Linguistics

Classification

The human ability to categorize relationships using language is often more pronounced than the similar ability to categorize non-verbally. Experiments were conducted to understand this discrepancy, using preschoolers to test classification skills. These experiments tested three and four-year-olds, who were given ‘clues’ to center their attention on certain categories. The three clues were category labels, sets of typical category instances, or typical instances with instructions to consider the instances as a group.

Classification of Language

The study of the relation between various languages culminates in the classification of these languages. Language families are primarily related through succession from a common ancestral language, known as the "proto-language" of that family. The relationship between languages can be determined by examining “archaeological cultures and genetic populations”, which cumulatively shape the languages and give them their own identity. The correlation between these factors can be observed in order to establish a classification of languages.

Baby Talk

Baby talk is a special form of speech used by adults when talking to infants or toddlers. It simplifies communication by utilizing a higher pitch and more articulation compared to normal speech. Baby talk can have a profound impact on how a child develops. A study, which examined the way mothers spoke to their 8-week old infants, found poetic textures in the mothers' voices, “specifically its use of metrics, phonetics, and foregrounding”, which helped mold and guide the baby’s attention.

Abstraction in Speech

In linguistics, abstraction is when a term usually used to describe one object is used to describe a new object, independent of the original. Generally, this occurs when a word originally used to describe an object begins to accumulate alternative uses. A study looked into the use of abstraction by observing the generally accepted grammatical categories of speech. It found that “most parts of speech contained certain categories that were related to abstractness and certain others related to concreteness”.

Antonyms

Antonyms are words that are opposite in meaning to other words. The universality of linguistic processes has long been debated. However, new evidence suggests that "many linguistic processes are cross-culturally common and likely to be a function of human physiology." One such commonality is the use of antonyms. A study found a "pronounced pattern of cross-cultural agreement concerning the manner in which antonyms are employed." This supports the argument that antonymic meaning is a universal phenomena rather than a culturally specific one.

Facial Expression of Fear

The amygdala is an almond-shaped mass of grey matter in the brain, which has been linked to the emotions of anger and fear. A study attempted to monitor the activity in the amygdala when subjects were presented with facial expressions of fear and anger. This particular study found that significantly increased levels of oxygenated blood were delivered to the amygdala when facial expressions of fear were observed, as opposed to angry or neutral expressions.

Facial Expression of Disgust

Social interactions produce an array of facial expressions which can change rapidly. An expression of disgust is something that is easily recognized by humans and can be identified in both dynamic and static faces. A study was conducted to see how much of an influence movement had in the identification of emotional disgust, compared to emotions that were seen in a static form.

Facial Expression of Anger

Anger is a natural emotion felt by all humans. Notably, members of all cultures around the world are able to discern anger from facial expressions, suggesting that both the emotion and its accompanying facial expressions are universal. This concept was tested in babies to try to determine what age humans begin to feel anger and when anger becomes apparent on their faces.

Language and Facial Recognition

The process of human face recognition is intrinsic to interpersonal relationships and communication. It has been documented that there are seven fragments of information that can be “extracted” from a person’s face: “pictorial, structural, visually derived semantic, identity-specific semantic, name, expression, and facial speech codes”. Recognition of familiar faces sparks the creation of “identity-specific semantic codes” that aid in identification and retrieval of names.

Conjunctions

In grammar, a conjunction is a part of speech that connects two words or phrases together. Conjunctions are an important feature of linguistics, as they convey that two or more events or ideas should be considered jointly. They can express either temporal relationships or causal relationships between two events. The effect of using a conjunction is dependent on the ability to correctly identify the relationship it signifies.

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