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Language in Context. Chapter 10. Outline. Reading: Bottom-Up and Top-Down Processes Perceptual Issues in Reading Lexical Processes in Reading Language and Thought Differences between Languages Bilingualism and Dialects Slips of the Tongue Language in a Social Context Speech Acts

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outline
Outline
  • Reading: Bottom-Up and Top-Down Processes
    • Perceptual Issues in Reading
    • Lexical Processes in Reading
  • Language and Thought
    • Differences between Languages
    • Bilingualism and Dialects
    • Slips of the Tongue
  • Language in a Social Context
    • Speech Acts
    • Conversational Postulates
    • Gender and Language
  • Neuropsychology of Language
1 reading bottom up and top down processes
1. Reading: Bottom-Up and Top-Down Processes

1. Perceptual Issues in Reading

  • Perception of orthographic aspects of words
    • Recognizing a particular letter when presented in visual form
  • Translating letters into phonological code
    • Translating the letter into the corresponding sound
1 reading bottom up and top down processes4
1. Reading: Bottom-Up and Top-Down Processes

2. Lexical Processes in Reading

    • Put letters together and identify words
  • When reading our eyes move in saccades
    • Rapid sequential movements as they fixate on successive clumps of text
    • Saccadic movements leap an average of about 7 to 9 characters between successive fixations
1 reading bottom up and top down processes5
1. Reading: Bottom-Up and Top-Down Processes

2. Lexical Processes in Reading

  • Lexical access
    • the identification of a word that allows us to gain access to the meaning of the word from memory
  • Word-superiority effect
    • Letters are read more easily when they are embedded in words than when they are presented either in isolation or with letters that do not form words
  • Sentence-superiority effect (Sentence context effect)
    • When a word (e.g. “window”) is standing by itself it is more difficult to recognize than when it is preceded by a sentence context such as “There were several repair jobs to be done. The first was to fix the ________.
2 language and thought
2. Language and Thought

1. Differences between Languages

  • Differences in lexicon
    • People in Burma distinguish among many different kinds of rice
    • Nomadic Arabs have more than 20 different words for camels
  • Differences in syntax
    • Order of subject, verb, and object in a typical declarative sentence (e.g. Japanese vs. English)
    • Range of grammatical inflections and other markings (e.g. Russian vs. English)
2 language and thought7
2. Language and Thought

1. Differences between Languages

  • Linguistic Relativity: The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
      • The assertion that the speakers of different languages have differing cognitive systems and that these different cognitive systems influence the ways in which people speaking the various languages think about the world
      • Language shapes thought
      • Major proponents: Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf
2 language and thought8
2. Language and Thought

1. Differences between Languages

  • Linguistic Relativity: The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
    • Current view – milder form
      • Language may not determine thought, but language certainly may influence thought
      • Language facilitates mental representation and manipulation
      • Language affects how we encode, store, and retrieve information in memory
2 language and thought9
2. Language and Thought

1. Differences between Languages

  • Linguistic universals
    • Characteristic patterns across languages of various cultures
    • Example
      • Languages name colors quite differently, but the languages do not divide the color spectrum arbitrarily
      • All languages seem to take their basic color terms from a set of just 11 color names organized into a hierarchy of five levels: (1) black, white; (2) red; (3) yellow, green, blue; (4) brown; and (5) purple, pink, orange, gray
      • If a language names only two colors they will be black and white, if it names three colors, they will be black, white and red
2 language and thought10
2. Language and Thought

2. Bilingualism and Dialects

  • Bilingualism
    • Bilinguals
      • People who can speak two languages
      • Simultaneous bilingualism occurs when a child learns two languages from birth
      • Sequential bilingualism occurs when an individual first learns one language and then another
    • Monolinguals
      • People who can speak only one language
    • In general it seems that bilingualism results in increased thinking ability
2 language and thought11
2. Language and Thought

2. Bilingualism and Dialects

  • Bilingualism
    • Single-system hypothesis
      • The two languages are represented in just one system
    • Dual-system hypothesis
      • The two languages are represented somehow in separate systems in the mind
      • When recovery of language after trauma is studied, sometimes the first language recovers first, sometimes the second language recovers first
2 language and thought12
2. Language and Thought

2. Bilingualism and Dialects

  • Language Mixtures and Change
    • Pidgin
      • When people of two different language groups are in prolonged contact with one another, the language users of the two groups begin to share some vocabulary that is superimposed onto each group’s syntax
    • Creole
      • When pidgin develops into a distinct linguistic form (new language) with its own grammar, it becomes a Creole
    • Dialect
      • A regional variety of a language distinguished by features such as vocabulary, syntax, and pronunciation
2 language and thought13
2. Language and Thought

3. Slips of the Tongue

  • Slips of the Tongue
    • Linguistic errors in what we say, which may occur at any level of linguistic analysis: phonemes, morphemes, or larger units of language
      • E.g. spoonerisms at the phonological level
        • “you have hissed all my mystery lectures”
      • E.g. Substitution at the semantic level
        • “after it is too late,” when you meant “before it is too late”
3 language in a social context
3. Language in a Social Context
  • Pragmatics
    • the study of how people use language, including sociolinguistics and other aspects of the social context of language

1. Speech Acts

  • Direct speech acts
    • The speech act is expressed directly (e.g. “Shut the door!”)
  • Indirect speech acts
    • We accomplish our goals in speaking in an oblique fashion (e.g. “Could you please shut the door?”)
3 language in a social context15
3. Language in a Social Context

1. Speech Acts

  • Taxonomy of direct speech acts (Searle, 1975)
    • Representative
      • A speech act by which a person conveys a belief that a given proposition is true
      • E.g. “My students are smart.”
    • Directive
      • An attempt by a speaker to get a listener to do something, such as supplying the answer to question
      • E.g. “Shut the door!”
3 language in a social context16
3. Language in a Social Context

1. Speech Acts

  • Taxonomy of direct speech acts (Searle, 1975)
    • Commissive
      • A commitment by the speaker to engage in some future course of action
      • E.g. “I’ll be there.”
    • Expressive
      • A statement regarding the speaker’s psychological state
      • E.g. “I’m happy.”
3 language in a social context17
3. Language in a Social Context

1. Speech Acts

  • Taxonomy of direct speech acts (Searle, 1975)
    • Declaration
      • A speech act by which the very act of making a statement brings about an intended new state of affairs
      • E.g. “I now pronounce you husband and wife”
3 language in a social context18
3. Language in a Social Context

2. Conversational Postulates (Grice, 1967)

  • The maxim of quantity
    • Make your contribution to a conversation as informative as required but no more informative than is appropriate
  • The maxim of quality
    • Your contribution to a conversation should be truthful
    • You are expected to say what you believe to be the case
3 language in a social context19
3. Language in a Social Context

2. Conversational Postulates (Grice, 1967)

  • The maxim of relation
    • You should make your contributions to a conversation relevant to the aims of the conversation
  • The maxim of manner
    • You should try to avoid obscure expressions, vague utterances, and purposeful obfuscation of your point
3 language in a social context20
3. Language in a Social Context

3. Gender and Language

  • Gender differences has been found in the content of what we say and what kind of conversation style we use
    • Man
      • Focus on information
      • Conversation is viewed as competition
    • Women
      • Focus more on feelings
      • Try to establish connection between participants in conversation; want to consult things
3 neuropsychology of language
3. Neuropsychology of Language
  • Broca’s aphasia
    • Problem in production
    • Patient Tan-Tan who could not speak but understood speech
  • Wernicke’s aphasia
    • Problem in comprehension
    • Language-deficient patients who can speak but whose speech makes no sense
3 neuropsychology of language22
3. Neuropsychology of Language
  • Event-related potential (ERP) evidence
    • N400
      • Sensitive to semantic anomaly in sentences such as “The officer shot the man with a moon.”
    • P600
      • Sensitive to syntactic anomalies in sentences such as “The broker persuaded to sell the stock.”