Steven Pinker: Linguistics as a window to understanding the brain. Big Think, 2012. You tube URL/Link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-B_ONJIEcE. Duration: 50 minutes.
About the Film
The cognition of literature depicts the understanding the human brain was a film done by Steve Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard University. The film explains the importance of language and the active participation of the brain in producing and understanding language. The film was based on research from other linguists like Charles Darwin, Ferdinand De Saussure a Noam Chomsky. Pinker illustrated the importance of the language of intertwined in its prime way of distinguishing human beings from other animals and as an essential tool for persons' cooperation within the society. Numerous cognitive psychological researchers analyzed words processing in the brain with the intention of understanding the phenomenon behind language.
Knowledge from the film indicates that language comprises of thousands of coded information, which adequately separates from other forms of noise produced by people. The brain has a unique manner of recovering data from streams of sounds by determining exact sequences in different theses and squids. The versed expressive power of language is a phenomenon and hence of particular interest to linguistics in explaining the science of language.
Human life is language centered because people can accomplish numerous things simply through communication. Via language, persons could exchange information, ideas and intentions, which results in inventions and innovations. On a global platform, the vast varieties of speeches stand at soaring heights of 6000 languages.
The main interests of linguistic scientists comprise the study of psycholinguistics, which involves the determination of real-time processing of language within human brains. Additionally, they aim to determine language acquisition by children through the branch of language acquisition and its' computation in mind through neuron linguistic. Findings from Charles Darwin research indicated that men had the instinctive tendency of speaking even when they are young children. This medium will be opposed to the incapability of children to possess inherent tendency of brewing, baking or writing. Therefore, language is an intricate talent and hence having a phenomenon in understanding how it works the sophisticated knowledge in the context of the science of language.
Language comprises of grammar that refers to the assembly of words, phrases and sentences and phonology relating to the study of sounds. Additionally, speech has semantics that involved the study of meaning and pragmatic in the study of the use of the word in conversation. Linguistics explain that even though national languages that are standard in different nations, they have nothing semester when compared to other dialects. Hence both languages have a diverse set of rules that guide sentence formation, making all languages have sophistication and complexity during their constructions.
Language comprises of complex intertwined elements of words, rules, and interfaces. The essential components of a sentence are words. They have large storages in the long-term memory in the part of the brain called mental-lexicon or mental dictionaries. Ferdinand De Saussure identified the word with regards to their arbitrariness for inculcating signs. For instance, the word duck can make one think about the picture and sound of a duck. Hence, at some point in persons' life, they memorized a group-form association between the word with its meaning and verbal tone. Such factors precipitate to the storage of the memory in a simplified form format within the inter-lexicon as a symbol which is the word itself. Additionally, there are memories with regards to the sounds and specification of meaning associated with the word.
The capacious nature of mental-lexicon allows for persons to learn new words every day for their lifetime continuously. The long-term memory capacity for storing meaning and sounds of different words in a sentence enhances comprehension of language by human beings. Because grammar is inseparable from speech, persons memorize them as means of issuing information.
Secondly, the essence of rules in languages includes algorithms when assembling bits of language into more complex forms of languages. Whereby, through the use of syntax through the assembly of words into phrase and sentences and morphology that assembles bits of words into complicated words through the addition of prefixes and suffixes to words. Additionally, there are rules regarding phonology that helps in combining vowels and consonants in small words. Hence, they help in enhancing creativity in the production of new words and sentences by human beings.
The agenda for linguistics creativity or productivity as set by Noam Chomsky is of immense importance in the understanding language. Therefore, the knowledge of the language does not only comprise of the long list of sentences but also of internalized grammar and algorithms for combining elements in new assemblies. It is therefore overt that the branch of human psychology that is a window into human mind is linguistics.
Within the vast nature of Language creativity, there exists syntax that cannot be related with meanings and does not consist of strings of a word by word association (Pennebaker, Mehl and Niederhoffer, 2003). Hence, the productivity of the next word in a sentence never relies on the production of previous words. According to stimulus-response theory, the transition between following words could be lacking even though they could be right sentences. However, the sequence of words lacks aspects of transitions from one word to the next.
Thirdly, speeches from other persons can be understood, and production of language by a person has capabilities of being perceived through the phenomenon of interfaces. There are long-distance dependencies in a speech in which one word dictates the use of another word at a later juncture within the sentence. The usage of one word causes people to wait for the second word within the sentence to make sense of a speech. Sentences with longer distance dependency infringe understanding capabilities for the short time memory to adequately comprehend. For example, when using the words if and then, understanding sentences with too many words between them is confusing. Such situation occurs because of developed destructions with the many words.
Facts Learned From the Film
o The long-term memory within mental-lexicon has a vast capacity and can record the gist or meaning of word aver long periods of time. Thus it enhances understanding of content and not just word formation in languages. Thereby forming part of cognitive psychology where language understanding acquires accurate interpretation of words in context. Tactic knowledge guides memorization of abstract of communication in semantics for understanding languages.
o Understanding sentences also require rapid and unconscious non-linguistic processing to make sense of the sentence. It is not only important to know actual words in the sentence, but also in comprehending the more profound meaning of words. It ensures that listeners understand passive knowledge of speech whose words may have more in-depth sense from their general representation.
o Language is an original rhythm that aggregates from millions of different contribution from people's reconstructions and use of slung as means of expressing themselves. However, there are other ways through which non-linguistic creatures convey information. It is through the use of sophisticated cognitive forms of communication in visual imagery by toddlers and animals. Hence, registration of causing effects from objects, the intention of others people and animal are known without using speech (University of Minnesota, 2015).
o Understanding language has nothing to do with the grammar in the language. The rules of the language are not necessary for understanding the information in the language. Distinctions between descriptive grammar on rules how people speak and prescriptive grammar that relates to how people ought to speak do not make sense in cognitive language. For instance, using two negatives like "lacking satisfaction" and "cannot get any satisfaction" are similar even though the latter is grammatically correct.
Language acquisition and processing within the mental lexicon of persons is an important study in psycholinguistics (Cieslicka-Ratajczak, 1994). This is because it is the central point for linking language processing for produced words. A semantic organization with regards to the L1 lexicon, explains studies typically in speech error, word association, neuro-linguistic research and word association.
Research analysis of word association within the mental lexicon had numerous reliable findings. These findings were deemed accurate because of the consistency attained in word associated experiments. The determination of psycholinguist response that emanates from subjects gives valuable information regarding the organization of words within the mental lexicon.
One finding indicated that persons always have coordinates of particular stimulus words, which belong to a similar semantic field. For instance, the response in subjects for the word moon was sun, stars or night. The subsequent words establish the cluster that belonged to one semantic field in regards to the stimulus of the moon. Additionally, they were all grouped within a similar level concerning details regarding their respective coordinates. Therefore, these findings determined that word association in persons often responded to words in ways that are likely attained collection with other stimulus words within a connected speech.
Cieslicka-Ratajczak, A. (1994). The mental lexicon in second language learning. Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan. Retrieved from https://repozytorium.amu.edu.pl/bitstream/10593/18066/1/08Cieslicka-Ratajczak.pdf
Pennebaker J. W., Mehl M. R. and Niederhoffer K. G., (2003). Psychological aspects of natural language use: our words, our selves. ResearchGate GmbH. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11202686_Psychological_Aspects_of_Natural_Language_Use_Our_Words_Our_Selves
The University of Minnesota, (2015). Communication in the real world: an introduction to communication studies: 4.2 types of non-verbal communication. M Libraries Publishing. Retrieved from http://open.lib.umn.edu/communication/chapter/4-2-types-of-nonverbal-communication/
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