Sunday, 11 October 2015


Language is one of the branch of cognitive processes alongside memory, perception, thought, reasoning judgement and action. The primary form of language is speech and the secondary is written language.

Language is a way of presenting and describing. One can use language to frame an event and shift the focus of an event. For example:
1. The dog is chasing the cat. (Focus is dog)
2. The cat is being chased by the dog. (Focus is cat)

Language is considered a cognitive process because language requires words recognition, understanding of syntax, goals and forming a plan.
1. Syntax - the sentence's order: a question, or a statement, etc.
2. Goals - understanding speaker's objective: what is his point?
3. Plan - response

Language has form:
Dual articulation - a stream of speech can be divided into meaningful signs (...the dog chases the cat...), which can be further subdivided into meaningless elements (cat, dog, chase). 

So, the first step is listing out the words and secondly shuffle it to make sense of it. And shuffling can be done in many different ways. 

"The finite number of components combining to produce an infinite arrangement of novel utterances is an important property of human language."

Language has meaning: 
It is about a subject. It has reference and aboutness.

Language has link between form and meaning:
1. Arbitrariness - For example, 'cat' means cat in English language and 'cat' means paint in Malay language.
2. Productivity - by knowing word and grammar, you can create a new word. 

Language has cognition continuity:
1. Onomatopoeia - word that resembles the source of the sound it describes. For example, "meow", "moo" and "bang". In other languages, "meow" is "nyan" (Japanese) and "yaong" (Korean).
2. Compound nouns - you can put two words together.
3. Sound symbolism - low pitched sound for large (big, large, gross) and high pitched sound for small (teeny, tiny, petit)

Animal communication also involves dialect and accent. For example, songbirds in different region has different song. The same goes to whale song. As for primate language teaching, vervet monkeys can assign different 'alarm'/noise to different predator. However, at best the can only have language comprehension of a two-year-old.

The tool used for capturing sound is called spectrogram. 

Verbal sound is made by manipulating air pressure in the larynx (contraction and relaxation) and moving the tongue to allow certain amount of air to pass through. However, the tongue moves in between sounds and as you are making a sound, your tongue is simultaneously moving to the next sound. This is called co-articulation.

In human being, the fundamental frequency and pitch for male is usually lower for male than female. However, until the age of 60 male's fundamental frequency and pitch gets higher and female's gets lower.

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