Language Paper

1574 Words Sep 17th, 2010 7 Pages
Language Paper
Michelle Langmesser
June 6, 2010
Eboni Sheilds

Definition of Language “Many definitions of language have been suggested. An English Phonetician and language scholar, Henry Sweet stated, Language is the expression of ideas by means of speech-sounds combined into words. Words are combined into sentences, this combination answering to that of ideas into thoughts” (language, 2010). The American linguists George L. Trager and Bernard Bloch have the following definition, a language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by means of which a social group cooperates. Any concise definition of language makes a number of assumptions and brings up many questions. The first focuses on thought and the second on
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A further complication of language perception is the phenomenon of co-articulation in phonemes. For instance, one phoneme can be pronounced differently or be semantically cued by other words in a sentence. This type of language ambiguity is overcome by the rules of grammar and word syntax, which govern the placement of particular phonemes within words and particular words within sentences. In brief, the speech stream nature of language and phenomenon of co-articulation can be surmounted through the mechanisms of phonemic cueing and the rules of grammar and word syntax, respectively.
Language Processing in Cognitive Psychology
The most extreme version of the Whorfian hypothesis stipulates that language literally determines our perception of reality. This radical form of the Whorfian hypothesis has received little support in the psychological community, for lack of evidence; however, a milder form of the hypothesis has been substantiated through methodologically rich experimentation. Language appears to have a biasing effect on a few cognitive functions, such as color naming and memory representations. In the area of color naming, several studies found that language is quite significant in determining the types of color mismatches that people of different languages will make. A deceased color naming vocabulary brings about color ambiguity when colors are very close together; whereas, with languages that have an enumeration of terms for color shades

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