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Flashcards in Concepts and Words Deck (13)
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1

Why study language?

Language reflects, represents and moulds patterns of thought
only way we have insight into what anyone is thinking - only way to ask them is by speaking

2

What are concepts?

Very difficult to describe
Fundamental building blocks of thought
e.g. dog

3

Feature theory

Each category has a set of defining features, if you combine then features, can distinguish them from something else

but.. hard as lots of things share many of the same features, hard to define a set number of features that minimally distinguishes a category from another one

4

How are concepts useful?

Enable us to generalise from past experiences to new observations eg. if you meet a dog, know what you're dealing with

conceptual hierarchies - economy of representation - don't have to have something different in your brain for each thing

allows us to predict new outcomes

5

Probabilistic view of concepts

No defining features, only characteristic ones
Concepts represented by prototypes with characteristic features - match closest prototype to figure out what something belongs too
poor exemplars share fewer or less known features
explains lack of clear boundaries

6

What are the problems with prototypically?

Ad-hoc categories - not a stable category that you use throughout your life, doesn't have stability, e.g. not a particular exemplar for red things

Conceptual combination - doesn't allow you to easily combine categories

7

What is the theory theory?

Concepts are grounded in what you know about the world - based on people's goals, assumptions and understandings, not a checklist of features
features have meaning because they are linked together
helps with conceptual combination - olive oil vs baby oil - recognising what these mean

8

Can we think without language?

YES

pre lingual babies show evidence of conceptual categories e.g. phoneme discrimination
pathology - speech and language impairment don't necessarily destroy thought and reason

they are linked but not the same thing

9

Ferdiand de Sausurre

Founder of semiotics - study of sounds and meaning

suggests that we have a sign consisted of a signifier (the symbol/image) and a signified (the meaning conveyed)

the connection between signifier and signified is fundamental arbitrary

10

Is language actually arbitrary?

Many experimental tests using nonsense words - don't need to explain what words are, agreement on what words are. wouldn't find consistent agreement if language was actually arbitrary

vowels and consonants are associated with certain shapes - shape of mouth when you say it or sound

11

Is there sound symbolism in English?

We are sensitive to it - the sound of a word somehow corresponds to its meaning
e.g. slime, slip, slick, slick slither - all reminds you of slime

there must be a connection between concepts and words

12

Are patterns of sound meaning found in languages?

Yes
small associated with a vowel - e.g. i cos of little
full associated with p or b

13

Sound symbolism in brand names

Which brand of ketchup seems thicker?
nidax or nodax - nodal is seemed as thicker