Thursday, August 5, 2010

Semantic cognition and linguistic abilities

If the title of that sounds a little strange, it has something to do with what i have been observing with Sophia.

Husband and I took the girls to the long overdue trip to the mannu playground. I have a dream of making a sand tub for the girls in the garden/ lift lobby - where they could play with the sand and then we could sweep the sand back into the tub for another day. ofcourse, the sand can be periodically washed to ensure that it remains relatively clean, but in the apartment, I guess it is sufficient if the washing is done every six months or so.

"You know," I was telling husband, "When Sophia talks, she says only the keywords, like 'Mickey Mouse take hand moon' or 'mannu plum going Shapia' or 'Mummy winniethepooh book ead'. The order of the words or the linking verbs are not important. However, when she listens, she listens for the whats and the whys and answers accordingly. What does that tell us about the process of understanding and generation? Is the first phase of learning simply an association of keywords or does semantics come into play?"

"For instance, if I make a story about a forest, you would think of, say animals"

"tiger!" piped up Sophia

"and tigers"

"Anai!", she continued

"And elephants. The point is that based on our experience, some words are more correlated with the context than other words and the story that we generate depends on them"

"The tiger ate Sophia", said Anjali

"Exactly. Anjali would make a sentence like this because of her experience with language. But an adult may not"

"Anai Anchaali eat!", countered Sophia.

Anjali gave Sophia a look, then turned upwards. The night sky was dark, as there were very little light from the buildings in the park.

"I see something blinking", said Anjali.

Husband glanced up.

"Its an aeroplane". He said.

"Aeroplane. blinking". repeated Sophia.

"Now see", said husband. "Blinking is a new word, and she remembers it with aeroplane"

"Yup. But she may not remember aeroplane with blinking", I explained - all the semantic cognition that i studied was being put into practical use.  "The probability of aeroplane|blink is higher than the probability of blink| aeroplane. Sophia, what does the aeroplane do?"

"bl... flying" she said.

"There you are" i said. We then got into discussing bayesian probabilities and such while Anjali poured water in the sand and Sophia helped me to pile sand into the drums that i had brought from home.

"What you guys are talking about?" asked Anjali.

"About mummy's work, and about you" I said. Because the two are so linked together.

No comments:

Post a Comment

For your little notes and ideas