Pinker Chapter 3 Presentation

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download




<ul><li> 1. The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker Chapter 3 Graphic Organizer by Sheila Cook</li></ul> <p> 2. What is Mentalese? </p> <ul><li>As Steven Pinker defines it,mentaleseis the language of thought (45). </li></ul> <ul><li>Throughout the chapter, Pinker discusses the same question.</li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Isthought dependant on words?</li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>So I ask you, is it?? </li></ul></li></ul> <p> 3. NO! </p> <ul><li> The idea that thought is the same thing as language is an example ofconventional absurdity: a statement that goes against all common sense but that everyone believes because they dimly recall having heard it somewhere and because it is so pregnant with implications (Pinker, 47). </li></ul> <p> 4. Thats Not What I Meant to Say </p> <ul><li>As Pinker discusses, often we catch ourselves saying something that we simply did not mean to say, grasping for words that we cannot seem to fine, although we know what we want to say.How, then, must thoughts be words when we mean to say one thing and say another, or when we cannot find the words to convey exactly what it is that we mean? </li></ul> <p> 5. </p> <ul><li>It has never been proven that language dramatically shapes the way its speakers think (Pinker, 48). </li></ul> <ul><li>Pinker makes a very strong argument against language shaping our thoughts.He explains that English speakers do not see colors differently than, lets say Spanish speakers, simply because we have different names for the color.Regardless of if you call it rojo or red, a Macintosh Apple is always going to be the same color. </li></ul> <p> 6. Subjunctive Construction </p> <ul><li>As English speakers, we are accustomed to saying things like I Kate were to go to the store, she would see Amy.Because of this construction, we are used to seeing and dealing with hypothetical situations.</li></ul> <ul><li>Bloom concluded that because of our familiarity with the subjunctive, English speakers are better able to entertain hypothetical false worlds without great mental effort (Pinker, 57), as opposed to Chinese speakers whose language does not include a subjective construction. </li></ul> <p> 7. Flaws in Blooms Experiment </p> <ul><li>Terry Au, Tohtaro Takano, and Lisa Liu all found flaws in Blooms Experiment </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Hypothetical situations were written in stilted Chinese so the Chinese participants were already disadvantaged </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>The stories written were generally ambiguous as is </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>The Chinese students tended to have more extensive training in the topics discussed in the stories and would therefore be betterat detectingthe ambigities that Bloom himself missed </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>When all of these flaws were corrected, Blooms findings were disregarded because the differences vanished proving that even though Chinese does not have the subjective case, Chinese speakers still understand hypothetical situations. (Pinker, 57) </li></ul></li></ul> <p> 8. </p> <ul><li>Babies are another great example of how thought cannot be language based. </li></ul> <ul><li>Babies have thoughts, we are all aware of this.But, babies have thoughts well before they have developed language. </li></ul> <ul><li>In fact, Wynns</li></ul> <ul><li>experience proved that</li></ul> <ul><li>babies as young asfive</li></ul> <ul><li>days oldare sensitive</li></ul> <ul><li>to number! </li></ul> <p>5 day old baby- Look! Hes even surprised at how many thoughts hes having, and he hasnt developed language yet! 9. Kubla Khan </p> <ul><li>a poem written by Coleridge</li></ul> <ul><li>He transcribed the first four lines of the poem based solely onvisual images of scenesandwordswhich appeared before him, reportedly while on opium. </li></ul> <ul><li>If thoughts are only words, how could Coleridge have written based on visual images? He couldnt! </li></ul> <p>Lithograph of Poem 10. Shepards Letter Rotation Experiment </p> <ul><li>Shepard proved through his letter rotation experiment, that subjects had to mentally rotate each image to tell if the rotated letter he was shown was backwards or forwards. </li></ul> <ul><li>The farther away the letter was from being right side up, the longer it took for the subject to figure out which way it was placed. </li></ul> <ul><li>Showing that visual thinking uses not language but a mental graphics system, wit operations that rotate, scan, zoom, pan, displace and fill in patters of contours (Pinker, 63). </li></ul> <p> 11. Turing Machine and the Little Man Theory </p> <ul><li>Alan Turing described a hypothetical machinewith the capacity to reason. </li></ul> <ul><li>This machine, however, did not have the capacity to reason on its own, the proper formula. </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Ex: If A = B and B = C, then A = C </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>We also make this assertion above.While the Turing machine has no understanding of the concept, it simply follows the equation given, is that how our own minds operate? </li></ul> <ul><li>(Pinker, 64-69) </li></ul> <p> 12. NO! </p> <ul><li>The English language, and every other language, cannot operate in that manner due to a few issues: </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Ambiguity </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Lack of Logical Explicitness </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li> Co-Reference </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li> Deixis </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Synonymy (Pinker, 69-72) </li></ul></li></ul> <p> 13. Conclusions </p> <ul><li> People do not think in English or Chinese or Apache; they think in a language of thought (Pinker, 72). </li></ul> <ul><li> Mentalese must be simpler than spoken language; conversation-specific words and constructions (likeaandthe ) are absent, and information about pronouncing words, or even ordering them, is unnecessary (Pinker, 73). </li></ul> <ul><li> Knowing a language, then, is knowing how to translate mentalese into strings of words and vice versa (Pinker, 73). </li></ul> <p> 14. Citations </p> <ul><li>Pinker, S. (1994). The language</li></ul> <ul><li>instinct. (pp.44-73). New York:</li></ul> <ul><li>Harper Perennial Modern Classics. </li></ul> <ul><li>Google Images(n.d.) Retrieved from = </li></ul> <ul><li>en&amp;tab=wi </li></ul>