Niels O. Schiller and Rinus G. Verdonschot
This chapter describes how speakers access words from the mental lexicon. Lexical access is a crucial component in the process of transforming thoughts into speech. Some theories consider lexical access to be strictly serial and discrete, while others view this process as being cascading or even interactive, i.e. the different sub-levels influence each other. We discuss some of the evidence in favour and against these viewpoints, and also present arguments regarding the ongoing debate on how words are selected for production. Another important issue concerns the access to morphologically complex words such as derived and inflected words, as well as compounds. Are these accessed as whole entities from the mental lexicon or are the parts assembled online? This chapter tries to provide an answer to that question as well.
This article provides details on human speech production involving a range of physical features, which may have evolved as specific adaptations for this purpose. All mammalian vocalizations are produced similarly, involving features that primarily evolved for respiration or ingestion. Sounds are produced using the flow of air inhaled through the nose or mouth, or expelled from the lungs. Unvoiced sounds are produced without the involvement of the vocal folds of the larynx. Mammalian vocalizations require coordination of the articulation of the supralaryngeal vocal tract with the flow of air, in or out. An extensive series of harmonics above a fundamental frequency, F0 for phonated sounds is produced by resonance. These series are filtered by the shape and size of the vocal tract, resulting in the retention of some parts of the series, and diminution or deletion of others, in the emitted vocalization. Human sound sequences are also much more rapid than those of non-human primates, except for very simple sequences such as repetitive trills or quavers. Human vocal tract articulation is much faster, and humans are able to produce multiple sounds on a single breath movement, inhalation or exhalation. The unique form of the tongue within the vocal tract in humans is considered to be a key factor in the speech-related flexibility of supralaryngeal vocal tract.
John H. Schumann
Neuroscience has made enormous strides in the last two decades. This article focuses on the concept of applied linguistics and the neurobiology of language. This article focuses on some issues related to the development of a neurobiology of language in applied linguistics. The first section discusses research on the neural underpinnings of language from a theoretical perspective, laying out hypotheses about what systems may support language acquisition. These proposals about the biological substrate for language are made even though the technology to investigate them may not yet exist. The second section addresses some reservations researchers have had about the relevance of neuroimaging research, and also explore the profound attraction such research have for scientists and applied linguists in particular. Next, the problem of finding of cognitive ontology that is appropriate for research on the brain is discussed. Finally, the problem of deciding what aspects of language are relevant for neurobiological investigation is the focus.
Are other animals as smart as great apes? Do others provide better models for the evolution of speech or language?
Kathleen R. Gibson
This article reviews recent evidence for advanced, language-pertinent, cognitive capacities in birds and mammals and evaluates the potential suitability of song and other animal vocal behaviors as models for the evolution of speech. Dolphins are extremely vocal, exhibit intelligence across a number of behavioral domains, are highly social, and often cooperate to herd schools of fish. Dolphins can also recognize themselves in mirrors, coordinate body postures and swimming patterns with those of other dolphins, and imitate each other's vocalizations, including unique signature whistles which serve for individual recognition among adults and in the mother-infant dyad. The only other non-primate mammals whose “language” capacities appear to have been investigated are domestic dogs. Some have also claimed that domestic dogs equal or exceed great apes in social intelligence. It is reported that both elephants and spotted hyenas are unusually intelligent. Elephants remember and recognize by olfactory and visual means numerous conspecifics and classify them into social groups. They also sometimes cooperate to achieve joint goals and seem to understand others' intentions and emotions. Elephants have highly manipulative trunks, use tools for varied purposes, may recognize themselves in mirrors, and may have a stronger numerical sense than non-human primates. They have elaborate vocal, olfactory, tactile, and gestural communication systems and can imitate some sounds.
Howard Lasnik and Jeffrey L. Lidz
This article explores what Noam Chomsky called ‘the argument from poverty of the stimulus’: the argument that our experience far underdetermines our knowledge and hence that our biological endowment is responsible for much of the derived state. It first frames the poverty of the stimulus argument either in terms of the set of sentences allowed by the grammar (its weak generative capacity) or the set of structures generated by the grammar (its strong generative capacity). It then considers the five steps to a poverty argument and goes on to discuss the possibility that children can learn via indirect negative evidence on the basis of Bayesian learning algorithms. It also examines structure dependence, polar interrogatives, and artificial phrase structure and concludes by explaining how Universal Grammar shapes the representation of all languages and enables learners to acquire the complex system of knowledge that undergirds the ability to produce and understand novel sentences.
This article introduces new work on the fundamental attentional system of language, while in part providing a framework in which prior linguistic work on attention can be placed. In a speech situation, a hearer may attend to the linguistic expression produced by a speaker, to the conceptual content represented by that expression, and to the context at hand. But not all of this material appears uniformly in the foreground of the hearer's attention. Rather, various portions or aspects of the expression, content, and context have differing degrees of salience. When the basic attentional factors combine and interact, the further attentional effects that result include incremental gradation, convergence, and conflict. This article discusses factors involving properties of the morpheme, factors involving morphology and syntax, factors involving forms that set attention outside themselves, phonological properties within an utterance including those of individual morphemes, factors involving properties of the referent, factors involving the relation between reference and its representation, factors involving the occurrence of representation, and factors involving properties of temporal progression.
Friedemann Pulvermüller, Bert Cappelle, and Yury Shtyrov
Monique Lamers and Esther Ruigendijk
Case provides the language user with a rich source of information for conveying meaningful messages in natural language use. Psycholinguistic research has shown that in the intact human language system, the morphologically realised case might help to distinguish the arguments, identify the syntactic function, and trigger certain parsing mechanisms, such as attachment decisions, establishing phrase boundaries, and, thus, providing essential information for comprehension. The question arises if and how a disturbance of the language system as in aphasia affects this ability to use case information. This article starts with a brief introduction to aphasiology, sketching the language problems known to characterise the different aphasic syndromes. It then discusses some important accounts for the aphasic impairment in language comprehension, either directly addressing morphological case in the impaired language system or highly related issues, such as the comprehension of canonical and non-canonical sentences. For production, the emphasis is on cross-linguistic findings on the realisation of case-marked entities such as demonstrative pronouns and pronouns.
Margaret H. Freeman
The emergence of cognitive linguistics has encouraged the development of new relations between literature and linguistics. Just as literary texts may serve as legitimate data for understanding the principles of language structure and use, linguistic analysis offers new perspectives on literary production, interpretation, reception, and evaluation. Although “literature” in its broadest sense refers to all written texts, this article restricts its scope to the more narrowly focused term used to cover the literary genres of fiction, poetry, and drama, written instances of humor, multimedia forms such as film, and religious writings that display literary qualities, such as the Bible and mystic poetry. All these writings are oriented toward the expressive, the emotive, and the aesthetic; it is here that the more inclusive approach of cognitive poetics may serve as a guide for further developments in the interdisciplinary area of linguistics and literature. This article also explores prototypicality and the notion of literature, conceptual structure in human cognition and narrative, metaphor and blending in literary texts, and embodiment, iconicity, and neurology in literary form and affect.
John R Taylor
The object of the polemics is constituted by a cluster of trends in formalist, especially Chomskyan linguistics, trends which may conveniently be brought under the heading “autonomous linguistics.” A recurring theme has been that cognitive linguistics differentiates itself from “autonomous linguistics” in virtue of its claim that language is embedded in more general cognitive abilities. The rejection of autonomy often takes the form of more specific claims, for example, that syntactic (and morphological) patterning is inherently meaningful, that syntax, morphology, and lexicon form a continuum, and that semantics is inherently encyclopedic in scope. The cognitive linguistics enterprise offers a distinct perspective on language acquisition. This article explores the terms of the polemics which have been so prominent in much cognitive linguistics work. It also reviews some of the theoretical and methodological issues which characterize autonomous linguistics and looks at some recent developments in autonomous linguistics, which testify to a certain degree of convergence on positions characteristic of cognitive linguistics. Finally, the article addresses the extent to which autonomy is relevant to the polemics between cognitive and generative linguistics.