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The Human Brain’s Capacity for Language . by Don L. F. Nilsen, and Alleen Pace Nilsen. ANIMAL & HUMAN BRAINS (Heny 636). LEFT HEMISPHERE OF HUMAN BRAIN (Heny 639). LEFT HEMISPHERE ( Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 39). CORPUS CALLOSUM ALLOWS. Auditory Crossover Visual Crossover

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the human brain s capacity for language

The Human Brain’s Capacity for Language

by Don L. F. Nilsen, and

Alleen Pace Nilsen

31

corpus callosum allows
CORPUS CALLOSUM ALLOWS

Auditory Crossover

Visual Crossover

Arm- and Leg-Sensing Crossover

Left-Hemisphere Brain Crossover resulting in left-hemisphere domination, esp. for right-handed people (Heny 646-647)

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slide6
With the corpus callosum intact, the two halves of the body have no secrets from one another. With it sectioned (as in severe epilepsy), the two halves become two different conscious mental spheres, each with its own experience base and control system for behavioral operations…. Unbelievably as this may seem, this is the flavor of a long series of experimental studies first carried out in the cat and monkey.”

(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 46)

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the critical age for language learning
THE CRITICAL AGE FOR LANGUAGE LEARNING

For human babies, the brain is very flexible, and the left hemisphere is not dominant. By the Critical Age, the left hemisphere is dominant and Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area become less adaptable to new language stimuli.

(Heny 649)

“The critical-age hypothesis assumes that language is biologically based and states that the ability to learn a native language develops within a fixed period, from birth to middle childhood.”

(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 53)

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animal handedness
ANIMAL HANDEDNESS

“Among all nonhuman higher primates, handedness is evenly distributed—approximately fifty percent of chimpanzees are right-handed and fifty percent left-handed.”

(Kemp and Smith 676)

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human handedness
HUMAN HANDEDNESS

“In contrast, something like ninety percent of human beings are right handed—that is, left hemisphere dominant.”

(Kemp and Smith 676).

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lateralization 1
LATERALIZATION 1

The left hemisphere is dominant in most humans; however the following people are more balanced:

Bilinguals, Especially Asians and users of Character-Writing-Systems

Deaf users of American Sign Language

Literate People

Left-Handed People

Women

(Clark 628,Heny 649-654)

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lateralization 2
LATERALIZATION 2

Left Hemisphere Dominant:

Art Critics

Literary Critics

Music Critics

Right Hemisphere Balanced:

Artists

Authors

Musicians

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left brain specialties
LEFT-BRAIN SPECIALTIES:

Analytical Processing

Temporal Relations

Speech Sounds

Mathematics

Intellectual Activities

(Heny 643)

31

right brain specialties
RIGHT-BRAIN SPECIALTIES:

Synthetic and Creative Activities

Holistic Processing, Gestalts, and Overall Patterns

Spatial Relations

Nonspeech Sounds

Music Appreciation

Emotion

(Heny 643)

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broca s aphasia
BROCA’S APHASIA

“Cookie jar…fall over…chair…water…empty…ov…ov…[Examiner: “overflow?”] Yeah.”

(Heny 637)

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slide15
People with Broca’s aphasia sometimes substitute synonyms of the words they mean: freedom for liberty, parrot for canary, overseas for abroad, long for large, small for short, long for tall.

Or they may substitute the word in its wrong grammatical category: decision for decide, concealment for conceal, portrait for portray, bath for bathe, dliscussion for discuss, and memory for remember.

(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 64)

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broca s aphasia is like telegraphic speech
BROCA’S APHASIA IS LIKE TELEGRAPHIC SPEECH

Compare the Following:

Broca’s Aphasia

Children’s Language

Tarzan’s Language

The Lone Ranger’s friend Tonto’s Language

Genie’s Language

The Language of a Telegram

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wernicke s aphasia
WERNICKE’S APHASIA

Well, this is…mother is away here workingout o’here to get her better, but when she’s working, the two boys looking in the other part. One their small tile into her time here. She’s working another time because she’s getting, too.”

(Heny 638)

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slide18
People with Wernicke’s aphasia might use sentences like these collected by Harry Whitaker:

There is under a horse a new sidesaddle.

In girls we see many happy days.

I’ll challenge a new bike.

I surprise no new glamour.

Is there three chairs in this room?

Mike and Peter is happy.

Bill and John likes hot dogs.

Proliferate is a complete time about a word that is correct.

Went came in better than it did before.

(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 65)

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wernicke s aphasia is like lewis carroll s jabberwocky
WERNICKE’S APHASIA IS LIKE LEWIS CARROLL’S JABBERWOCKY

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gire and gimble in the wabe

All mimsy were the borogroves

And the mome wraths, outgrabe.

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slips of the tongue ear pen and hand
SLIPS OF THE TONGUE, EAR, PEN, AND HAND

In 1973, Victoria Fromkin edited an important book entitled Speech Errors as Linguistic Evidence.

In 1980, she edited another important book entitled Errors in Linguistic Performance: Slips of the Tongue, Ear, Pen, and Hand.

In these books, Fromkin shows how slips of the tongue, ear, pen and hand (in signing) give important insights into the way the human mind works.

Consider the following examples:

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children s bloopers
CHILDREN’S BLOOPERS

Children are often faced with language that they are unfamiliar with.

That’s why children may change “chess” into “chest.”

Or they may change the church hymn “Gladly the Cross I’d Bear” into “Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear.”

And Hilliard Jason’s example of New York Children reciting the Lord’s Prayer: “Lead us not into Penn Station.”

(Nilsen & Nilsen 7)

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children s excuses for being absent
CHILDREN’S EXCUSES FOR BEING ABSENT

Mary could not come to school because she has been bothered by very close veins.

Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his father’s fault.

Teacher, please excuse Mary for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot.

(Nilsen & Nilsen 8)

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slide23
TOT: “Tip of the Tongue” Phenomenon: Sometimes when we are searching for a word in our brain, we come up with a near miss. The wrong word sounds like, scans like, or has a similar meaning to the right word:

“Queen Elizabeth was the ‘Virgin Queen….’ When Elizabeth exposed herself before her troops, they all shouted “hurrah.” Then her navy went out and defeated the Spanish Armadillo.”

(Nilsen & Nilsen 7)

(From Richard Lederer’s Anguished English)

31

slide24
“It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented the Bible. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes and started smoking. And Sir Frances Drake circumsised the world with a 100-foot clipper.”

(Nilsen & Nilsen 7-8)

(From Richard Lederer’s Anguished English)

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yogi berra
YOGI BERRA

Yogi Berra was the catcher for the New York Yankees baseball team. He said:

“I want to win 100 or 105 games this year—whichever comes first.”

“It’s déjà vu all over again.”

“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

Yogi Berra was the inspiration for the cartoon character on television named “Yogi Bear.”

For additional examples, please contact Hilliard Jason at [email protected]

(Nilsen & Nilsen 9)

31

archie bunker
ARCHIE BUNKER

In All in the Family, Archie Bunker’s mistakes showed that he was a xenophobic bigot:

Milton Berlin, Morgan David wine, Blackberry Finn, pushy imported ricans, and a regular Marco Polish showed he was racist.

Englebum Humperdunk and welfare incipients showed he was uneducated.

The immaculate connection, Dunn and Broadstreet, and groinocologist showed he was sexist.

(Nilsen & Nilsen 8)

31

sigmund freud
SIGMUND FREUD

Sigmund Freud said that slips of the tongue often are evidence of people’s subconscious desires, as when the President of the Lower House of Parliament opened a meeting by saying:

“Gentlemen, I take notice that a full quorum of members is present and herewith declare the meeting closed.”

(Nilsen & Nilsen 8)

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samuel goldwyn
!SAMUEL GOLDWYN

Samuel Goldwyn of Metro Goldwyn Meyer said:

A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

Every Tom, Dick, and Harry is named William.

For your information, I would like to ask a question.

Now, gentlemen, listen slowly.

(Nilsen & Nilsen 9)

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william a spooner
!!WILLIAM A. SPOONER

British clergyman William A. Spooner was a professor at Oxford University who is reported to have said:

“Three cheers for our queer old dean” (referring to Queen Victoria)

“Is it kistomary to cuss the bride?”

“Stop hissing all my mystery lectures.”

(Nilsen & Nilsen 9)

31

casey stengel
!!!CASEY STENGEL

Casey Stengel, the manager of the New York Yankees baseball team, said:

“I guess I’ll have to start from scraps.”

“Everybody line up alphabetically according to your height.”

(Nilsen & Nilsen 9)

31

web sites of eccentrics
Web Sites of Eccentrics:

Eccentrics:

http://www.eccentricneworleans.com/gallery_of_eccentrics.htm

Monk:

http://video.usanetwork.com/player/?id=24093

31

related powerpoints
Related PowerPoints

Gender Humor

Gerontology and Humor

Humor Theories

Humor Web Sites

Laughter

Music and Humor

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slide33
References # 1:

Bickerton, Derek. “The Continuity Paradox” (Clark, 681-702).

Clark, Virginia, Paul Eschholz, and Alfred Rosa. Language: Readings in Language and Culture, 6th Edition. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1998.

Crystal, David. “Language and Thought” (Clark, 629-633).

Fingeroth, D. Superman on the Couch. New York, NY: Continuum, 2004.

31

slide34
Fromkin, Victoria A., ed. Errors in Linguistic Performance: Slips of the Tongue, Ear, Pen, and Hand. New York: Academic Press, 1980.

Fromkin, Victoria A., ed. Speech Errors as Linguistic Evidence. The Hague: Mouton, 1973.

Fromkin, Victoria, Robert Rodman, and Nina Hyams. “Brain and Language.” An Introduction to Language, 8th Edition. Boston, MA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007, 35-70; 9th edition, 2011, 43-75.

Gazzaniga, M. The Bisected Brain. New York, NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1970.

Heny, Jeannine. “Brain and Language (Clark, 634-657).

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slide35
Jackson, Hilliard. “Humor and Health.” personal e-mail: May 8, 2010.

Nilsen, Alleen Pace, and Don L. F. Nilsen. Encyclopedia of 20th Century American Humor. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2000.

Raskin, Victor, ed. The Primer of Humor Research. New York, NY: Mouton de Gruyter, 2008.

Raskin, Victor. “Theory of Humor and Practice of Humor Research: Editor’s Notes.” in Raskin 1-16.

Ruch, Willibald. “Psychology of Humor” in Raskin (2008) 17-100.

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