What is Language Acquisition? • The process of attaining a specific variant of human language. • The process of learning a native or a second language. What is Cognitive Science? • The multi-disciplinary approach to the study of the mind, including – – – – – – – Adult and developmental psychology Philosophy Linguistics Anthropology Neuropsychology Artificial intelligence Psycholinguisics What is Language? • a system of symbols and rules that enable us to communicate • a symbolic code used in communication • the systematic, meaningful arrangement of symbols Language Acquisition, Representation, & Processing • Language acquisition – How is language acquired or learned? • Language representation – How are the symbols of language represented in memory? • Language processing – What factors influence the processing of language? How are Language Acquisition, Representation, & Processing Related? How are Language Acquisition, Representation, & Processing Related? Language is acquired How are Language Acquisition, Representation, & Processing Related? Language is acquired Acquisition leads to a set of representations How are Language Acquisition, Representation, & Processing Related? Language is acquired Acquisition leads to a set of representations Language use is the processing of these representations Language Acquisition Major Issues First language acquisition • How does our general intelligence interact with our biological predispositions? • How do we learn our native language? What are the stages this process follows? • How do failures in this process occur? Language Acquisition Language Development • Phonological development • Semantic development • Syntactic development and syntactic categories Language Acquisition Second language acquisition • Factors that affect our chances of learning L2: – – – – Individual differences Age of acquisition effects Environment of learning Style of instruction--conejo is “rabbit” or • Stages of second language acquisition Language Processing Language Comprehension • Lexical ambiguity resolution – “spade” • Syntactic ambiguity resolution – “fly” • Imageability and other word-specific factors – “table” versus “freedom” • Context effects--autonomous or interactive? Spoken Word Recognition Models • Initial contact, selection of a lexical entry, word recognition/lexical access, integration • Cohort model (Marslen-Wilson, 1973, 1975) Access stage--> cohort of items Selection stage--> one item chosen Integration stage--> syntax, semantics Spoken word recognition: An example • /d/ dog, dirt, dry, dries, drive, drip, dumb, desk • /dr/ dry, dries, drive, drip • /dry/ dry, dries, drive, driving, driver • /drive/ drive, driving, driver • /drivi-/ DRIVING!!! Visual Word Recognition Methods/Findings • Semantic priming Nurse Doctor --respond “yes” Butter Doctor --respond “yes”, but more slowly Visual Word Recognition Methods/Findings • Word frequency effects – “year” versus “permutation” – “rain” versus “puddle” related effects: familiarity Visual Word Recognition Models • Logogen Model – Logogens for each word – Accumulate evidence passively until threshold – Perceptual & contextual evidence raise activation – Lower thresholds for more frequent words Visual Word Recognition Models • Interactive-Activation Model – Accounts for the “word superiority effect” – Visual features, letters, words – Facilitatory and inhibitory connections • “T” excites “take” but inhibits “cake” – Lateral inhibition – Parallel activation of all links Language Processing Language Production • Lexicalization--stages of processing – Lemma selection – Word form (lexeme) retrieval • Phonological specification • Speech errors – Syntactic planning--how far ahead? • Aphasias Models of Language Production • Dual-route model (revised) – Non-lexical route (G-P) – Non-semantic route (O-P) – Lexical-semantic route (G-L-S-P) • Connectionist model – Similar to IA model of word recognition – Learns by associating phonology and orthography – Patterns of activation Individual Differences • Do individual differences determine the activation of multiple meanings of ambiguous words (especially the irrelevant ones)? • What is the influence of verbal ability and working memory on syntactic processing? Language Representation • What is a concept? • Is there any such thing? Things I Haven’t Covered • • • • • • • Language and thought Structure of the language system Speech perception Language disorders Discourse processing Reading Orthographic (e.g., neighborhood) effects Bilingualism Defined • Bilingualism is the ability to master the use of two languages, and multilingualism is the ability to master the use of more than two languages. Although bilingualism is relatively rare among native speakers of English, in many parts of the world it is the standard rather than the exception. For example, more than half the population of Papua New Guinea is functionally competent in both an indigenous language and Tok Pisin. People in many parts of the country have mastered two or more indigenous languages. Bilingualism and multilingualism often involve different degrees of competence in the languages involved. A person may control one language better than another, or a person might have mastered the different languages better for different purposes, using one language for speaking, for example, and another for writing. Consequences of Bilingualism • Interrelation among the two languages—RHM – Language dominance issue • Selectivity of activation in the two languages—BIA model • Relative activation of the two languages—BIMOLA and IC models My Own Work • Bilingualism – Concept representation • Concept types, learning environments – Ambiguity resolution • Number of translations, number of meanings – Structure of the memory representations • To what extent are the two languages connected? My Own Work • Second Language Acquisition – Stages at which distinctions are learned – Is the L1 grammar always active? – How are the semantics differentiated? Interrelation among the two languages, especially at the conceptual level • Are concepts shared by the bilingual’s two languages? • Is there an easy answer??? Fully versus partially shared semantics Word Association Model (Potter et al., 1984) IMAGES L1 L2 CONCEPTS L1=First Language L2=Second Language Concept Mediation Model (Potter et al., 1984) IMAGES L1 L2 CONCEPTS L1=First Language L2=Second Language Revised Hierarchical Model (Kroll & Stewart, 1994) lexical links L2 L1 conceptual links conceptual links concepts L1=First Language L2=Second Language Distributed Feature Model (De Groot, 1992) L1 Concrete Words L2 lexical level conceptual level lexical L1 Abstract Words L2 level conceptual level L1 = First Language L2 = Second Language Distributed Representation Model (Van Hell, 1998) lexical conceptual wraak .... .... .... .... revenge .... .... .... .... boosheid .... .... .... .... anger .... .... .... .... lexical conceptual rok .... .... .... .... skirt .... .... .... .... jurk .... .... .... .... dress .... .... .... .... lexical conceptual appel .... .... .... .... apple .... .... .... .... peer .... .... .... .... pear .... .... .... .... Number of Translations Dutch word One Translation voordeel Synonym translation 1 herfst Synonym translation 2 Meaning translation 1 English word advantage autumn fall message boodschap Meaning translation 2 errand Relative activation of the two languages and selectivity of activation • Can one language ever be fully turned off? • Is L1 grammar always active? • Can L2 become the more dominant language? • What factors influence the relative activation of the two languages (individual and contextual)?