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Language and Mind, Week 12

by: Carole Boulware

Language and Mind, Week 12 LING 275

Carole Boulware
GPA 3.3

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Language and Mind, Week 12
Language and Mind
Elsi Miia Kaiser, Rachel Walker
Class Notes
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Carole Boulware on Wednesday July 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to LING 275 at University of Southern California taught by Elsi Miia Kaiser, Rachel Walker in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 11 views. For similar materials see Language and Mind in Linguistics at University of Southern California.


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Date Created: 07/20/16
LING 275 Language and Mind, Spring 2016, Kaiser/Walker Signed languages [Overview of April 14, 2016] Wrapping up from last time:  See class handout for important diagram of brain areas  Broca’s area is close to the motor cortex, Wernicke’s area is close to the auditory cortex Type of aphasia (beyond Broca’s and Wernicke’s): - Alexia: Inability to comprehend written language - Agraphia: Inability to write - Conduction aphasia o Can understand speech o Cannot repeat what they heard, cannot produce meaningful speech o Due to a disconnection between Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas? - Pure word deafness o Cannot understand spoken language, but can read o Able to speak and write o Damage to auditory nerve, damage to parts of corpus callosum => auditory centers cannot transmit information to language areas Myths about sign language  Myth #1: Sign languages are pantomimes, ‘glorified gestures.’  Myth #2: American Sign Language is a translation of English into signs.  Myth #3: There is a universal sign language.  Myth #4: Sign languages can only convey simple, concrete meanings.  These are all false. Useful website for looking up ASL signs, examples: Myth #1: Sign languages are pantomimes  Video clip of man signing – how much can you understand?  Sings for shoes vs. boots, floor vs. ground? Related meanings but different signs  Some signs are iconic (e.g. ‘book’, pronouns) o But even signs that may seem iconic when you know the meaning are not necessarily easy to guess Myth #2: American Sign Language is a translation of English into signs.  No. Sign languages have their own grammatical systems that are different from English. o Direct translations of spoken languages do not make good signed languages o E.g. Manually Coded English (MCE)  Sequential, not simultaneous (like spoken English) (‘indivisible’ example)  Kids have trouble learning MCE, rarely use it voluntarily  …change it to make it more like a natural sign language What is fingerspelling?  Used by signers for naming people, places, books, movies etc  Distinct from ASL Myth #3: There is a universal sign language.  No – There are approximately 100 different sign languages in the world today  Foreign accents exist in sign languages too Myth #4: Sign languages can only convey simple, concrete meanings.  No – sign languages have the full expressive capacity that spoken languages have  Signs for abstract concepts, e.g trust, belief. Structure of Signs: Four important parameters  #1 Handshape  #2 Location  #3 Movement  #4 Orientation - Same location and movement, different handshape (e.g. father, rooster, think) - Same handshape and movement, different location (e.g. summer, ugly, dry) - Same handshape and location, different movement (e.g. coffee, work, year) - Orientation (e.g. look at, see)  Similarities to spoken language? Examples (images): [Please refer to reading for more examples] Similarities of signed and spoken languages:  ASL is a Natural Language o learned like spoken languages: same milestones / stages o same expressive power as spoken languages o same kind of grammatical systems


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