INTR TO LANGUAGE
INTR TO LANGUAGE COMD 2050
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This 11 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hazle Von on Tuesday October 13, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to COMD 2050 at Louisiana State University taught by H. Buckingham in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 25 views. For similar materials see /class/222919/comd-2050-louisiana-state-university in Communication Disorders & Sciences at Louisiana State University.
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Yule 2 Animals and Human Language 0 Communication 0 Communicative Signals Speaker intends to communicate something to hearer o Informative Signals Speaker does NOT intend to provide any information to the bearer but unwittingly does so accent state of mind nervousness education social class geographical origin vocal nodules amp cetera 0 Properties of Human Language 0 Re exivity Humans can re ect upon their language WITH their language They can consider the kinds of sentences they use and those that others use We can analyze our language study its structures and compare alternative structures It is highly unlikely nonhuman animals have this sort of cognitive ability of inner re ection 0 Displacement allows language users to talk about things and events not present in the immediate environment It is going beyond the quothere and now considering the past the future the conditional Nonhuman animal requests are for the quothere and now A cat s quotmeowquot is a request for example for dinner cat does not quotmeowquot in the morning to be fed in the evening 0 Arbitrariness Word Object relation is arbitrary random No natural connection between the sounds that produce horse and that object 0 Productivity essentially means that the potential number of utterances in any human language is infinite The communication system for other animals isn t like that Nor does it seem possible for creatures to produce new signals to communicate experiences or other events For animals this is known as quotFixed Reference limiting feature of animal communication Von Frisch s example ofbee nectar beinglocated in a novel dimension on top ofa radio tower Ten bees taken to top and savored the nectar They went off did their dance for that horizontal distance Bees arrived there but ew all around in confusion Could not find the nectar 0 Cultural transmission This is the process in which a language is passed on from one generation to the next It is clear that humans are born with some kind ofpredisposition to acquire languages in a general sense However we are not born with the ability to produce utterances in a specific language such as English We acquire our first language as children in a culture The inner genetically coded language system is the same for all human beings since we have the same nervous systems as human beings Without this inner coded genetically endowed and structured throughout evolution of humans no animal will be able to acquire a human language o Duality Human language is organized at two levels simultaneously At one level we have distinct sounds and another level we have distinct meanings This duality of levels is in fact one of the most economical features of human language because with a limited set of discrete sounds we are capable ofproducing a very large number of sound combinations which are distinct in meaning Duality demonstrates the combinatorial variations of the sounds to form different words The same with words and clauses The words quotIohn room Ioe rent to or fromquot can give rise by recombination s to the sentences quotIoe rented the room from Johnquot quotJohn rented the room to Joequot quotIohn rented the room from Joequot quotThe room was rented by John to Joequot and others Yule claims p 15 that non human animals have communicative signals that appear to be single fixed forms that can t be broken down 39nonanalytical into separate parts for later rearrangement or recombination by being quotmovedquot to different slots in some sentence Talking to Animals There is a lot of spoken language directed by humans to animals apparently under the impression that the animal will understand what is being said it is not likely The standard explanation is that the animal produces a particular behavior in response to a particular soundstimulus or noise but does not actually quotunderstandquot what the words in the noise mean A horse born into a field of cows will undergo no quotcultural transmissionquot and will therefore not acquire a quotmooquot Cats can live with dogs but neither will become bilingual Chimpanzees and Language Gua lived with the Kellogg family Luella Winthrop and their baby son 1930 s Gua could quotunderstandquot about 100 words but said absolutely nothing Another scientific couple Catherine and Keith Hayes in their home during the 1940 s reared Vicki For 5 long years the Hayes family tried to actually SHAPE Vicki s mouth as she produced sounds The study was a bomb only produced a few grunted versions of quotmamaquot quotpapaquot and quotcupquot Animals all do NOT develop the human physical peripheral articulatory structures teeth lip s mouth larynx and pharynx In any event all the Hayes family tried to alter was the mouth likely the lips I doubt they got to manipulate the vocal chords or the velum o Washoe Beatrix and Allen Gardner recognized that a chimp was a poor candidate for spoken language learning so they set out to teach a female chimp named Washoe the technique of sign language From the time she was a baby they only communicated through sign language around her within 3 12 years she was able to communicate with over 100 words and even form and combine small sentences requesting for things such as quotgimme ticklequot or quotmore fruitquot Sarah and Lana Sarah was a chimp that was being taught to use a set of plastic shapes for the purpose of communicating with her owners Ann and David Premack These plastic shapes represented quotwordsquot that could be arranged in sequence to build quotsentencesquot Sarah was systematically trained to associate these shapes with objects or actions For example 0 Sarah was capable of getting an apple when selecting the correct plastic shape a blue triangle from the large tray Notice that this symbol is arbitrary since it would be hard to argue for any natural connection between an apple and a blue plastic triangle Another chimp named Lana was taught by Duane Rumbaugh to learn Yerkish another artificial language that consisted ofa set of symbols on a large keyboard that was linked to a computer Both Sarah and Lana demonstrated an ability to use what look like word symbol and basic structures in ways that superficially resemble the use oflanguage o The controversy After studying with his chimp named Nim Herbert Terrace argued that they simply produce signs in response to the demands ofpeople and tend to repeat signs those people use The chimps behaviors are views as a type of conditioning response to cues provided by human trainers Herbert s conclusion was that chimps are clever creatures that learn to produce a certain type ofbehavior in order to get rewards and are essentially performing sophisticated quottricksquot The Gardner s responded saying that the two chimps were taught in different environments Nim in a cold laboratory setting and Washoe in a domestic environment 0 Kanzi While SueSavage Rumbaugh was attempting to teach her bonobo pygmy chimp named Matata to use the symbols onerkish her adopted baby Kanzi picked up on it Kanzi was not taught the language directly by being exposed to the teaching of his mother Matata he developed a large symbol vocabulary Like the human he did not acquire anything quotby being taught Human children are not TAUGHT their native languages It was claimed that this was like the ability ofa 212 year old human child Using Language There could be TWO senses in which we can say animals and humans can interact with those they know with their communication systems In one sense we look at a 2 year old human interacting with say a caregiver In the second sense we observe similar behavior in chimps and bonobos when interacting with researchers trainer whom they know Here we can say that both are quotusing language But underlying the human s cognitive system for language the 2 year old human will allow further extensive and complex development of sounds and sentence structures which we ll soon take a look at In addition the human is geared to acquire a set ofwhat we can call quotcomputational procedures once again making the computer analogy to produce extended discourse that contains a quotpotentially infinite number ofnovel utterances This is recursion and in no sense have we ever discovered recursive systems in the quotlanguage of animals So the human not the animal at the age of 2 years is genetically endowed with a species specific propensity to develop the recursive generative system of that language quotbeing used with interlocutors after two years of life Even Kanzi s quotlanguagequot after 8 years was qualitatively must less developed and complex There was still no evidence of recursion COMD Book Notes Yule 14 Yule 1 The Origins of Language The Divine Source 0 Psammetichus Egyptian pharaoh who tried an experiment with newborn babies After years of isolation except of goats and a mute shepherd babies supposedly uttered an Egyptian word for bread quotbekosquot o Pharaoh concluded that Phrygian must be original language 0 Unlikely considering the kos was added at the end through the Greek version of the story 0 King James IV of Scotland did a similar experiment and the children reportedly started speaking Hebrew 0 Children who grow up with no access to communication learn no language at all The natural sound source 0 Primitive words could have been imitations of natural sounds o Onomatopoeia The social interaction source 0 quotYehehoquot theory idea that the sounds of a person involved in physical effort could be the source of our language The physical adaptation source 0 Teeth human teeth are upright better adapted for grinding and chewing helpful with speech 0 Lips much more intricate muscle interlacing flexibility in making sounds like p or b o Mouth involves tongue which is useful in forming a variety of sounds o Larynx quotvoice box larynx dropped to a lower position differing from primates o Pharynx moving of larynx caused a longer cavity called the pharynx above the vocal cords increased range and clarity of sounds The tool ma king source 0 Brain laterized Yule 1 o A Divine Source 0 The Egyptian pharaoh quotPsammetichusquot 2500 years ago created an experiment that isolated babies to see what language they d pick up There were only surrounded by goats and a mute Sheppard The babies would articulate the word bekos which was a Phrygian word for quotbreadquot Phrygian was an old language of Turkey The kos part was added by Greeks describing this experiment so it is believed that the babies were mimicking the sounds of the goats Be King James IV of Scotland did a similar experiment to children around 1500 What he discovered was that they learned to speak Hebrew with each other This confirmed to him that Hebrew was the language that was spoken in the Garden of Eden Unfortunately no other experiments have shown that any language is developed between children that were isolated in nature It is more likely that the baby will not learn or use any language at all The Christian bible would rule out any hope of reconstructing an quotoriginalquot language even if a divine source were postulated In the Bible it says that 39If human language especially that ofa divine source we have no way of reconstructing that original language especially given the events in a place called Babel quotbecause the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth39quot 0 Natural Sound Source 0 Another view of how languages began is the idea that language comes from natural sounds The basic idea is that primitive words could have been imitations of the natural sounds which early men and women heard around them Onomatopoeia words that somehow sound similar to the noises they describe I Cuckoo splash bang boom rattle buzz hiss screech bow wow meow cockadoodledoo rooster Early words could have also come from naturally occurring emotionally laden cries Ouch wow yuck ah These emotional cries are mostly produced with an intake of breath rather than the usual spoken language on the exhaled breath o The Social interaction source 0 This is the idea that sounds of a person involved in physical effort could be the source of our language It is known at the quotyoheho theory This means that early humans could have developed a language based on a set of groans grunts and hums as they do physical activity such as carrying a heavy object o This idea expanded to explain that early humans developed their language in a social context they were in groups They had to live in groups for protection as well as interaction They had to develop some form of communication in order to maintain these groups 0 Physical Adaptation Source 0 Humans possess some physical features that that allows them to produce speech compared to other creatures The first is the transition made to an upright posture With bipedal on two feet locomotion and a revised role for the front limbs 0 60000 years ago Neanderthal skulls were more quothumanquot like than gorilla skulls Reconstructed Neanderthal vocal tract quotsuggestsquot possibility of some consonant sound distinctions 0 35000 years ago reconstructions of fossilized skeletal structures began to resemble modern humans 0 Evolutionary development suggests that there is an appearance of partial adaptations that seem to be relevant for speech they seem to be streamlined versions of features found in other primates Suggestion is that these were suitable for speech in later human beings I Teeth Human teeth are upright not slanting outwards like those of apes and they are roughly even in height Such characteristics are not useful for ripping or tearing food more suitable for chewing They are helpful for sounds such as f or v Lips Human lips have much more intricate muscle interlacing that is found in other primates and their resulting exibility certainly helps in making sounds like p or b Mouth Human mouth is relatively small compared to other primates can be opened and closed rapidly and contains smaller thicker and more muscular tongue which can be used to shape a wide variety of sounds inside the oral cavity Unlike other primates humans can close off the airway through the nose to create more air pressure in the mouth The overall effect of these small differences take together is a face with more intricate muscle interlacing in the lips and mouth capable ofa wider range of shapes and more rapid and powerful delivery of sounds produced thru these different shapes Larynx quotVoice box when humans assumed the upright posture their head moved directly above the spinal cord causing the larynx to move into a lower position Pharynx because of the assumed position above the pharynx was created It is located above the vocal folds which acts as a resonator for increased range and clarity of the sounds produced via the larynx and vocal tract One drawback is that it now causes the problem for humans to choke on their food 0 Tool Making Source 0 Development believes that human hands formed manual gestures that are the precursors for language 2 Million years ago evidence shows that humans developed preferential righthandedness and was capable of making tools 0 The Human Brain is large relative to human body size Bigger brains in elephants and hippos are not interesting Big brains in smaller bodies are significant Not strictly size but brainbody proportions o The Human Brain is lateralized meaning it has special functions in both of the two hemispheres Those functions that control the motor movements involved in complex vocalization speaking and object manipulation making and using tools are very close to each other in the left hemisphere of the brain 0 All language including sign language requires the brain to organize and combine sounds or signs in a specific arrangement 0 Speech and Language eventually usurped coordination systems for limb movements which then served for movements of the articulators o Freed up limbs no longer used for walking eventually came to favor the right arm limb in gesturing holding tools etc 0 Genetic Source 0 When babies are born their brains are small and their larynx is much higher in their throat allowing them to breath and swallow at the same time As they grow their brain develops and gets bigger and their larynx descends as the child assumes the upright position 0 Young children are born with a special capacity to learn language The problem of explaining how children acquire any human language as a result of a quotspecies specific behavioral genetic propensity that carves out for some one human any of the thousands of human languages depending on that spoken where the child grows up quotCultural Transmission The trick is that this is a two stages or level phenomenon I Children born with no hearing capacity at all can acquire language nevertheless largely through the visual and tactile feel modalities They will acquire a quotsign language which has the elements necessary for all linguistic communicative needs Brain systems used for normal language are usurped to a large extent for sign language It is lateralized to the left hemisphere in signers from families with strong right handedness The blind can acquire language through the sense of touch largely with Braillelike systems The genetic drive to acquire a human language is powerful indeed 0 As a solution to the puzzle of the origins oflanguage this innateness hypothesis would seem to point to something in human genetics possibly crucial mutation as the source However as we consider this hypothesis we find our speculation about the origins of language moving away from fossil evidence or the physical source ofbasic human sounds toward analogies with how computers work being preprogrammed and concepts take from the study of genetics The genetic code for human language acquisition must be such that it is structured in the genetic makeup of all humans and can therefore be labeled as quotuniversalquot for all human beings But it is NOT any one language It guides children to manipulate the elements of the language spoken around them and not necessarily the language of their biological parents Example English which is acquired by a Chinese child brought to Bunkie LA right after birth in Beijing Parent s genetic makeup is perhaps seen in face characteristics eyes etc but there is NO specific gene makeup for Chinese OR English COMD Book Notes Yule 14 Yule 1 The Origins of Language The Divine Source 0 Psammetichus Egyptian pharaoh who tried an experiment with newborn babies After years of isolation except of goats and a mute shepherd babies supposedly uttered an Egyptian word for bread quotbekosquot o Pharaoh concluded that Phrygian must be original language 0 Unlikely considering the kos was added at the end through the Greek version of the story 0 King James IV of Scotland did a similar experiment and the children reportedly started speaking Hebrew 0 Children who grow up with no access to communication learn no language at all The natural sound source 0 Primitive words could have been imitations of natural sounds o Onomatopoeia The social interaction source 0 quotYehehoquot theory idea that the sounds of a person involved in physical effort could be the source of our language The physical adaptation source 0 Teeth human teeth are upright better adapted for grinding and chewing helpful with speech 0 Lips much more intricate muscle interlacing flexibility in making sounds like p or b o Mouth involves tongue which is useful in forming a variety of sounds o Larynx quotvoice box larynx dropped to a lower position differing from primates o Pharynx moving of larynx caused a longer cavity called the pharynx above the vocal cords increased range and clarity of sounds The tool ma king source 0 Brain laterized