Lecture 1 - An introduction to language

estonianmelonAI and Robotics

Oct 24, 2013 (4 years and 7 months ago)


The Psychology of Language






This module will provide an introduction to linguistic theory and to different levels of linguistic analysis,
and will then

go on to deal with central topics in the psychology of language, including parsing and word
meaning. The second part of the module concerns our understanding of the cognitive processes
necessary for reading, and will deal with word recognition, reading de
velopment, reading disability, and
reading as a skill requiring thinking.

The best general text for the first part of the module is:

Harley, T. (1995).
The Psychology of Language: from data to theory.

Hove: Erlbaum.

For the second part the text written
specifically to support the lectures is:

Underwood, G. & Batt, V. (1996).
Reading and Understanding.



Julian Pine’s part of the module will consist of 10 lectu
res as follows:

Lecture 1

An introduction to language

This lecture will describe some basic characteristics of human languages and provide an
introduction to different levels of linguistic description, including phonology, semantics,
morphology, syntax a
nd pragmatics and the way in which these levels interact in the
production of linguistic behaviour.

Lecture 2

Learning theory approaches

This lecture will provide an introduction to the Finite State Automaton, explain how it works
and why it is a poor mo
del of language use. It will explain the problem of serial order in
behaviour and Chomsky’s logical objections to FSA accounts of verbal behaviour

Lecture 3

Chomsky and the contribution of linguistics

This lecture will explain Chomsky’s views on the rela
tion between Psychology and Linguistics,

introduce students to Chomsky’s competence
performance distinction and illustrate these
ideas with an introduction to Transformational Grammar.

Lecture 4

Parsing I

The derivational theory of complexity

This lect
ure will explain Miller’s Derivational Theory of Complexity, review evidence
The Psychology of Language



collected in the 60s and 70s both for and against the theory, and provide a conceptual critique

of the theory which points out it problems of testability.

Lecture 5

Parsing II

Kimball's seven principles

This lecture will explain why more recent research has tended to focus on surface structure
parsing, explain with examples Kimball’s seven principles of surface structure parsing, and
discuss the strengths and weaknesses of thes
e principles as a model of surface structure

Lecture 6

Parsing III

The sausage machine

This lecture will explain the aims of Frazier and Fodor’s sausage machine model, how the
model works, how it fits the data and Wanner’s criticisms of the mod
el. The model will be
compared throughout with Kimball’s earlier model in order to bring out its strengths (as a
simple mechanistic model of parsing phenomena) and its weaknesses (i.e. the fact that its main
predictions turn out to be false)

Lecture 7

arsing IV

ATN approaches

This lecture will explain with examples how Augmented Transition Networks work, explain
their status as a framework for modelling parsing rather than as a model per se, and show
how they can be adapted to model certain parsing ph
enomena discussed in previous two

Lecture 8

Theories of word meaning

This lecture will provide an introduction to four different types of theory of word meaning,
namely network theories, feature theories, prototype theories and procedural semant
theories will be described and their different motivations and strengths and weaknesses

Lecture 9

Experimental Studies of word meaning I

This lecture will discuss network theories in the light of the data from experiments using the
entence verification task. It will review the evidence for and against Collins and Quillian’s
original model, describe Collins and Loftus’s subsequent Spreading Activation model, explain
how the later model accounts for the experimental data and discuss th
e strengths and
weaknesses of the Spreading Activation model.

Lecture 10

Experimental studies of word meaning II

This lecture will discuss feature and prototype models in the light of the data from experiments
using the sentence verification task. It wil
l review the evidence for and against feature and
protype models, and explain how earlier versions of these models have been modified to deal
with the experimental data.

The Psychology of Language



References for Language Part A (JP)

Chomsky and Learning Theory Approaches (Lecture
s 1, 2 + 3)

Aitchison, J. (1989). The articulate mammal: an introduction to psycholinguistics (3rd edition). London:

Aitchison, J. (1992). Teach yourself Linguistics. Bradford: Teach yourself books.

Allen, J. P. B. & Van Buren, P. (1971). Chom
sky: selected readings. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Chapters 6: Language Acquisition.

Chomsky, N. (1958). Review of 'Verbal Behaviour' by B. F. Skinner. Language, 38, 26

Elman, J. L. (1993). Learning and development in neural networks: the importa
nce of starting small.
Cognition, 48, 71

Lashley, K. S. (1961). The problem of serial order in behaviour. In S. Saporta (ed). Psycholinguistics: a
book of readings. New York: Holt Rinehart & Winston.

Lee, D. (1986). Language, children and society: an i
ntroduction to linguistics and language development.
Chapter 3: Grammar.

Pinker, S. (1994). The language instinct: the new science of language and mind. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Slobin, D. I. (1979). Psycholinguistics. Chapter 1: What is grammar?

Parsing (
Lectures 4, 5, 6 + 7)

Fodor, J. A., Bever, T. G. & Garrett, M. F. (1974). The psychology of language: an introduction to
psycholinguistics and generative grammar. New York: McGraw Hill (pp. 313

Foss, D. J. & Hakes, D. T. (1978). Psycholinguistics: a
n introduction to the psychology of language.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall (pp 115

Frazier, L. & Fodor, J. D. (1978). The sausage machine: a new two
stage parsing model. Cognition, 6, 291

Fodor, J. D. & Frazier, L. (1980). Is the human se
ntence parsing mechanism an ATN? Cognition, 8, 417

Garnham, A. (1983). Why psycholinguists don't care about DTC: a reply to Berwick and Weinberg.
Cognition, 15, 263

Kimball, J. Seven principles of surface structure parsing in natural language. C
ognition, 2, 15

Wanner, E. (1980). The ATN and the sausage machine: which one is baloney? Cognition, 8, 209

Wanner, E. & Maratsos, M. (1978). An ATN approach to comprehension. In M. Halle, J. Bresnan & G. A.
Miller (eds.), Linguistic theory and ps
ychological reality. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Word Meaning (Lectures 8, 9 + 10)

Collins, A. M. & Quillian, M. R. (1969). Retrieval time from semantic memory. Journal of Verbal Learning
and Verbal Behaviour, 4, 112

Collins, A. M. & Loftus, E. F.
(1975). A spreading
activation theory of semantic processing. Psychological

Review, 82, 407

Conrad, C. (1972). Cognitive economy in semantic memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 92, 149

Heider, E. R. (1972). Universals in color naming and
memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 93, 10

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Hollan, J. D. (1975). Features and semantic memory: set
theoretic or network model? Psychological
Review, 82, 154

Laird, P. N. (1977). Procedural semantics. Cognition, 5, 189

Rips, L.

J., Shoben, E. J. & Smith, E. E. (1973). Semantic distance and the verification of semantic relations.
Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behaviour, 12, 1

Rips, L. J., Smith, E. E. & Shoben, E. J. (1975). Set theoretic and network models reconsider
ed: a comment
on Hollan's 'Features and semantic memory'. Psychological Review, 82, 156

Rosch, E. R. (1973). Natural categories. Cognitive Psychology, 4, 328

Rosch, E. R., Mervis, C. B., Gray, W., Johnson, D. & Boyes
Braem, P. (1976). Basic objec
ts in natural
categories. Cognitive Psychology, 8, 382

Schaeffer, B. & Wallace, R. (1969). Semantic similarity and the comprehension of word meanings. Journal
of Experimental Psychology, 82, 343

Schaeffer, B. & Wallace, R. (1970). The comparison
of word meanings. Journal of Experimental
Psychology, 86, 144

Smith, E. E., Shoben, E. J. & Rips, L. J. (1974). Structure and process in semantic memory: a featural model
for semantic decisions. Psychological Review, 81, 214

Tabossi, P. & Johnson
Laird, P. N. (1980). Linguistic context and the priming of semantic information.
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 34, 79

The Psychology of Language





This part of the Psychology of Language module (C82LAN) concerns
our understanding of written
language. What are the cognitive processes necessary for word recognition and reading, how do these
processes vary with reading skill, and what sensitivity is shown to the propositional structure of texts? In

what ways do a re
ader’s eye movements indicate the cognitive processes necessary for comprehension?

The text for this part of the module is

Reading and Understanding

by G. Underwood & V. Batt, 1996

(Oxford: Blackwells ).

This text is based upon the lectures presented
in this half of the module. Specific references mentioned in
the lectures are described in the book.

Lecture 1: Reading as information processing

An introduction to three levels of representation when reading

a surface level at which words are
ed and syntactic structures constructed, a propositional level at which the ideas in the sentence
are recognised, and a level at which a mental model is formed with use of inferences. Sources of
information contained in print, and the use of redundancy dur
ing reading. Orthographic rules in English,
and the spelling
sound conversion rules. Learning to read and the importance of being able to convert
print into a speech
based code. The role of phonological awareness. Alternative writing systems, and
ling reform" movements.

This lecture will also introduce a three
process model of reading. Process 1 requires the creation of a
surface structure representation, and involves word recognition and syntactic parsing. The initial lectures
concern this level
of processing (Julian Pine’s lectures cover syntactic parsing). Process 2 generates a
propositional textbase in which the main ideas in the sentence are identified and linked to provide a
representation of the meaning of the sentence. Processes 1 and 2 are

essential for comprehension.
Process 3 gererates an abstract mental model of the events described in the sentence, supplementing the
propositional textbase with other knowledge, and allowing inferences to be drawn. This final process is
not obligatory, bu
t is usually performed by skilled readers. The final few lectures describe Processes 2
and 3

the higher level processes necessary for skilled comprehension.

Lecture 2: Variations in the ease of word recognition

What are the data to be taken into account

by any model of word recognition (e.g., word frequency;
repetition; word superiority; orthography and context effects), and what does the pseudohomophone
effect tell us about reading? Developments of the logogen (or word
detector) model.

Lecture 3: Model
s of lexical access: lexical ambiguity

Do we have multiple lexical representations for polysemous words such as "mint" and "light"? Are all
meanings accessed when one of these polysemous words is presented, or is access selective?

Lecture 4: Reading abili
ty differences: the use of context

Individual differences in the relationship between reading skill and the use of context in word recognition,
in young readers. Automatic vs. strategical use of context, and automatic vs. strategical processes in
word reco
gnition. How search models of lexical access can provide a fit for the data.

The Psychology of Language



Lecture 5: Reading ability differences: variations in skill

What distinguishes a good reader from a less successful reader, and how do reading processes develop
between initial a
cquisition and mature skill? This lecture will consider differences between dyslexics, poor
readers, good readers, and speed readers.

Lecture 6: Reading ability differences: eye movements

What do patterns of eye movements indicate about the reading proces
s? Changes in fixation durations,
saccade lengths, and numbers of regressive saccades as a function of reading skill. Is reading ability
indicated by patterns of inspection?

Lecture 7: Theories of eye
movement control during reading

Theories of guidance v
ary from random control models (no guidance of the eyes by cognitive processes),
to linguistic control models (sensitivity of eye movements to linguistic variations), to parafoveal guidance
models (processing of the text ahead of fixation to help us determ
ine where to look next).

Lecture 8: Eye
movement investigations of sentence


What can investigations of eye movements tell us about the cognitive processes at work during sentence
comprehension? The appearance of longer fixation t
imes and regressive saccades can indicate the
difficulty of comprehension.

Lecture 9: The propositional structure of text

A non
linguistic description of the propositional structure of texts, and some experimental tests of
Kintsch's propositional model in

natural reading tasks. Microstructure and macrostructure processing
during the reading of coherent prose.

Lecture 10: Using inferences while reading

Reading as externally guided thinking. The use of inference in language comprehension, and the
n of relationships within texts. At what point do we draw inferences? Distinctions between
elaborative and causal inferences.

The Psychology of Language




The module will be examined with a two
hour unseen paper containing questions from

both parts of the
module. Questions from each part of the module will be contained within separate sections of the
examination paper. One question should be answered from each part of the exam paper. There will be three

questions in each part of the paper
, and a maximum of two hours allowed in the exam. Sample questions,
that can also be used as the basis for tutorial discussions, are as follows.

Language Part A

1. How has linguistic theory contributed to our understanding of natural language proce

2. What is the problem of serial order in behaviour and how can it be solved?

3. Why does Chomsky distinguish between Competence and Performance and what are the implications
of this distinction for the study of natural language processing?

4. What
is the Derivational Theory of Complexity and why is it a poor model of the computation of
syntactic structure?

5. Why don't psychologists care about the Derivational Theory of Complexity?

6. How is the syntactic structure of sentences computed during compr

7. Compare and contrast Kimball's (1973) model and Frazier and Fodor's (1978) model of surface structure
parsing. What are their relative strengths and weaknesses?

8. The ATN and the sausage machine: which one is baloney?

9. Compare and contrast
feature, network and prototype theories of word meaning. What are their relative
strengths and weaknesses?

10. 'What's in a word?' How is knowledge about word meaning stored in the mind?

Language Part B

11. Would it be a good idea or a bad idea to
regularise English spellings? Would spelling reform make
learning to read any easier?

12. What do models of word recognition need to explain? Do logogen models or search models account
for variations in the ease of recognition?

13. What cognitive processes

distinguish between skilled readers, poor readers, and dyslexic readers?

14. How do skilled and unskilled readers differ in their use of context when reading?

15. What is that we have to learn when we learn to read?

16. What can we learn about reading pro
cesses by watching the reader’s eyes?

17. Describe the formation of propositions in the reader’s situational model.

18. At what point do we make inferences when reading?