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Chapter 9 Psycholinguistics

I. Decide whether each of the following statements is True or False:

1. F     2.T     3.T     4.T     5.T    6. F    7.F     8.F    9.T     10.T

 

II. Fill in each of the blanks below with one word which begins with the letter given:

11. Psycholinguistics    12. cortex     13. hemispheres    14. lateralization

15. genetically     16. Motor     17. arbitrary     18. sub-vocal, overt     19.relativism

20. critical     21. determinism

III. There are four choices following each statement. Mark the choice that can best complete the statement:

22.A     23.A    24.C     25.D    26.D     27.B     28.C     29.D     30.A

31.C     32. A     33. B     34. D     35. D     36. B     37. C

 

IV Explain the following terms:

38. Psycholinguistics: Psycholinguistics is the study of language in relation to the mind.

39. brain lateralization: The localization of cognitive and perceptual functions in a particular hemisphere of the brain is called brain lateralization.

40.dichotic listening: a research technique which has been used to study how the brain controls hearing and language, with which subjects wear earphones and simultaneously receive different sounds in the right and left ear, and are then asked to repeat what they hear. Dichotic listening research makes use of the generally established fact that anything experienced on the right-hand side of the body is processed in the left hemisphere of the brain, and vice versa. A basic assumption, thus, would be that a signal coming in the right ear will go to the left hemisphere and a signal coming in the left ear will go to the right hemisphere.

41. Broca's area : It refers to the frontal lobe in the left cerebral hemisphere, which is vital to language. This area is discovered by Paul Broca, a French surgeon and anatomist.

42. angular gyms: The angular gyrus lies behind Wernicke' s area. The angular gyrus is the language center re-sponsible for converting a visual stimulus into an auditory form and vice ver-sa. This area is crucial for the matching of a spoken form with a perceived object, for the naming of objects, and for the comprehension of written lan-guage , all of which require connections between visual and speech regions.

43. cerebral plasticity: Ac-cording to Lenneberg, prior to the end of the critical period, both hemispheres are involved to some extent in language and one can take over if the other is damaged. This neurological flexibility is called cerebral plasticity .

44. linguistic determinism: a theory put forward by the American anthropological linguists Sapir and Whorf, which states that the way people view the world is determined by the structure of their native language.

45. subvocal speech: a term used to refer to thought when thought and language are identical or closely parallel to each other.

46. cerebral cortex : the outside surface of the brain which receives messages from all the sensory organs and where human cognitive abilities reside.

47. linguistic lateralization: It refers the brain’s neurological specialization for language.

48.right ear advantage: The speech signals presented in the right ear goes directly to the left brain, while the speech signals in the left ear must first go to the right hemisphere, from where it is transferred to the left side of the brain for processing. Since the speech signals in the left ear takes a non-direct route and a longer time before processing than a linguistic signal received through the right ear, linguistic stimuli heard in the left ear are reported less accurately than those heard in the right ear. This phenomenon is called the right ear advantage.

49. critical period hypothesis: The critical period hypothesis refers to a period in one' s life extending from about age two to puberty, during which the human brain is most ready to acquire a particular language and language learning can proceed easily, swiftly, and without explicit instruction.

50.Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: a theory put forward by the American anthropological linguists Sapir and Whorf which states that the way people view the world is determined wholly or partly by the structure of their native language.

51.linguistic relativism: Whorf believed that speakers of different languages perceive and experience the world differently, relative to their linguistic back-ground, hence the notion of linguistic relativism .

52. overt thought: When language and thought are identical or closely parallel to each other, we may regard speech as "overt thought.”

53. intrapersonal communication: It means that language users use language to facilitates thinking, speech behavior and action for the individual.

54.interpersonal communication: It means language users use language to convey information, thoughts and feelings from one person to another, or to control each other' s behavior.

V. Answer the following questions:

55. What are the biological foundations of language

Of all organisms, human beings are the only spontaneous cre-ators and users of highly sophisticated languages that permit the communica-tion of a wide range of knowledge and ideas. Evidently, our linguistic ability does not depend primarily on the struc-ture of our vocal cords, for other mammals also have vocal cords. Human linguistic ability largely depends, instead, on the structure and dynamics of the human brain. As far as is currently known, human beings are the only organisms in which one particular part of the left half of the brain is larger than the corresponding part of the right half. This has led to the belief that human language is biologically, or more exactly, neurologically, based.

56. What are the major mental functions under the control of each hemi-sphere

Psychological research suggests that both hemispheres perform important mental functions and they differ only in the manner in which they treat incoming stimuli. For example, the right hemisphere processes stimuli more holistically and the left hemisphere more analytically.

Brain lateralization for major mental functions under the control of each hemisphere is given as follows:

(1) Left hemisphere Right hemisphere

language and speech perception of nonlinguistic sounds

analytic reasoning holistic reasoning

temporal ordering visual and spatial skills

reading and writing recognition of patterns

calculation recognition of musical melodies

associative thought

Because each cerebral hemisphere has unique functional superiority, it is accurate to think of the hemispheres as complementarily spe-cialized .

 

57. What can we do by means of dichotic listening tests

Dichotic listening research makes use of the generally established fact that anything experienced on the right-hand side of the body is processed in the left hemisphere of the brain, and vice versa. A basic assumption, thus, would be that a signal coming in the right ear will go to the left hemisphere and a signal coming in the left ear will go to the right hemisphere. By means of dichotic listening tests, we can analyze the characteristics of incoming stimuli processed by the individual hemispheres.

Dichotic listening test can show that the left hemisphere is not superior for process-ing all sounds, but only for those that are linguistic in nature, thus providing evidence in support of the view that the left side of the brain is specialized for language and that it is where language centers reside.

 

58. What is the safe conclusion from Genie's case

A safe conclusion from Genie' s case is that the lan-guage faculty of an average human degenerates after the critical period and consequently, most linguistic skills cannot develop.

 

59. How are language and thought related to each other

Language and thought may be viewed as two independent circles overlapping in some parts, where language and thought are consistent with each other and one never occurs without the other. When language and thought are identical or closely parallel to each other, we may regard thought as "subvocal speech”, and speech as "overt thought. In such a case, speaking and thinking take place simultaneously.