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Language Processing in the Mind Cao Ning School of English Language Longdong University
Overview 1. Introduction 2. Language comprehension 3. Discourse/text interpretation 4. Language production
Current issues a. It is generally agreed that human language system is likely to be a “modular”, in the sense of being constituted out of a number of separate but interacting components. However, the point led to a major controversy concerning the integration of the modules. b. Another problem is the relationship between STRUCTURE and PROCESS, which can not reach agreement.
Evidence a. Psycholinguistics attracts supporters from both linguistics and psychology, though both of them have somewhat different approaches , esp. in methodology. u Linguists are inclined to favor descriptions of spontaneous speech as their main source of evidence u Psychologists more prefer experimental studies. u b. Subjects of Psycholinguistic investigation are normal adults, children and aphasics patients -----people with speech disorders. u
a. Psychology of language deals with more general topics such as the extent to which language shapes thought. b. Psychology of communication includes non-verbal communication such as gestures and facial expressions. c. Cognitive psychologists are concerned with making inferences about the content of the human mind. d. Experimental psychologists is somewhat more concerned with empirical matters, such as speed response to a particular word.
Three major aspects of psycholinguistic research: v COMPREHENSION Language: how do people use their knowledge of language, and how do they understand what they hear or understand? v PRODUCTION language: how do they produce messages that others can understand in turn? v ACQUISITION language: how language is represented in the mind and how language is acquired?
Human Language Processing l l Psycholinguistics is the area of linguistics that is concerned with linguistic performance – how we use our linguistics competence, our knowledge of language in speech production and comprehension. How we process knowledge depends to a great extent on the nature of that knowledge. l Language is open-ended, creativity of L l When we speak, we access our grammar to find the words, construct novel sentences, and produce the sounds that express the message we wish to express. l When we listen to sb speak, we also access the grammar to process the utterances to assign meaning to the sounds we hear.
Language comprehension Word recognition: Word recognition is the initial step in understanding any message. l Factors affecting word recognition: a. Cohort theory hypothesizes that auditory word recognition begins with the formation of a group of words at the perception of the initial sound and proceeds sound by sound with the cohort of words decreasing as more sounds are perceived. b. Frequency effect, one of the most important factors affecting word recognition, studies how frequently the word is used in a given discourse or context. l
1. 2. Recency effect, one of the factors affecting word recognition, describes the additional ease with which a word is accessed due to its repeated occurrence in the discourse or context. Context is another factor affecting word recognition. People recognize a word more readily when the preceding words provide an appropriate context for it.
Speech Perception and Comprehension l l Perceptual units involved in this process occur on different levels; the speech signal can be segmented into strings of phonemes, syllables, morphemes, words and phrases. The units we can perceive depends on the language, or dialect we know. l l Lexical Access or word recognition l l l [l] and [r] “I support Bush erection (election). ” A sniggle blick is procking a slar. The cat chased the rat. Prosodic Aspects (stress & intonation) aid syntactic analysis l l I live in the white house. I live in the White House.
Comprehension Models l l The psychological stages and process that a listener goes through in comprehending the meaning of an utterance are very complex. Some psycholinguists suggest that speech perception and comprehension involve both top-down and bottom-up processing. Top-down processes proceed from semantic and syntactic information to the sensory input. Bottom-up processes move step-by-step from the incoming acoustic signal to semantic interpretation, building each part of the structure on the basis of the sensory data alone.
Syntactic processing u factors affecting the process of determining the structure of a sentence a. the ambiguity of individual words and the different possible ways that words can be fit into phrases. e. g. : The mother beat his daughter with a play gun. ( prepositional phrase with a play gun used to modify daughter ; prepositional phrase with a play gun being the complement of the verb beat ) b. the ambiguous category of some of the words in the sentence e. g. : the desert trains ( in different contexts, desert can serve as the subject of the verb trains or the modifier of the verb )
C. garden path sentence, another factor affecting the process of determining a sentence structure, are sentences that are initially interpreted with a different structure than they actually have. For example, reduced relative clauses often cause such feeling of having been garden-pathed. e. g. : The horse raced past the barn fell ( the horse that was raced past the barn fell ) Ø MINIMAL attachment theory, a way used when interpreting the structure of sentences, is the idea that people initially construct the simplest ( or least complex ) syntactic structure.
Syntactic Processing l Garden-path sentences l l lead sb up/down the garden (path)使迷惑, 诱人误入歧途 The horse raced past the barn fell. We are incorrectly led to interpret the word raced as the main verb of the VP since it immediately follows the 1 st NP. To interpret the S correctly we have to retrace our processing when we come to the main verb fell. Such backtracking seems to put a burden on short-term memory and syntactic processors and creates comprehension errors. Syntactic processing vs syntactic competence l l The bus driven past the school stopped. The horse that was raced past the barn fell.
Basic processes in reading 1. 2. Perceptual span is the range of letters from which useful information is extracted, which varies depending on factors such as the size of the print, the complexity of the text, etc. and encompasses about three or four letters to the left of fixation and some fifteen letters to the right of fixation. Immediacy assumption means that the reader is supposed to carry out the processes required to understand each word and its relationship to previous words in the sentence as soon as that word is encountered.
Speech Errors l Spoonerisms 首音误置 You have hissed all the mystery lectures, I saw you fight that liar behind the gymnasium, and, in short, you have tasted the whole worm (Reverend Spooner) Well-oiled bicycle well-boiled icicle 冰柱
Phonological Substitutions (Only lexemes) 音位替换（仅词位） Error Type Error Perseveration持 Target 续 言语 （言语 反复不止） : John gave the goy a ball John gave the boy a ball Anticipation提 前出现 : alsho share also share tap stobs ([^Voiced]) 清浊 替换 tab stops Feature Substitution特征 Cedars of Lemadon 替换 : ([^Nasal]) 鼻音替换 b-m（ 唇音） n-d（齿龈音） Cedars of Lebanon
Lexical Selection Errors （1） l Semantically Based Substitution Errors以语义为基 础的词汇替换错误 l l Antonym Substitution 反义词替换 l It's too damn hot. . . , I mean, cold in here l He rode his bicycle tomorrow (yesterday) l All I need is something for my elbows (shoulders) Synonym Substitution is not perceived as an error: 同义词替换不会被感知为错误 l l l I was starving (ravenous) on the couch (sofa) on the pier (dock)
Lexical Selection Errors （2） l Phonologically Based Word Substitutions 以音位为基础的词汇 替换 l He has a new commuter (computer) l The instructions gave no inclination. . . indication as to how to do it l verbal outfit (output) l his immoral soul (immortal) l Word Substitutions with Morphological Stranding形态错位 l they are Turking talkish (talking Turkish) l it waits to pay (pays to wait) l you have to square it facely (face it squarely)
Lexical Selection Errors （3) l Blends (Only lexemes) 混合词 （仅词汇） l My stummy hurts (stomach/tummy) l There's a dreeze blowing through the room (draft/breeze) l It was maistly, ah, mostly his doing (mainly/mostly) l At the end of todays lection (lecture/lesson) l This is not much of a universary (university/nursery) l General Malapropisms 普通文字错误 l a peckeral胸部 chest/breast (cockerel)小公鸡 l He picked some gutter pups贫民区幼犬(butter cups) l I'm ravished! 迷、醉(ravenous!) 很饿的、贪婪的 l It's the Chinese who practice Acapulco (acupuncture) l He was concreted (cremated) 火葬
Morphological Errors (Only morphemes) l l Morpheme shift 词素变换 l I haven't satten down and writ__ it (I haven't sat down and written it) l I had forgot__ aboutten it (I had forgotten about it) l He point__ outed that. . . (He pointed out that. . . ) l You __ have to do learn that (you do have to learn) l what that add__ ups to (adds up to) l who could __form at a. . . (perform at a higher level) Morpheme substitutions 词素替换 l Sometimes I have putten it in. . . (Sometimes I put-§ it in. . . ) l a timeful remark (timely) l By his own admittance (admission) l Where's the fire distinguisher? (Where's the fire extinguisher? )
The Stupidest Things President George W. Bush Has Ever Said l l l "Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream. " —La. Crosse, Wis. , Oct. 18, 2000 "I know hard it is for you to put food on your family. " —Greater Nashua, N. H. , Jan. 27, 2000 "I hear there's rumors on the Internets that we're going to have a draft. " —second presidential debate, St. Louis, Mo. , Oct. 8, 2004 "You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test. '' —Townsend, Tenn. , Feb. 21, 2001 "Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country. " —Poplar Bluff, Mo. , Sept. 6, 2004
Bushism l l l "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again. " —Nashville, Tenn. , Sept. 17, 2002 "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully. " —Saginaw, Mich. , Sept. 29, 2000 "They misunderestimated me. " —Bentonville, Ark. , Nov. 6, 2000 "Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning? " —Florence, S. C. , Jan. 11, 2000 "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we. " — Washington, D. C. , Aug. 5, 2004
Discourse/text interpretation Discourse serves as a context, affect sentence and wordlevel interpretation, tipping the interpretation of what would otherwise be ambiguous words or phrases in a certain direction. ¤ General context effects means that our general knowledge about the world influences language comprehension, which occurs all the time, because a crucial aspect of language comprehension involves making use of any relevant general knowledge that we possess. ¤ Specific context effects involve information obtained from earlier parts of a discourse. ¤
&Schemata and inference drawing The origin of schemata The concept of schema theory was put forward by Barlett in his writings. Barlett believed that our memory for discourse was not based on straight reproduction, but was constructive. The constructive process uses information frome experience related to the discourse at hand, to build a mental representation. He argued that , that past experience can not be an accumation of successive individuated events and experiences, it must be organized and manageable. (cited in Discourse Analysis written by Gillian Brown &George Yule ) 4
& The definitions of Schema: 1. Schemata are ‘high-level complex ( and even conventional or habitual ) knowledge structures’ (van Dijk, 1981: 141) which functions as ‘ideational scaffolding’ (Andersion, 1977 ) in the organization and interpretation of experience. In the strong view, schemata are considered to be deterministic, to predispose the experiencer to interpret his experience in a fixed way. (cited in Discourse Analysis written by Gillian Brown &George Yule )
1. a. b. Schemata can be seen as the organized background knowledge which leads us to expect or predict aspects in our interpretation of discourse. (cited in Discourse Analysis written by Gillian Brown &George Yule ) The characteristics of schemata: Schemata can vary considerably in the information they contain, from the very simple to the very complex. Schemata are frequently organized hierarchically.
worsening environment/ecological deterioration ↓ desertification ↓ sand storms / Yellow dust ↓ deforestation /vegetation
c. 4 a. b. l Schemata operate in a top-down or conceptually driven way to facilitate interpretation on environmental stimuli. how to use schemata: the activation of schemata the reconstruction of schemata specific use of schemata: research on the use of schemata are found in reading comprehension and listening comprehension. Now research on the use of schemata begins in writing.
l Story structure Van Dijk and Kintsch (1983 ) argued that, in understanding of the gist of MACROSTRUCTURE of a story, readers and listeners make extensive use of their general knowledge to work out the major theme of a story, which leads to the production of MACROPROPOSITIONS which are general propositions used to form an overall macrostructure of the story.
Language production is definitely a goal-directed activity, in the sense that people speak and write in order to make friends, influence people, convey information and so on. l Speech production Garrett put forward five different levels of representation involved in speaking a sentence: a. the message-level representation b. the functional-level representation c. the positional-level representation l
d. the phonetic-level representation e. the articulatory-level representation ( comment on theory: the complex theory of speech production has not as yet been tested thoroughly. However, there is support for some of its major assumptions. ( some concepts related to theory: 1. Spoonerism ( Slip if the tongue ) refers to the initial letters or letters of two words are transposed. For example, sounds or words from the end of a sentence intrude into the early part of a sentence, then this provides evidence for the notion of forward planning.
Anticipation error, errors demonstrating the existence of forward planning, means that a word is spoken earlier than it should be. e. g. : ＊The school is at school. ( at the school) c. Exchange error, errors, two items within a sentence are swapped. e. g. : ＊This is the happiest life of my day. (This is the happiest day of my life. ) d. Morpheme-exchange errors, refers to the phenomenon that the roots of basic forms of two words are switched leaving the grammatical structure unchanged. b.
e. g. ＊He has already trunked two packs. (He has already packed two trunks. ) l Written language Writing process proposed by Hayers ans Flowers (1986 ): ¤ First, the planning process, which involves producing ideas and arranging them into a writing plan appropriate to the writing. ¤ Second, the sentence generation process, which translates the writing plan into actual sentences that can be written down.
Lastly, the revision process, which involves an evaluation of what has been written for so far. l Strategic knowledge, less obvious factors determining the quality of the writing plan, is knowledge used in constructing a writing plan in order to make it coherent and wellorganized. l