PSY 369: Psycholinguistics Foundations of Language: Language and animals Language and the brain Language and thought Announcements Exam 1: Tuesday, Feb. 7th (1 week from today) Coverage Chapters 1, 2, & 3 Format Multiple choice Definition matching Short answer Evolution of Language Where did it come from? Difficult question to answer, no fossil record of language Some evidence that we do have Fossil evidence suggests that Broca’s area in brain has been around a long time (between 2 million and 300,000 years) Articulatory apparatus hasn’t changed much in last 60,000 years Systems of animal communication show some features of human language system Probably evolved out of other systems of communication For more see: Pinker (1994) The Language Instinct Bickerton (2009) Adam’s Tongue What is communication? Any means by which two (or more) individuals exchange information Paralinguistic techniques – non-verbal communication Non-linguistic communication - that do involve vocalization Hand signals, facial expressions, body language, nods, smiles, winks, etc. Also includes things like tone of voice, tempo, volume, etc. Grunts, groans, snorts, sighs, whimpers, etc. Not all produced sounds are intended to convey messages, so they aren’t communication e.g., snoring What about laughing? Clearing one’s throat? Some examples Animals use a variety of methods to communicate Dogs bark Birds sing Bees dance People talk - we use language (as well as other methods) for communication Features of Language (Hockett, 1960) Arbitrariness Displacement Productivity Discreteness Semanticity Duality of patterning Hockett (1960) is available for download in the ‘optional readings’ on Blackboard Arbitrariness No resemblance between the language signal and the thing that it represents “labrador” “dog” “chien” “my pet” “hund” “perro” “Charles Barkey” Features of Language Arbitrariness Displacement Productivity Discreteness Semanticity Duality of patterning Displacement We can communicate about things that are physically and temporally removed from us “Did you see what happened in Newts’ news conference last week? He got really emotional and started to cry.” Features of Language Arbitrariness Displacement Productivity Discreteness Semanticity Duality of patterning Productivity Our use of language is extremely creative. We have a limited amount of linguistic elements (e.g., sounds and words), but can combine those elements in novel ways. “I was tired of cleaning up after my dog in my backyard so I taught him to pole vault. Even though you’ve never heard this sentence before you can understand it effortlessly Features of Language Arbitrariness Displacement Productivity Discreteness Semanticity Duality of patterning Discretness Language signals are distinct I don’t change my pitch or volume to denote size of an object “dog” “dog” “dog” Features of Language Arbitrariness Displacement Productivity Discreteness Semanticity Duality of patterning Semanticity Language signals have meaning “dog” - Four legged animal - Common pet - Fur - Chases cats - Barks - Etc. Features of Language Arbitrariness Displacement Productivity Discreteness Semanticity Duality of patterning Duality of Patterning Language signals occur on two levels Symbols are meaningful, discrete, and arbitrary Smaller units that make up the meaningful units don’t have meaning Words and morphemes “dog” Phonomes /d/ /o/ /g/ Animals and language? Is language use a uniquely human ability? Parrots - can memorize chunks of human speech Polly wanna cracker But are they really producing utterances based on an underlying meaning? Irene Pepperberg’s work with Grey Parrots for interesting counterpoint (video & another) Animals and language? Is language use a uniquely human ability? Dogs - can learn to associate “food” or “walk” with particular behaviors I believe you mentioned something about food But is that the same thing as understanding the meaning of food and walk? In the news: Chaser, the dog who knows 1000 words Animals and language? Is language use a uniquely human ability? Birds use songs to serve territorial and courtship functions. Tweet chirp chirp warble warble chirp. Translation: this is my tree Can songs be used productively? Animals and language? Is language use a uniquely human ability? Birds use songs to serve territorial and courtship functions. Chirp chirp warble warble tweet chirp? Translation: Is this my tree? Can songs be used productively? Gentner et al (2006) Animals and language? Is language use a uniquely human ability? Honey bees dance to indicate where a source of nectar is. (von Frisch, 1954) • Angle of the dance indicates direction • Rate of looping indicates distance NOVA's bee dance page Another bee dance video pict Riley et al. (2005) Animals and language? Parrot Dog Bird song Arbitrariness Displacement ? ? ? ? ? Productivity Discreteness Semanticity Duality of patterning Alex Chaser Bee dance Human Language What about chimpanzees? David and Ann Premack taught chimpanzees language (others too, Gardners: Washoe, Terrace: Nim Chimpsky) Results of these attempts are controversial Can learn to associate signs with objects (words)? Nim Chimpsky Yes, but limited vocabularies Some evidence suggesting could distinguish words from proper names Can they learn syntax? Depends who you talk to, some novel combinations of signs Sarah Washoe Koko Localization of function Josef Gall’s phrenology Mental functions (e.g., intellect, morals, etc.) are supported by specific regions of the brain You can feel the skull to assess people’s mental abilities Localization of function Modern Neuropsychology Psychological functions are localized in particular regions of the brain Localization of function Modern Neuropsychology Psychological functions are localized in particular regions of the brain Today’s focus 4 critical questions (Pulvermüller, 2010) Where: which brain parts, areas, and eventually neurons are active during, and are critical for, process P and representations(s) R that P relies on? When: at which point in time in the usage or understanding of language does process P occur; when is representation R activated and processed? How: which neuronal circuit, which nerve cells linked in which way, is the brain basis for representation R; which spatiotemporal pattern of neuronal activation in this circuit does underpin the process P? Why: for what reason are R and P located in these specific brain parts and activated at these specific points in time, and why is R laid down in this specific neuronal circuit, P being expressed by these specific activation patterns? Location of ‘Language Organ’ Evidence for the localization of language facilities comes from: • Patients with language disorders • “Split Brain patients” Direct Electrical Stimulation Modern Imaging Techniques • Ancient Egyptians & Greeks reported speech loss after blow to head (brain damage) 3000 years ago Paul Broca (1861) found that damage to left inferior frontal region (Broca’s area) of a language impaired patient (Tan), in postmortem analysis Carl Wernicke (1876) Found that damage to posterior part of the temporal lobe caused a different kind of language problems. Lateralization of functions • Human body is asymmetrical: heart, liver, use of limbs, etc. • Functions of the brain become lateralized • Each hemisphere specialized for particular ways of working Right-hemisphere Left-hemisphere Simultaneous analysis Sequential analysis Analytical Problem solving primarily located in the left hemisphere (97% of right handers, 81% lefties) Visual-Spatial skills Language Cognitive maps Personal space Facial recognition Drawing Emotional functions Synthetic Recognizing emotions Expressing emotions Music Location of ‘Language Organ’ • Evidence for the localization of language facilities comes from: • • • • • • • Patients with language disorders Dysarthria – a motor speech disorder characterized by poor articulation Apraxia of Speech – a motor disorder affecting an individual’s ability to translate conscious speech plans into motor plans Agraphia (dysgraphia) - Impairment in writing Alexia - disturbances in reading Aphasia - is an acquired language disorder in which there is an impairment of any language modality • • • Broca’s (cortical motor) - slow, effortful halting speech, lacking grammatical words Wernicke’s (cortical sensory) - fluent prosodic speech with little or no real content Conduction - fluent speech with good comprehension but impaired repetition and many phonological errors; subcortical pathway between Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas disrupted Global - broad language impairment across all facets of language; associated with broad lessions Anomic -word finding difficulties; lesions often localized between temporal and parietal lobes Others: Transcortical motor, Transcortical sensory, Mixed transcortical • • • • • Most also lost the ability to name persons or subjects (anomia) Can utter automatic speech (“hello”) Comprehension relatively intact Most also have partial paralysis of one side of the body (hemiplegia) If extensive, not much recovery over time Broca’s (cortical motor) - slow, effortful halting speech, lacking grammatical words Me … build-ing … chairs, no, no cab-in-nets. One, saw … then, cutting wood … working … Cookie jar … fall over … chair … water … empty … ov … ov … (Examiner: “overflow”] Yeah. • • • • • Fluent but “empty” speech But contains many paraphasias – “girl”-“curl”, “bread”-“cake” Grammatical inflections Normal prosody Syntactical but empty sentences • • • Cannot repeat words or sentences Unable to understand what they read or hear Usually no partial paralysis Wernicke’s (cortical sensory) - fluent prosodic speech with little or no real content [Examiner: “What kind of work have you done?”] We, the kids, all of us, and I, we were working for a long time in the … you know … it’s the kind of space, I mean place rear to the spedwan … [Examiner: “Excuse me, but I wanted to know what work you have been doing”] If you had said that, we had said that, poomer, near the fortunate, forpunate, tampoo, all around the fourth of martz. Oh, I get all confused. Well, this is … mother is away here working, out o’here to get her better, but when she’s working, the two boys looking in the other part. One their small tile into her time here. She’s working another time because she’s getting, too. • • • Intact auditory comprehension Fluent (yet paraphasic) speech production Poor speech repetition Conduction - fluent speech with good comprehension but impaired repetition and many phonological errors; subcortical pathway between Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas disrupted Arcuate Fasciculus* *but see Bernal & Ardila (2009) • Epileptic activity spread from one Location of ‘Language Organ’ hemisphere to the other thru corpus Evidence for the localization of language facilities comes from: Patients with language disorders “Split-brain” patients Language Dominant Side Broca’s Area Motor Cortex • callosum Since 1930, such epileptic treated by severing the interhemispheric pathways. – – – – Left hemisphere could read and verbally communicate Right hemisphere had small linguistic capacity: recognize single words Vocabulary and grammar capabilities of right is far less than left Only the processes taking place in the left hemisphere could be described verbally Motor Cortex Can point to and identify the cat • Epileptic activity spread from one Location of ‘Language Organ’ hemisphere to the other thru corpus Evidence for the localization of language facilities comes from: Patients with language disorders “Split-brain” patients Language Dominant Side Broca’s Area Motor Cortex • callosum Since 1930, such epileptic treated by severing the interhemispheric pathways. – – – – Left hemisphere could read and verbally communicate Right hemisphere had small linguistic capacity: recognize single words Vocabulary and grammar capabilities of right is far less than left Only the processes taking place in the left hemisphere could be described verbally Motor Cortex The left hand can point to it, but you can’t describe it! • Penfield and Roberts (1959): During epilepsy surgery under local anesthesia to locate cortical language areas, stimulation of: – Large anterior zone: • stops speech – Both anterior and posterior temporoparietal cortex: • misnaming, impaired imitation of words – Broca’s area: • unable comprehend auditory and visual semantic material, • inability to follow oral commands, point to objects, and understand written questions Ojemann et al. (1989, 2004) – Stimulation of the brain of an English-Spanish bilingual shows different areas for each language – Stimulation of inferior premotor frontal cortex: • Arrests speech, impairs all facial movements – Stimulation of areas in inferior, frontal, temporal, parietal cortex: • Impairs sequential facial movements, phoneme identification Location of ‘Language Organ’ Evidence for the localization of language facilities comes from: Patients with language disorders “Split-brain” patients Direct electrical stimulation • Location of ‘Language Organ’ Evidence for the localization of language facilities comes from: Patients with language disorders “Split-brain” patients Direct electrical stimulation Modern imaging techniques • ERP (Event Related Potential) • • MEG (Magnetoencephalography) • • reading speaking thinking and speaking • Good spatial & temporal resolution PET (Positron Emission Tomolgraphy) • hearing Good temporal resolution Radioactive isotope, blood flow, lower resolution, can move around (some), relatively slow (lots of trials) fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance) • Blood flow, fairly high resolution, poor temporal resolution (5-10 s after neuronal activity) Storing information about words In ordinary dictionaries an entry for each word all the information pertaining to that word is given there Phonological, graphic, grammatical, semantic all together in one place In the brain The situation is entirely different M T P P P A Each word is represented as a large network Different kinds of information in different locations So also each phrase that is learned as a unit C P V Storing information about words The compact entry (as in ordinary dictionaries) All the information is there in one place – the lexical entry Accessing the information First, locate (activate) the information (requires searching) Then “read” it Looking for the unitary meaning center: binding meanings and words 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Epstein (1999) Posner & DiGirolamo (1999) Pulvermüller (1999) Salmelin et al (1999) Skrandies (1999) Tranel & Damasio (1999) Scott & Jonsrude (2003) Hickok & Poeppel (2007) Hodges & Patterson (2007) Why is this interesting? Knowledge of how words are represented in the brain provides the key to understanding linguistic structure sheds light on how the brain works in general Lanuage and thought How are language and thought related? Are inner speech and thought the same thing? How does language impact thought? Are there things that we can’t think about because our language imposes particular constraints? Does our language affect how we perceive the world? Can two people who speak different languages communicate? The question has been debated for a long time And still is today New York Times article Some history Plato & Socrates THINKING = INNER SPEECH Socrates: And do you accept my description of the process of thinking? Theaetetus: How do you describe it? Socrates: As a discourse that the mind carries on with itself about any subject it is considering. … I have a notion that, when the mind is thinking, it is simply talking to itself, asking questions and answering them. … So I should describe thinking as a discourse, … not aloud to someone else, but silently to oneself. Some history Aristotle: SPEECH IS THE SYMBOL OF THOUGHT Spoken words are the symbols of mental experience and written words are the symbols of spoken words. Just as all men have not the same writing, so all men have not the same speech sounds; but the mental experiences, which these directly symbolize, are the same for all, as also are those things of which our experiences are the images. Some history John B. Watson (1913, early behaviorist): … thought processes are really motor habits in the larynx, improvements, short cuts, changes, etc., in these habits are brought about in the same way that such changes are produced in other motor habits. This view carries with it the implication that there are no reflective processes (centrally initiated processes). But see Smith, Brown, Thomas, and Goodman (1947) – used curare to temporarily paralyze all voluntary muscles, but participant (first author Smith) reportedly could still think and solve problems Some history Vygotsky (Russian developmental psychologist) • Language and thought have different origins • Pre-linguistic child thinks independently of language • Words are not symbols for thought, instead are properties of objects • Speech sounds are not thought • Language is acquired from the child’s social grouping • Later speech and thought become connected • Speech becomes representational • Children’s monologues are internalized and become “inner speech” Some history Franz Boas, father of American Anthropology Edward Sapir, student of Boas “grammatical meaning [can] only be understood in terms of the system of which it is part” “the ‘real world’ is to a large extent unconsciously build up on the language habits of the group.” Benjamin Lee Whorf, student of Sapir (and insurance claims adjustor) Benjamin Lee Whorf “We cut up and organize the spread and flow of events as we do largely because, through our mother tongue, we are parties to an agreement to do so, not because nature itself is segmented in exactly that way for all to see.” “Every language is a vast pattern system, different from others, in which are culturally ordained the forms and categories by which the personality not only communicates, but also analyzes nature, notices or neglects types of relationships and phenomena, channels his reasoning, and builds the house of his consciousness.” “From this fact proceeds what I have called the ‘linguistic relativity principle,’ which means, in informal terms, that users of markedly different grammars are pointed by their grammars toward different types of observations … and hence are not equivalent as observers …” Does language affect thought? Sapir-Whorf hypothesis Linguistic determinism Language determines thought (memory, perception, & action) Linguistic relativity Different languages map onto the world differently, resulting in different cognitive structures Whorf posited that cultural thinking differences were the direct result of differences in their languages Speakers of different languages see the world in different, incompatible ways, because their languages impose different conceptual structures on their experiences. Weak version(s) of the hypothesis: Language influences thinking & how we perceive the world 7 min video The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis What evidence led Whorf to this conclusion? The bulk of his evidence was drawn from cross-cultural comparisons He studied several Native American cultures. But he also used examples drawn from his days as an insurance investigator Does language affect thought? Whorf’s famous example “Empty gasoline drums” “Yet the ‘empty’ drums are perhaps more dangerous (in comparison to the full drums), since they contain explosive vapor. …The word ‘empty’ is used in two linguistic patterns: (1) as a virtual synonym for ‘null and void, negative, inert,’ (2) applied in analysis of physical situations without regard to, e.g., vapor, liquid vestiges, in the container. The situation is named in one pattern (2) and the name is then ‘acted out’ in another (1), this being the general formula for the linguistic conditioning of behavior into hazardous forms.” (Whorf, 1956, p. 135) Does language affect thought? Whorf’s famous example “Empty gasoline drums” Linguistic form empty Linguistic meanings Container no longer contains intended contents null and void, negative, inert Mental interpretations drum no longer contains gasoline drum is no longer dangerous; okay to smoke cigarettes Nonlinguistic observables gasoline drum without gasoline worker smokes cigarettes The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis Some of the evidence: Whorf claimed Inuit have several terms for snow Qanuk ‘snowflake’ Qanir ’to snow’ Qanunge ‘to snow’ Qanugglir ‘to snow’ Kaneq ‘frost’ Kaner ‘be frosty’ Kanevvluk ‘fine snow’ Natquik ‘drifting snow’ Natquigte ‘for snow to drift along the ground’ And more The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis Some of the evidence: Whorf claimed Inuit have several terms for snow However, there are many different Inuit languages and not all posses the same number of terms. Boas (1911) reported one group with four root terms. This number is probably matched or surpassed by skiers regardless of their language. See Pullum’s Great Eskimo Hoax (1991) The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis Specialization based on experience Different groups within a culture vary in terms of the number of words they use for things Consider memory Most people are aware of two kinds of memory, short term and long term. As we discovered previously cognitive psychologists have many terms: Sensory registers, Iconic and echoic, short-term or working or primary memory, long-term, verbal and imagistic, declarative, procedural, and episodic. It would be fair to say that the layman and the cognitive psychologist think differently about memory. Testing the theory Two major approaches have been employed to test the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Test the strong view – language determines thought by seeing if the cognitive system can make distinctions that are not linguistically represented Test a weaker view – that language influences thought. Two of the domains in which this issue has been studied Color terms Counting and arithmetic Others include: time/space language & grammatical categories Cultural Variations If your language didn’t have separate names for these, would you see them the same way? Color Terms Much of the initial research focused on an aspect of language which varies widely across cultures Color Terms There are a few languages which have only two color terms, and some with three. Most languages draw their color names from 11 specific colors. Color Terms Berlin and Kay (1969): Color hierarchy Rules: Consist of only one morpheme, not contained within another color word, not restricted to a small number of objects, and commonly known In 2 color term languages the terms correspond to Black & White In 3 color term languages they correspond to Black, White & Red Languages with additional terms items are added as follows: yellow, green, blue then brown, then purple, pink, orange, and gray. This data runs contrary to Whorf’s hypotheses They suggest a universal physiological basis for color naming, independent of language Color Terms Brown & Lenneberg (1954): So do naming practices influence our ability to distinguish or remember colors? If something in a culture is named frequently it may be labeled with a brief name, less frequently with a longer name, and infrequently with a phrase rather than a single word The process of naming in this manner is known as codability. Codability = how easily a concept can be described in a language, related to the length of the word. Asked people to name 24 colors (8 central, 16 others). Those with longer names were named with hesitations and less consistency Color Terms Hieder (1972) (Rosch, 1973 [same person]) Dani tribe of New Guinea use only two color names Mili – cool/dark shades (e.g., blue, green, black) Mola – warm/light shades (e.g., red, yellow, white) They had no difficulty in recognizing color chips that were from an initial presentation from among distracters even though they had no names for the colors. Additionally, they were better at recognizing focal colors (e.g., the best example of blue) than non-focal colors (just as we English speakers are) This data does not support the strong view of Whorf’s hypothesis. Check out: ISU’s Mind Project Virtual Anthropology Lab Color Terms Comparative judgments among colors are affected by color naming practices Kay & Kempton, (1984) G G G G G B B B B Investigated English and Tarahumara In Tarahumara there are no separate terms for blue and green The task was see 3 chips pick the one least similar in color Some trials had chips English speakers would call C1 green, C2 blue and C3 was a focal example of green but farther away in light spectrum from C1 than was the case for C1 vs. C2 Color Terms Comparative judgments among colors are affected by color naming practices Kay & Kempton, (1984) G G G Investigated English and Tarahumara In Tarahumara there are no separate terms for blue and green The task was see 3 chips pick the one least similar in color Predictions: G G B Results: B B B Visual stimuli as only basis pick C3 as odd Naming practices influence pick C2 as odd Tarahumara speakers pick C3 English speakers tended to pick the chip they would label blue (C2) even though in the spectrum it was closer to C1 than was C3 Support for a weak version of the Whorfian hypothesis Color Terms Winawer, Boroditsky and others (2007) English and Russian divide up blues differently Results Russian makes an obligatory distinction between lighter blues (”goluboy”) and darker blues (”siniy”). Russian speakers were faster to discriminate two colors when they fell into different linguistic categories (one siniy and the other goluboy) than when they were from the same linguistic category (both siniy or both goluboy). English speakers tested on the identical stimuli did not show a category advantage in any of the conditions. Support for a weak version of the Whorfian hypothesis, categories in language affect performance on simple perceptual color tasks Color Terms Siok, Kay and others (2009) fMRI study Results: Lexical color information was accessed in color discrimination It also enhanced the activation of color region V2/3 Discussion: “Language, by enhancing the activation level of the visual cortex, differentially influences the discrimination of colors presented in the left and right visual hemi-fields.” Support for a weak version of the Whorfian hypothesis, categories in language affect brain activation during perceptual color tasks Higher Cognitive Processes Color naming may not seem like a very complex cognitive process: What about more complex mental processes? Counting and other Arithmetic processes Counting & Arithmetic Greenberg (1978) has identified some cultures where the only number terms correspond to one, two, many. Piraha tribe; Gordon (2004) (in conjunction with ISU’s Dan Everett) Hoi (falling tone = one), hoi (rising tone = two), aibai (= many) Matching tasks - show an array of objects, they have to put objects down to match the array Results - relatively good matching up to 2 or 3, but performance was considerably poorer beyond that up to 8 to 10 items Different languages terms for numbers also has effects on arithmetic Counting & Arithmetic Miller & Stigler (1987) English and French have complex names for numbers Japanese,Chinese and Korean have simpler systems From Miller & Stigler (1987) Counting & Arithmetic Miller & Stigler (1987) The greater regularity of number names in Chinese, Japanese and Korean as compared to English or French facilitates the learning of counting behavior beyond 10 in those languages. Another advantage is earlier mastery of ‘place value’ (understanding that in # 23 there are 2 tens and 3 ones) Counting & Arithmetic Miller & Stigler (1987) Conclusions At this point it is apparent that the strong view of Whorf’s hypothesis is not supported. Steven Pinker (The Language Instinct, 1994) • “The famous Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of linguistic determinism … is wrong, all wrong. … There is no scientific evidence that languages dramatically shape their speakers’ ways of thinking.” • “Most of the experiments have tested banal “weak” versions of the Whorfian hypothesis, namely that words can have some effect on memory or categorization. Some of these experiments have actually worked, but that is hardly surprising.” Conclusions At this point it is apparent that the strong view of Whorf’s hypothesis is not supported. However, there is continued support for the weaker version(s) of the hypothesis The data from areas of investigation concerning color naming, counting & arithmetic, reasoning, visual memory, and other areas (e.g., social inference) indicate that the use of certain specific terms can influence how we think The question that remains is how much of the differences are because of the language and how much due to the culture? Problems Language cannot be randomly assigned Therefore we cannot rule out some third variables such as culture.