Language Comprehension

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What is a mental model/ situational representation?
A representation of the meaning conveyed, constructed in memory as we read, in the real or imaginary world described in the text.
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Where is the active representation stored?
In the WM.
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What else can cause the creation of mental models (2)?
Direct experiences or movies.
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How do we acquire sentence meaning?
The propositions stated plus the "speech act."
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How do we understand discourse using prepositions?
By linking given and new prepositions within and across sentences.
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How may sentence structure be described?
As a tree-like hierarchy.
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What are function words?
The/ a/ an introduce noun phrases. Who/ which/ that are relative nouns, they introduce relative clauses.
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What are word-modifying "morphological inflections?"
Dog/ dogs/ dog's, I vomit/ he vomits/ I vomitted, tall/ taller/ tallest.
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What evidence is there for a specialised structure-computing module in our brain?
Some Broca's aphasia patients have trouble comprehending syntactically complex sentences, simple reversible sentences, and sentences whose meaning depends critically on affixes and function words.
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What is lexical ambiguity?
Words with several distinct senses.
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What is syntactic ambiguity?
Ambiguous sentence structures.
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What is ambiguity of reference?
For example, "John pointed out Bill's friend Paul, who gave HIM HIS hat."
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What is speech act ambiguity?
For example, P: "We are approaching take off." C: "Okay." (Acknowledgement or permission to take off).
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What can the surface form of utterances do?
Directly indicate a speech act.
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How can an utterance perform an indirect speech act of a different kind?
By uttering in a suitable context and with particular intonation.
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How must we infer the speech act intended?
From prosody, extra-linguistic cues, context, and general knowledge.
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How are some social/ legal speech acts signalled?
By the use of particular words or phrases that 'work' only in a felicitous context.
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What do we base inferences on when constructing a mental model?
Extra-linguistic context, general knowledge, prosody and body language, communication conventions, linguistic context (what has been said before).
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How do we usually disambiguate meaning?
Without awareness of the ambiguity or noticeable perturbation.
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What is the minimal commitment strategy?
Postpone interpretation until all potentially disambiguating information is available.
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What is the serial strategy?
Construct the most probable interpretation, back track if it's the wrong one.
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What is the parallel strategy?
Construct multiple interpretations in parallel, delete the ones that don't work.
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What is semantic priming?
Provides a measure of activation of the prime's meaning, and gives evidence for the parallel strategy.
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What does the strength of activation depend on (2)?
Degree of contextual constraint available, frequency of use of each meaning.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Where is the active representation stored?


In the WM.

Card 3


What else can cause the creation of mental models (2)?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


How do we acquire sentence meaning?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


How do we understand discourse using prepositions?


Preview of the front of card 5
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