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LING 1010 Notes Lectures 19 & 20

by: Sarah Skinger

LING 1010 Notes Lectures 19 & 20 LING 1010

Sarah Skinger
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These notes cover what was discussed during lecture 19: Argument from neurology: A Language Module? and Lecture 20: Can We do What They Do?
Introduction to Languages and Linguistics
Hendrikus Van Der Hulst
Class Notes
LING 1010, Lecture 19, Lecture 20
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sarah Skinger on Wednesday April 13, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to LING 1010 at University of Connecticut taught by Hendrikus Van Der Hulst in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 39 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Languages and Linguistics in Linguistics and Speech Pathology at University of Connecticut.


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Date Created: 04/13/16
Lecture 19: Arguments from Neurology: A Language Module? View the diagram on page 212 to see where the lobes of the brain are located Brain Functions  Frontal Lobe­ In charge of organization and planning, reasoning, personality,  emotions, and decision making. o Premotor Area­ Stores motor patterns. Ex: remembers the sequence of  muscles that need to contract in order for you to write the word “tree”.  o Motor Area­ Causes the muscles in your body to move o Broca’s Area­ In back of frontal lobe. Is involved in speech production.  Parietal Lobe­ In charge of body movements, sensory integration (processing  sights, smells, pain etc).   Occipital Lobe­ Processes visual information  Temporal Lobe­ In charge of being able to perceive auditory stimuli (Ex: being  able to understand that that noise you hear is someone calling your name) o Wernicke’s Area­ Helps with being able to perceive what people are  saying.  Two Hemisphere Concept  Your brain is split into two hemispheres, left and right, which are very similar to  each other. (Both hemispheres have all of the lobes, but only the left hemisphere  contains Wernicke’s area, etc).  Your RIGHT hemisphere receives and sends information to and from the LEFT  side of the body.  o Ex: Your left eye sends its information to the right side of the brain. The  motor area on the right side of the brain controls the muscles on the left  side of the body. Etc  Your LEFT hemisphere sends and receives information to and from the RIGHT  side of your body o Ex: The sounds perceived by your right ear travel to your left temporal  lobe. Etc  If information needs to get from one hemisphere to the other, it travels through a  network of tightly packed neurons called the Corpus Callosum. Think of it as an  information highway. Dichotic Listening  Wernicke’s Area is located in the left hemisphere of the brain  You have one sound (“signal”) playing in each ear, separately. In your right ear  you hear “ta” and in your left ear you hear “ka”  Remember: A sound heard by your right ear will travel to the left side of your  brain (where Wernicke’s area is located). And a sound heard by your left ear  travels to the right side of your brain. In order to get to Wernicke’s area, it will  need to go through the corpus callosum first.  You can understand why it would take more time for a sound heard by your left  ear would take a little bit more time to process­ because it takes longer to get to  the processing center. For this reason, people will say that they heard the sound  “ta” because it was received and processed first, even though both sounds were  played at the same time.  Aphasia  Aphasia is a disorder that results in a language problem. This is most commonly  due to the brain being damaged, such as if a person has a stroke. Blood flow to  an area of the brain could be restricted, and the brain cells will die as they are  deprived of oxygen.  Broca’s Aphasia: Problem with Broca’s area o Patients have difficulty articulating, and commonly have slow or  telegraphic speech  Wernicke’s Aphasia: Problem with Wernicke’s area o Patents have trouble processing syntax­ For instance, if given the  sentence “The bird that the cat is watching is hungry”, they would get  confused and think that the cat is hungry, because it was mentioned  before the word hungry. o Impaired auditory comprehension Split Brain Patient  Patients who have had their corpus callosum severed are able to function almost  normally. However, their two hemispheres are unable to communicate.   This poses problems with certain things. For example, o A person can see a word or picture with their right eye and say what it is. o A person can see a word or picture with their left eye and be unable to  articulate what they saw. However, they will be able to draw the image  with their left hand.  This tells us, among other things, that more goes on in our brain than we are  aware of.   And, we might do things without being aware of why­ such as the case of a  patient drawing an image of a word seen with their left eye, while at the same  time not knowing what it is they saw, until they see the picture they drew. Lecture 20: Can We Do What They Do? Ethology  It is the science of studying the behavior of animals  Jane Goodall is an ethologist famous for her work with Chimpanzees. She says  that they communicate by vocalizations and gestures, and bond through  grooming.  She also believes that our ability to develop a spoken language is one of the  primary reasons why we were able to develop into such an advanced species How Animals Communicate  Intraspecies Communication­ Communication that occurs between members of  the same species.  Interspecies Communication­ Communication that occurs between members of  different species o Ex: Dogs are able to understand some of aspects of the language humans use. For instance, if we point to an object they will look at it. However, not  all animals will understand that this is a meaningful gesture, and will not  look.  The way that a species communicates depends on the sensory capacities of a  species. Different species can communicate through: o Visual­ Gestures, Facial expressions o Tactile­ Touching others to show affection o Hearing­ Spoken Language o Smell­ Babies, and Adults wear perfume, insects use pheromones o Taste o Surface Waves ­ Used by insects o Electricity o Magnetic Fields  It’s important to remember that communication occurs when a form (something  that is perceptible, such as a sound or gesture) is made with the intention of  influencing the behavior of another person. Why Do Animals Communicate?  To bond­ as chimpanzees groom each other as a way of bonding, we bond  through conversation  To compete for things like territory, food, a mate, social rank, etc  To give a warning or sound an alarm, to show distress  Sometimes to encourage others to play or roughhouse with them, which can be a form of bonding Some Animal Communication Systems  Birds­ their songs have meaning when sung, but parts of the song do not have  meaning when they are on their own. The song seems to be used to attract a  mate  Vervet Monkeys, Chickens, and Meerkats­ Have different call signs for different  predators. If they hear the call sign for a predator, they will respond to that call as though the predator is nearby. o A call system is a limited array of noises that the animals can make. Each  call represents a different predator­ For instance if a chicken makes the  call that means there is an aerial predator nearby, other chickens will duck in response.  o This is a language without grammar or syntax. They can’t create a  complex message  Bees­ Have a more complex language system. They use dances to demonstrate  where food is located. The angle of the circle during the dance, the intensity of  the wiggle, and the length of the line made during the dance give other bees  information about the direction the food is in (the angle they should fly in relation  to the sun), how far away it is, and the quality and quantity of the food Human Language­ Differences from Other Species  Is displaced­ We are not bound to talking just about the here and ow as other  species are, but have the ability to talk about the past, the future, and the  theoretical o This allows us to more easily pass on information we learned about in the  past, as well as plan for the future  We have a larger collection of meaningful units (larger lexicon)  We have phonology­ We can combine units to create greater meaning o But it can be argued that bird songs have internal structure, even though  the song has to be taken as a whole in order to have a meaning, the song  still needs to be sung in the same order  We have syntax and recursion­ Can create complex ideas and sentences o Although the bee dance does incorporate multiple parts to create meaning (intensity, length, angle, etc) Important Point  The communication systems for other species are Innate and specific to that  species  Our language does have a small innate component, but overall is not innate.


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