THE BILINGUAL BRAIN[Why Machines Can't Translate for Toffee]Derek J. SMITH, CEng, CITPCardiff School of Health SciencesUniversity of Wales Institute, Cardiffsmithsrisca@btinternet.comhttp://www.smithsrisca.co.uk
A BRIEF PRELIMINARY ..... WILL THE WELSH SPEAKERS IN THE AUDIENCE PLEASE WRITE YOUR TRANSLATION OF THE FOLLOWING ENGLISH PHRASES ON THE SLIP OF PAPER PROVIDED, AND PASS IT TO THE FRONT ..... "Out of sight, out of mind" "It was just a pipe dream" "He was as pleased as punch" "He's a bit tight-fisted"
GRAMMAR means the rules which affect how those words can be used. A set of words means nothing until it obeys these rules .............. didn't an was know arquebusier I what. ALL ABOUT VOCABULARY AND GRAMMAR • VOCABULARY means all the words you know. I didn't know what an arquebusier was. Take a good look at this word - we'll be mentioning it again later..
IN ENGLISH, WORD SEQUENCE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF GRAMMAR. TRY PUTTING THIS SENTENCE IN THE RIGHT ORDER ..... WORDS SAY THE SAME DIFFERENT GRAMMAR HELPS THINGS
SAME EXAMPLES: "DAVID KISSES SARAH" "SARAH KISSES DAVID" WORDS SAY THE DIFFERENT GRAMMAR HELPS THINGS
THE SAME GRAMMAR HELPS WORDS SAY DIFFERENT THINGS EXAMPLES: "I'M HUNGRY" "WHAT'S FOR DINNER"
HERE'S ANOTHER EXAMPLE. REARRANGE THESE FIVE WORDS INTO AN ENGLISH SENTENCE ..... THE CAT DOG BITES THE
YOU CAN'T DO IT, OF COURSE.YOU HAVE THE WORDSYOU HAVE THE GRAMMARBUT YOU DON'T YET KNOW THE TRUTH THE CAT DOG BITES THE
THE TRUTH MIGHT BEOR IT MIGHT JUST AS EASILY BE THE CAT BITES THE DOG THE DOG BITES THE CAT
HOWEVER, AS SOON AS WE UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH IT'S POSSIBLE TO USE WORDS TO DESCRIBE IT ..... THE CAT DOG BITES THE
..... ALTHOUGH IF THAT TRUTH CHANGES, SO, TOO, MUST OUR DESCRIPTION OF IT THE CAT BITES THE DOG
IN OTHER WORDS ..... UNDERSTANDING plus VOCABULARY plus GRAMMAR equals EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
THE FIRST RELIABLE DISSECTIONS OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM TOOK PLACE IN THE 16TH CENTURY ..... These images are from Andreas Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica (1543)
THIS ENCOURAGED PHILOSOPHERS TO GUESS AT HOW IT WORKED ..... This image is from Rene Descartes' Treatise of Man (1662), and speculates on how biological information processing might be organised. Pay attention now!
DOCTORS, TOO, HAD ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN THE STRANGE THINGS THAT HAPPENED WHEN THEIR PATIENTS SUFFERED STROKES OR HEAD INJURIES .....
THEY FOUND OUT, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT EACH SIDE OF THE BRAIN CONTROLS THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE BODY!
AND THAT LANGUAGE SKILLS ARE CONCENTRATED IN THE LEFT HEMISPHERE Language skills here So although I can't use my left arm, I can still hold a decent conversation with you.
BY THE MID-19TH CENTURY, NEUROLOGISTS HAD STARTED TO LOCATE LANGUAGE SKILLS EVEN MORE PRECISELY Damage here causes problems with grammar and word finding Whereas damage here causes problems with understanding
WARS GIVE US LOTS OF HEAD INJURIES TO STUDY • Here are some sketches from cases reported by the German military surgeon Walter Poppelreuter in 1917. • THESE MEN ALL HAD PROBLEMS SEEING. • CAN YOU SPOT THE PATTERN TO THIS, PERHAPS?
WARS GIVE US LOTS OF HEAD INJURIES TO STUDY • Here is a sketch of a case reported by the British neurosurgeon Henry Head in 1926. • Note the "cross-over" of the resulting impairment. I can't feel my left hand.
WARS GIVE US LOTS OF HEAD INJURIES TO STUDY • One simple test is to show someone an object and then ask them what it is called. I can see it and I know what it's for, but I just can't think of the name!
WARS GIVE US LOTS OF HEAD INJURIES TO STUDY • Different injuries give different answers!! I'm like Poppelreuter's cases - I just can't see it (even though there's nothing wrong with my eyes). (But I'd recognise it at once if you let me touch it.)
WARS GIVE US LOTS OF HEAD INJURIES TO STUDY • This patient knows what the comb is for but has lost the grammar needed to put together a full sentence. • This symptom is known as "agrammatism" - a loss of grammar. Hair ... morning.
WARS GIVE US LOTS OF HEAD INJURIES TO STUDY • So basically, if you shoot enough soldiers, sooner or later you'll have case data on the entire brain .....
WARS GIVE US LOTS OF HEAD INJURIES TO STUDY • This "map" of brain function was compiled from the records of 1600 WW1 head injury cases seen by the German military surgeon Karl Kleist in 1934 .....
SO BY 1945 WE HAD A PRETTY GOOD IDEA WHAT "KNOWLEDGE" WAS AND WHERE IT WAS STORED …..
.... AND OUR JOB THIS EVENING IS TO SORT THE LANGUAGE SKILLS FROM THE NON-LANGUAGE SKILLS.ANYBODY GOT ANY SUGGESTIONS? Well I'm obviously a Language Skill! And me too, I suppose! And me! And me! And me! And me! And me!
NOW HERE'S SOMETHING INTERESTING.WHO CAN REMEMBER THE LONG WORD WE SAW A FEW MINUTES AGO? IT WAS ARQUEBUSIER SO HOW IS IT THAT WE CAN LEARN WORDS BEFORE WE KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN?
The meaning of things is stored up here ..... Whereas their names are stored down here ..... THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WORDS AND UNDERSTANDING IS NOT AT ALL STRAIGHTFORWARD ..... • ..... BECAUSE THE UNDERSTANDING IS STORED SEPARATELY FROM THE WORDS AND THE GRAMMAR. Consider this typical dictionary entry ..... • Now watch closely ..... Cat: A four-legged furry mammal, often domesticated. Cat: A four-legged furry mammal, often domesticated. Cat:
I can already read, hear, and say arquebusier, but if you show me one I'll understand it as well.
THE MOST IMPORTANT LANGUAGE SKILL, IN OTHER WORDS, IS HAVING SOMETHING SENSIBLE TO SAY IN THE FIRST PLACE So I must be a Language Skill as well!
BUT WE'RE ALREADY CONFUSED, SO LET'S TAKE A MORE LEISURELY LOOKAT THE PARTS OF THE LANGUAGE JIGSAW WITHOUT USING SO MUCH COMPLICATED VOCABULARY .....
This is where the information arriving from the touch sensors on our skin ends up .....
IT'S ALL VERY LOGICAL REALLY - WHAT WE KNOW BY TOUCHING, HEARING, AND SEEING ALL CONTRIBUTES TOWARDS OUR GENERAL KNOWLEDGE
And this is where your speech apparatus (lips, tongue, breathing, etc.) is controlled from .....
French GRAMMAR German GRAMMAR Latin GRAMMAR English and Welsh GRAMMAR This is what we know about speaking grammatically ..... NOTE THAT YOU NEED ONE OF THESE "MENTAL TEXTBOOKS" FOR EVERY LANGUAGE YOU KNOW HOW TO SPEAK
French VOCAB German VOCAB Latin VOCAB English and Welsh VOCAB ..... and these are the words we know how to use ..... AGAIN YOU NEED ONE OF THESE "MENTAL VOCABULARIES" FOR EVERY LANGUAGE YOU KNOW HOW TO SPEAK English / Welsh GRAMMARS
This gives us an important concentration of language OUTPUT skills. Notice how the grammar, the vocabulary, and the necessary muscle control all sit closely together. English / Welsh ORAL VOCABS English / Welsh ORAL GRAMMARS IN MULTILINGUAL SPEAKERS, THERE ARE ONLY MINOR DIFFERENCES IN WHERE THE VARIOUS OUTPUT SKILLS ARE LOCATED.
English / Welsh AURAL VOCABS English / Welsh AURAL GRAMMARS Finally, we need to add in the mental textbooks for the languages we understand when we hear them spoken. These are our language INPUT skills ..... English / Welsh ORAL VOCABS English / Welsh ORAL GRAMMARS IN MULTILINGUAL SPEAKERS, THERE ARE AGAIN ONLY MINOR DIFFERENCES IN WHERE THE VARIOUS INPUT SKILLS ARE LOCATED.
SO THIS IS WHAT WE END UP WITH .....[A PERSONAL COPY WILL BE HANDED OUT AT THIS POINT]
English / Welsh AURAL VOCABS English / Welsh AURAL GRAMMARS English / Welsh VOCABS English / Welsh GRAMMARS
LET'S USE OUR DIAGRAMS TO SEE HOW ALL THESE LANGUAGE SKILLS ARE INVOLVED IN EVERYDAY COMMUNICATION .....