Language A shared symbolic system for communication (a structured, shared symbolic system for communication) Levels of Language Phonology (morphology) (lexical) Syntax Semantics
Chomsky described language production as starting with idea or meaning,
talk (umpires, players)
then person picks a sentence frame, then words, then sounds
the idea or meaning represents the DEEP STRUCTURE OF A SENTENCE the surface structure is how it is actually said
When two sentences have different word orders, but same meaning: they have the same DEEP structure but a different SURFACE structure
john ate the apples
the apples were eaten by john
You can also have sentences with different meanings, but the same word order Iraqi head seeks arms Prostitutes appeal to pope Hospitals are sued by 7 foot doctors Arson suspect held in fire They are cooking apples Visiting relatives can be a pain
when a sentence has more than one possible deep structure it is said to be ambiguous They have one surface structure, but two deep structures. Chomsky was the first to point out these two levels of structure He proposed there are a set of rules that tell us how we can TRANSFORM the deep structure into different surface structures he called this TRANSFORMATIONAL GRAMMAR This allows for people to produce an unlimited number of novel LEGAL utterances.
Language Comprehension reverses the sequence of units.
How do we understand sentences? 1. One phrase at a time memory experiments
Evidence: best memory for most recent constituent, clause priming for words within same clause geese crossed the horizon as the wind shuffled the clouds geese-horizon 709ms geese-clouds 752ms geese-clutch 900ms eyetracking experiments: people have wrap-up effects at end of clauses
2. Modularity Theory says we go in a strictly BOTTOM UP fashion. phonology --> lexical --> syntax --> semantic After lexical and syntactic processing Overall meaning of sentence is computed What evidence is there that we try to compute syntax before semantics?
GARDEN PATH SENTENCES
After he played the piano was taken off the stage.
Fat people eats accumulates.
The old man the ships.
While knitting the scarf fell off her lap. The boy hit the girl with a smile. The boy saw the girl with a smile. Syntactic processing occurs immediately, with the help of a lexicon. BUT sometimes people skip a few steps and use TOO MUCH conceptually-driven processing: How many animals of each kind did Moses take on the ark? people often overlook the errors in these sentences!