Chapter 10: Language in Context. Some Questions of Interest. How does language affect the way we think? How does our social context influence our use of language? How can we find out about language by studying the human brain?. Language Affects Cognition: Perception, Memory.
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Some Questions of Interest • How does language affect the way we think? • How does our social context influence our use of language? • How can we find out about language by studying the human brain?
Linguistic Universals • Color naming • All languages use a set of 11 color names in hierarchical order: • Black/white • Red • Yellow/green/blue • Brown • Purple/pink/orange/gray
Language Affects Memory • “Washing clothes” • Leading questions in eyewitness testimony
Linguistic Relativity • Sapir-Whorf hypothesis • Strong interpretation: Thoughts and behavior are determined by language • More evidence against than for • Milder interpretation:Thoughts and behavior are influenced by language
Linguistic Relativity Studies • Bilinguals maintain that they “think” differently in different languages (Wierzbicka, 1985) • Differences in lexicons support lexical relativity when language differences lead to differing mental structures • But “Eskimos” don’t really have words for snow”
Grammatical Gender • Memory • Taught Spanish and German speakers object-name pairs (e.g., apple-Patrick) • remembered object-name pairs better when the gender of the proper name given to an object was consistent with the grammatical gender of the object • Perception • Masculine in German, feminine in Spanish • German: hard, heavy, jagged, metal, serrated • Spanish: golden, intricate, little, lovely, shiny
Bilingual Studies • Additive bilinguals • Learn a second language without loss to the native language • Subtractive bilinguals • Learn a second language that interferes with the native language • Simultaneous bilingual • Learn two languages from birth • Sequential bilinguals • First learn one language and then another
Factors Influencing Bilingualism Fluency • The earlier in life a second language is learned, the more fluent the speaker will become • Bahrick & colleagues disagree • Vocabulary and fluency is acquired just as well in older participants but not fluency
Bilingual Studies • Research showing advantages • enhanced executive functions • delayed onset of dementia • acquire more expertise in their own language • sensitive to subtle aspects of language • perform better on tests of nonverbal intelligence that require recognition of verbal patterns
Bilingual Studies • Research showing disadvantages • have smaller vocabularies • access to lexical items in memory is slower
Pidgins and Creoles Pidgins • Communication between two language groups • between immigrants and locals or missionaries and natives in order to be understood by each other without having to learn the language of the other group Creoles • are complete languages • Does have native speakers • Has developed through expansion form and grammar • Is stable and autonomous in its norms
Dialects A regional variety of a language distinguished by features such as vocabulary, syntax, and pronunciation
Spalking in Toonerisms • Chipping the flannel • Box in the Jack • Your model is renosed • shaking my tower • Mardon me, Padam • the cricking of the chirpets • my stickers were fingy • heat seaters
Slips of the Tongue Errors can occur at any stage of speech production • Phoneme exchange • At the lead of spite • Go and shake a tower • Word-level error • I have to fill up my gas with car • Once I stop I cannot start • Your model is renosed
Figurative Uses of Language • Metaphor • Two nouns placed together to note similarities • Argument is war • Theories are buildings • Ideas are food • Similes introduce the words like or as into a comparison between items
Figurative Uses of Language • Metaphor • Argument is war • Theories are buildings • Ideas are food • Four key elements • Tenor • Vehicle • Ground • Tension
Mixed metaphors • A bird in hand is better than two burning in the bush • Up the creek without a canoe • We’ll burn that bridge before we get to it. • Strike while the iron is in the fire.
Pragmatics • Knowing what to say, how to say it, and when to say it or how to be around other people (Bowen, 2001) • Study of discourse and conversational skills • Situational determinants of the use of language
Pragmatic Skills • Establish common ground • Introduce a topic in order for the listener to fully understand • Maintaining a topic • Or change topic appropriately • Or interrupt politely • Appropriate eye contact • Not too much staring • Not too much looking away
Speech Acts • Five basic categories • Representative conveys info • I like polar bears. • Directive is order or request that causes behavior • Turn on the air conditioner. • Commissive is a promise/agreement to do something • I will make the cookies. • Expressive conveys information about inner state • I enjoy spending time with you. • Declaration is a statement that brings about new situation • I am now a vegetarian.
Social context affects speech act choices Bob is a junior executive for a fairly large corporation. He is on friendly terms with John, the company president, and they occasionally have lunch together. A few days earlier, they had both attended a company board meeting during which John had made a presentation. The presentation had not gone well and was obviously not well thought out. A few days later, Bob and John are alone and having lunch together when John says to Bob, “What did you think of the presentation that I gave to the board the other morning?”
Research on Speech Acts Which of the following responses would you give? • Direct and true: I really didn’t think your presentation was very good. • Direct and false: I really thought your presentation was very good. • Indirect evasive question: Don’t you think we should have our board meeting on some other day than Monday? • Evasive assertion: I think we should have our board meeting on some day other than Monday. • Indirect irrelevant question: Wasn’t that latest stock market rally sure a surprise? • Irrelevant assertion: The latest stock market rally was sure a surprise.
Indirect Speech Direct speech • Open the window. Indirect speech • Could you open the window? • It sure is hot in here.
Pinker’s Theory of Indirect Speech • Indirect speech can serve three purposes • Plausible deniability • Relationship negotiation • Language as a digital medium of indirect as well as direct communication
Gender Differences in Language • Girls tend to talk about one topic • Girls talk face to face • Women tend to overlap and finish each others’ sentences • Boys tease, tell jokes, notice things around the room, talk about finding games to play • Boys talk at angles, eyes straight ahead • Men perceive this as an interruption, intrusion, or lack of attention
Grey Parrots • Labels for more than 35 objects (e.g., paper, key, wood, cork, etc.) • Functional use of No • Phrases such as I want X, Wanna go Y, where X and Y are appropriate words • Labels for 7 colors • Can identify number of items up to 6 • Alex can use vocabulary to identify proficiently, request, refuse, categorize, and quantify more than 100 different objects
Washoe • Washoe was able to use term more appropriately in different contexts • First use was more tickling • Transferred the sign dog to the sound of barking by an unseen dog • Washoe adopted an infant named Loulis • No humans signed in front of infant chimp • Loulis still managed to learn over 50 signs from other chimpanzees • No active teaching, rather Loulis just learned through observation among other signing chimps
Nim Chimpsky • Believed that apes only used signs to get rewards from trainers • Raised Nim in a human-like setting • Nim learned many words like dirty, sleep, bite, and angry • Nim did not learn to combine words to create new meaning on his own • After the experiments he continued to sign; his most-used signs seemed to be drink, gum, banana, and more
Koko • Patterson raising gorilla named Koko since 1972 • Has a greater vocabulary than Nim • Uses more words per utterances • Koko uses structure, is creative and spontaneous in her language • Koko has a vocabulary of over 1,000 signs, and understands even more spoken English • Koko invented her own new compound signs (e.g., finger-bracelet for ring)
Neuropsychology of Language • Brain and semantics • ventral temporal lobes, including middle and inferior temporal, anterior fusiform, and anterior parahippocampal gyri • the angular gyrus • the anterior aspect (pars orbitalis) of the inferior frontal gyrus • the dorsal prefrontal cortex • the posterior cingulate gyrus
Neuropsychology of Language • Brain and syntax • ERP called P600 occurs after hearing a sentence with syntactic violations • ERP called N400 occurs after hearing a sentence related to semantic violations
Neuropsychology of Language • Brain and sign language • The locations of lesions that would be expected to disrupt speech also disrupt signing • All right-handers with signing deficits show left-hemisphere lesions, as do most left-handers • Some left-handers with signing deficits show right-hemisphere lesions
Neuropsychology of Language • Aphasia • Impaired language function due to brain damage • Wernicke’s • Broca’s • Global • Anomic
Neuropsychology of Language: Autism • Abnormal social, language, and cognition behaviors • Sex differences in brains • “Extreme male brain” • Executive dysfunction theory • Problem with frontal lobes