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Ψ Thought, Creativity & Language
- Language -

    Language - the cognitive processes involved in producing and understanding linguistic communication.

    A word is the spoken sign of a conception or an idea; an articulate or vocal sound, or a combination of articulate and vocal sounds, uttered by the human voice, and by custom expressing an idea or ideas; a single component part of human speech or language; a constituent part of a sentence; a term.

    Grammar - The art of speaking or writing with correctness or according to established usage.

Four rules of language:

   Phonology - the study of the sound system of a given language and the analysis and classification of its phonemes. A phoneme is one of a small set of speech sounds that are distinguished by the speakers of a particular language. They are the basic sounds of consonants & vowels.
   Morphology- the study of the structure and form of words in language including inflection, derivation, and the formation of compound. A morpheme is a meaningful linguistic unit consisting of a word, such as man, or a word element, such as -ed in walked, that cannot be divided into smaller meaningful parts.
   Syntax (grammar) - the study of the rules whereby words or other elements of sentence structure are combined to form grammatical sentences.
   Semantics - specifies the meaning of words or phrases when they appear in various sentences or contexts.

     Noam Chomsky believes that "When we ‘learn’ a language, we are able to formulate & understand all sorts of sentences that we have never heard before. What we ‘know’, therefore, must be something deeper — a grammar — that makes and infinite variety of sentences possible. The capacity to master grammatical structures is innate; it is genetically determined, a product of the evolutionary process, just as the organic structures of our bodies are".

Chomsky's Concepts:

Mental grammar: allows us to combine nouns, verbs, & objects in an endless variety of meaningful sentences

Innate brain program: makes learning the general rules of grammar relatively easy

Acquiring Language

Four Stages in acquiring language:
  1. Babbling - one syllable sounds (begins at about 6 months of age)
  2. Single words and parentese/motherese (begins at about 1 year of age)
  3. Two-word combinations (begins at about 2 years of age)
  4. Sentences (begins at about 3 to 4 years of age)

Common problems with language: telegraphic speech ( prepositions like in and out are omitted) & overgeneralization (too strict adherence to the rules of grammar).

Innate Language factors: genetically programmed physiological & neurological features that facilitate our making speech sounds & acquiring language skills.
•   Innate physiological factors: special adapted vocal apparatus (larynx and pharynx) that allows us to make sounds and form words
•   Innate neurological features: left hemisphere of the brain is prewired to acquire and use language, whether spoken or signed
•   Innate developmental factors: there is a critical language period from infancy to adolescence when language is easiest to learn. Language is more difficult to learn anytime after adolescence

Reason, Thought, & Language

Two kinds of reasoning:
    Deductive reasoning - Deductive reasoning works from the more general to the more specific.
    Inductive reasoning - moves from specific observations to broader generalizations and theories.

    The theory of linguistic relativity states that the differences among languages result in similar difference in how people think & perceive the world. There is little support for this theory.

    Reasoning ( synonym: thinking, as in problem solution ) may fail because of our personal bias, experience, or language use.

Language involves;
  •   learning abstract symbols.
     •   express thoughts using those symbols.
        •   learning complex rules of grammar.
           •   generating an endless number of meaningful sentences.

General Psychology
Robert C. Gates