his facial features 

   Mental Set: When people continue to use problem-
    solving strategies that have worked in the past
   Irrelevant information: When someone becomes
    fixed on information that is given in the problem that
    does not impact the solution
   Unnecessary Constraints: The inability to solve a
    problem because we place constraints on the solution
    that really don’t exist
Faulty Decision Making
Confirmation Bias – A tendency to seek out
  information that confirms our previously held beliefs

Belief Perseverance – The tendency to hold onto our
  belief even in the face of evidence against our
  belief…our beliefs distort our logic

Overconfidence – The tendency to count on our own
  estimates and beliefs too much

Framing Decisions – The way we are presented the
  information needed for making the decision can
  impact what we decide
    Ex: coat for $100 or same coat for $150 at 33% off
Thinking Game: The Matchstick Problem
How would you arrange six matches to form four equilateral triangles?
Solution to Matchstick Problem
Visualize Yourself Studying
The effects of mental practice on skilled motor performance.
• Many athletes mentally ski their slalom course, make their free throws, or execute
their gymnastic routine.
• Might there also be payoffs to mentally simulating successful academic performance?

In 1998 UCLA researchers explored the surprising benefits derived by mentally
simulating how one might achieve a goal.
    Study: Engaged intro psych students who would be taking a midterm exam in five to seven days.

    One group
     ½ told to imagine a positive outcome (visualizing themselves scanning the posted grade list, seeing their A,
    beaming with joy, feeling confident, feeling proud) and to repeat this "outcome simulation" for five minutes
    each day before the exam.
     ½ were controls and did nothing differently
    ***This had little effect, adding only two points to exam scores compared to control subjects not
    engaged in mental simulation.

    Second group
     ½ instructed to imagine themselves studying in a way that would lead to an A (visualizing themselves
    studying the chapters, going over notes, eliminating distractions, declining an offer to go out). Were also told to
    repeat this "process simulation" for five minutes each day.
     ½ were controls and did nothing differently
    ***Compared to the control students, these students began studying earlier, spent more hours
    studying, and beat the control group exam average by nearly eight points.

Based on this and other experiments, they conclude that it is better to spend
your fantasy time planning how to get there than it is to dwell on the
Far Side Jokes

To top