Semantic Memory and Language Production Thesis

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Semantic Memory and Language Production

Introduction and overview of semantic memory

Semantic memory is referred to as an aspect or part of long-term memory which is "…concerned with ideas, meanings, and concepts which are not related to personal experiences" ( What is Semantic Memory?) In other words, semantic memory is that form of memory that deal with concepts and ideas about things and the way that the meaning of objects and things in the external world are recognized and responded to correctly. Because of the way that semantic memory provides access to shared and common concepts and ideas in a society or culture it is an essential component of language production and necessary for the normal functioning of the individual in society.

A distinction however should be made between semantic memory and episodic memory. An example of the difference between these two types of memory also helps to shed light on the nature of semantic memory and the way that it relates to language. If two people are in a discussion about a cat, the word cat is recognized by both people in the conversation because of its semantic definition. The semantic definition of the concept or idea of a cat is learnt and shared by the two people in the process of language production. Each person may have a specific episodic memory of a cat that is derived from personal experience but this would not allow them to communicate and to develop interactive language skills if there was no shared semantic memory of the cat (What is Semantic Memory?).

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Both semantic and episodic memory constitutes what is known as declarative memory. Long-term memory also includes what is known as procedural memory; which is essentially the knowledge that has been associated in memory about how to accomplish certain tasks. These three different kinds of long-term memory "…all interact with each other to allow people to do everything from reading a book to flying a space shuttle." (What is Semantic Memory?).

Thesis on Semantic Memory and Language Production Introduction and Assignment

In essence semantic memory is the collation of all knowledge that an individual experiences -- and this includes language facilities such as vocabulary. In summary, the relationship between semantic memory and forms of language production and creation are fairly simple to discern. As one pundit states, …it is semantic memory which remembers what the different letters mean, and how they link together into words. Semantic memory also allows a reader to understand written communications in multiple fonts, since the brain understands the concept of a letter, rather than a specific example of a letter

(What is Semantic Memory?).

It is the difference between personal and general conceptual knowledge and ideas that can be shared which indicates the importance of this form of memory in language production.

2. The nature and functions of language.

In order to discuss the relationship between language production and semantic memory one first has to have some understanding of the meaning of language or what language is. The discussion of this subject takes place in terms of linguistic theory. Linguistics refers to the scientific study of language which "… endeavors to answer the question -- what is language and how is represented in the mind?"( Linguistics).

Furthermore, in order to communicate meaningfully language must have a certain understandable structure. It makes use of symbols which can refer to sounds or written characters that represent objects, actions and events. Language must also be able to convey and communicate ideas and concepts that the individual might not experience personally but which may have occurred at different times and in different places. (Learning and Conditioning)

The main purpose of language is communication and this would not be possible if there were no shared and general concepts and ideas that could be referred to in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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