Kanzi used symbols to represent objects and actions
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1. Describe how Kanzi’s communication skills fulfill each of the four critical properties of language. Kanzi used symbols to represent objects and actions He and the psychologists understood a shared semantic system (“meanings”)

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Kanzi used symbols to represent objects and actions

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Kanzi used symbols to represent objects and actions

1. Describe how Kanzi’s communication skills fulfill each of the four critical properties of language.

  • Kanzi used symbols to represent objects and actions

  • He and the psychologists understood a shared semantic system (“meanings”)

  • He generated thousands of combinations (many of them spontaneous)

  • He seemed to follow grammar rules, and understood how word order changed the meaning of a sentence


2 summarize steven pinker s argument for the evolutionary basis of human language

2. Summarize Steven Pinker’s argument for the evolutionary basis of human language.

  • Language is a species-specific trait produced by natural selection

  • Communication has adaptive value

  • A small advantage to survival can increase that trait in populations in a relatively short amount of time (by evolutionary standards)


Behaviorist theories

Behaviorist Theories

  • Skinner (1957)

  • Claims language is acquired through imitation, reinforcement, and other conditioning principles

  • When language and syntax are understood, children are understood and gets what they need (rewarded)


Nativist theories

Nativist Theories

  • Noam Chomsky (1959, 1965)

  • Children have an inborn propensity to develop language

  • They learn the rules of language, not specific verbal responses

  • Humans are equipped with a language acquisition device – innate process that facilitates the learning of language

  • Language development is similar across very different cultures


Interactionist theories

Interactionist Theories

  • Biology and experience both make important contributions to language development

  • Language is part of cognitive development

  • Social communication plays a large role

  • Emergentist theories examine the growth of neural networks that emerge in response to experience


4 what evidence did b l whorf present to support the linguistic relativity hypothesis

4. What evidence did B. L. Whorf present to support the linguistic relativity hypothesis?

  • One’s language determines the nature of one’s thought

  • Based on observation, he claimed that Eskimo language had many words for snow, and thus they perceive snow differently than English-speaking people


5 what are some criticisms of his reasoning

5. What are some criticisms of his reasoning?

  • Did not do systematic cross-cultural comparisons of perceptual processes

  • Overestimated the number of Eskimo words for snow

  • Ignored the variety of English words for snow


6 how did eleanor rosch s work refute whorf s hypothesis

6. How did Eleanor Rosch’s work refute Whorf’s hypothesis?

  • Examined color perception

  • Compared the Dani of New Guinea (who only have terms for two basic colors) to English speakers

  • Found no difference in their abilities to perceive and learn the names of colors


7 what is the weaker version of the linguistic relativity hypothesis

7. What is the weaker version of the linguistic relativity hypothesis?

  • A given language makes certain ways of thinking easier or more difficult


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