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Language And Cognition Essay

1022 words - 5 pages

Relating language and cognition

Axia College

Kristin Allen

When a mother hears her baby cry she automatically responds even though there may not be a clear form of language present, there is still communication. When we hear our pet dog cat meow or bak, we know what they want. Even though they are not speaking in what we would consider a language. It has been agreed upon by many that language is one of the hardest areas to study by both linguists and cognitive scientists. Language is a vital part of communication. Words carry with them heavy meaning and if not carefully monitored can cause much damage. Language is ...view middle of the document...

There are four major stages of language processing. They are phonemes , words , sentences and texts. At the first level we have phonemes. Phonemes are sounds. These sounds are what we use to create words. One first must understand how sounds are made before they can begin to form words. There are approximately 200 phonemes used in human language but only 46 of them are used in the English language. (Perlovsky, 2009) Even though the English language only uses less than a quarter of the phonemes used in language world wide, these 46 phoneme when combined using syntax and the rules of grammar create over 600,000 words. (Perlovsky, 2009) It is though this lexicon or gasp of vocabulary that we as humans are able to figure out pronunciation, spelling and the part of speech of each individual word. Phoneme is the most important part of the language steps because if the sounds are not learned correctly none of the other steps can be learned.

Once the phonemes and words are learned, a person can begin to construct meaningful sentences through this the creation of coherent text emerges. In short, the 46 phonemes in the English language can be combine through the steps to create either beautiful and moving words or hurtful ones.

So how does language and cognition relate? According to a theory called the Whorifan hypothesis, language affect our perception of reality. There are two schools of thought on this hypothesis, the first in the strong version which states that language categories not only determine but limit our cognitive categories. This school of thought however is not widely supported and remains somewhat controversial (webber, 2008) . However, there is a second school of thought on this theory; a weaker version that states language categories influence thought and cognitive categories but does not control them. (webber, 2008) In any respect it has been shown that language can definitely have an effect on our cognition. For example, memory representation can be influenced by the language that is used to recall memories. If for example you were ask a witness to a crime “what did the man look like?” the person will...

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