3. The role of feedback in language use

With regard to feedback phenomena in language use, the human nervous system remains of primary reference, since neither linguistic competence nor linguistic performance are mere abstract entities, but are mediated by the physical structure of the human brain (Puppel, 1992). Program and feedback to become assessed for human neuro-behavioral priority, universalist tendencies in linguistics are analyzed with concern to natural language permanence and standards. Language behavior to require the physical parameter of speech and writing, human sensory processing opens the consideration on the role of feedback in language use.

3.1. Sensory signal processing by the brain

The brain works on sensory signal in a parallel-distributed manner. Sensory tissue converts impulses into graded and action potentials to be sent to input consolidating areas. The biological code the brain operates during processing differs materially from the input signal with which it corresponds. Integrating inputs, the brain does not translate the processing code back into the stimulus quality, compound brain codes to account for perception (Vander et al., 1985).

The difference between sensory impulses and transmission codes compares with that between sensory alteration and perception. Afferent impulses of no conscious correlate most often become discarded, the term perception to apply to conscious recognition from neural input. Signal transfer in the brain is inseparable from signal interpretation, relayed processing to split signal into aspects communicable to specific neural sets (ibidem).

For visual processing, brain frontal lobes integrate information on object identity to have arrived via temporal tissues; object spatial component has inputs from brain occipital and parietal areas. Inputs from retinal distinctive sites to reach specialized brain destinations simultaneously, lateral geniculate nuclei are important relay centers that assist focus. The nuclei support the thalamic function, brainstem and cerebellar patterns for eye and head coordination, fixation of gaze, and pupil constriction. Pupillary response can be an indicator for processing workload (Zimmer, 1993).

Relayed processing allows cognitive detachment from motor behavior, thinking not to require bodily movement. Of the cortical structures that synchronize distributed signal for reassembly, angular gyri neighbor on brain visual, auditory, as well as tactile specialized locales. The gyri are notable in object identification and naming (Puppel, 1992). The distributed manner uses multiple feedback paths, afferent sites to favor proximity with efferent capacities. Inclusive of language, human sensory processing can be presented as in Figure 5.

Figure 5. A feedback model for human sensory processing (compare Vander et al., 1985).

Visual focus to emerge with ontogenetically acquired re-afference, in feedback also with the vestibular system, and active palpation to coalesce with tactile receptiveness, hearing is unique in its use of efferent pathways of no learned component. The paths project from the brainstem to the cochlea and end on both the hair cells and afferent terminals. The function is not certain; surgically deprived animals showed impediment in discriminating signal sound from noise. Ancillary mechanisms for isolating signal from background might work also in humans (Vander et al., 1985).

3.2. Pathway length and efficiency

Parietal inner and outer regions are prominent for neural path scope of transfer. The outer areas neighbor on primary sensory cytostructures directly. The inner work on compound modality data, for pattern identification and permanence. This is inner parietal integration to afford the relatively sustained sense for verticality, in head changed positions. For neural path length and speed, parieto-limbic linkage may bring highly processed signal of emotional eminence (Vander et al, 1984).

Looping with the thalamus and the amygdalae, limbic paths can alter homeostasis, decision making, memory, and lexical access (ibidem). “Emotional hijacks” would even suggest an ability by the brain to establish “express” links in response to psychological or physical distress (in Goleman, 1997). There is yet no “emotional system” in the brain, override on frontal scopes to eventuate limitation in intellectual and linguistic aptitude, thus denying terms of advantage.

Quillian’s experiments on semantic processing implied pathway length for directly proportional to the time of signal interpretation. Reflection on human processing yet solicited varied “weight”, for individual nodes in his network models for memory (Kurcz, 1992). In the light, the “rule of force” (in Puppel, 1992) invites a reservation on behavior priority as instructed with statistics: potential for behavior universality continues to inspire disputes among psychologists and physicians (Goleman, 1997).

3.3. The speech act

Speech motor patterns may be implemented only upon integration of command and afferent variables, as on articulator status (Vander et al., 1985; Puppel, 1992). The neocortex communicates with articulator muscles via multineuronal pathways, cerebral and corticospinal. Cerebral paths loop the neocortex and the brainstem, basal ganglia, and cerebellum. Corticospinal axons end directly on the alpha and gamma motor neurons, and interneurons (Puppel, 1988); they also may branch on afferent neurons presynaptically, the ascending information to enhance focus on the concurrent act (Vander et al., 1985).

Speech segments are effected part open-loop, as observable in slips of tongue. Undistorted, the segmental restriction adds to speaker swiftness and accuracy (Puppel, 1992). Articulatory plans are managed neocortically, via the cerebellum; cerebral feedback may renegotiate inefficient sequences in real-time. Natural circumstances and linguistic skill allow flawless language, despite pre-articulatory modification or replacement.

Ladefoged experiments on change in speaker feedback control (in Puppel, 1988) proved of result without exception. Alteration in auditory feedback induced divergence in pitch, or vowel length and quality. Inhibited tactile, kinesthetic, or proprioceptive feedback slowed articulatory movement to provoke muscle compensatory effort. Exophasia is not the only brain function for language.

3.4. Inner speech

Ontogenetically to follow the phono-articulatory advancement of egocentric speech, endophasia has been described as proceeding considerably faster than locution (Jurkowski, 1986; Pazukhin, 1996/97). Stipulated to build on reduced neural conveyance, the sense to be “compact” rather than “limited” (Pazukhin, 1996/97), inner speech would use brain associative linkage for audible language.

Autoreflection on endophasia (ibidem) reports speech organ trace activity to accompany thought, in reading or writing. The engagement to derive from centrifugal patterns for exophasia, the spontaneous feedback exercise is not bound to occur, in the same person and context. As declarative and procedural interplay, endophasia affirms on network heterarchic function (Puppel, 1992), “top-down” as well as “bottom-up” interactions to make the operative mode.

Figure 6. Network symbolic and sub-symbolic heterarchic interaction, a schematic view.

By standard, it is not only speech, but also reading and writing skills to become integrated for human inner language capacity. Orienting responses of linguistic component can help illustrate feedback prominence in the inner language faculty.

3.5. Orienting response of linguistic component

Orienting responses are patterns for individual reaction to novelty. Observable in EEG tests, brain response activity is contingent on that by thalamic pacemaker structures. The nuclei reconcile on thalamic feedback with brain excitatory and inhibitory neurons (Vander et al., 1985). The faster, beta brain waves arise with focused attention, likely to co-occur with slowed heart rate, cranial blood vessel relative dilatation, and pupil enlargement. Human focus may, yet does not have to bring motor activity (ibidem), and there are no universal principles for attention.

Unlike in behaviorist frameworks for stimulation, natural orienting responses work also in silent study. Wojtaszek (1993) postulated a neural mismatch detection filter, whereas a notion as a novelty detector has been supported by Vander and others (1985). Mismatch or novelty, discernment on meaningful variables employs feedback with memory established patterns, cortical elaboration to engage the thalamus and basal ganglia. The hippocampus, amygdala, and diencephalon will be part in percept cognitive correlate formation (Vander et al., 1985). The cerebellum to sustain readiness for potential verbal rehearsal or note making, the functions are part labile and use intrinsic feedback.

Visual perception alone does exercise cerebral feedback extensively. Beatty and Schluroff found semantic incoherence override syntactic correctness, the pupillometric curve for semantically distorted sequences to approximate that for incidentally structured chunks (in Zimmer, 1993). Neural schemata permanence comes forward, in the light to feedback prominence in the inner faculty.

3.6. Module autonomy theories

Human minds have been speculated to form “units of knowledge” (in Szewczuk, 1984) or “modules” (Fodor, in Kurcz, 1992). The “units” would have been impermeable to other central processes, “module autonomy” to induce “automatic” percepts (ibidem). Auditory experiments by Richard and Roslyn Warren (in Grabowska, 1995) requested volunteer evaluation on masked audio formants. The persons reported speech sounds also when informed about sound substitutions.

An individual neural schema might correspond with a notion as a gnostic unit. However, conscious favor for speech sounds in masked time intervals would affirm that language perception is inter-schematic (in Puppel, 1992). The “cocktail party effect” (in Grabowska, 1995) may further highlight on the neocortex interschematic function as capable of guidance for selective focus, in associating word shape and sense.

Part the modularity argument invokes language learning “critical age”. Brain interschematic function would yet act throughout lifespan, in co-articulatory adjustment (in Puppel, 1992). “Language switch” phonological assimilation can be observed past maturation as well, where persons to have progressed into proficient study od language are more than likely to develop allophonic variants, hardly of impact on their standard language use. Graphemic variance also might occur, with study of phonetic transcription.

Linguistic practice to prove that human language learning and use is conceptually motivated (Puppel, 1988), universalist theories on language can be explored, for the matter of linguistic permanence. Universals are posited to hold for all natural languages.

3.7. Universalist theories for language

Nativism and empiricism have come to the extremes of “the black box” and “the blank slate”, over linguistic permanence versus versatility. Deliberation on probable language universals has inspired conflicting approaches as well, the Cartesian and Leibnizian ventures to have become vitally counter-indicative.

Anna Wierzbicka (1999), a Polish Leibnizian, proposed a set of lexical items for universal “semantic primitives”. These “units of meaning” were to be elementary as not to yield to “semantic decomposition”. For the primitives to form a “natural semantic metalanguage”, the word list for all human languages is very limited in scope; it includes the first person singular I (Polish ja), the second person singular or plural you (Polish ty or wy), and the English lexeme word (Polish słowo).

Counterindication to the approach may come with the psycholinguistic view to meaning as a real-time process (in Burkhanov, 1998). The singular or plural sense for the English pronoun you becomes resolved in context, the word shape to be potentially polysemous in Polish. Spoken form to matter in all natural languages, English homophones for the first person singular I, as eye, or aye would become prominent if to have a lexical item for a standalone unit of meaning. Further, English objective and dative cases allow inclusion of syntactic valence with pronoun semantic fields (ibidem).

First person singular Polish lexical item ja differs from English in syntactic valence, owing to the pro-drop parameter for Polish. In context, the parameter allows interpreting the phrase Ja nie wiem for It is not me to know, when compared with the dropped pronoun phrase Nie wiem, I don’t know. Polish verb conjugation to convey the person (respectively, wiem, wiesz, wie, wiemy, wiecie, wiedzą), the phrase Ja nie wiem can be a suggestion to turn with the matter to another person.

“Semantic primes” would make a severely impeded vocabulary, the limited array to be unlikely a target range also in a language learner. An idea as “semantic decomposition” does not persuade, as associate to reduction in word sense, generally not practicable for language and communication. Finally, lexeme experiential fields vary among languages as well. The English lexical item word would correspond with the Hebrew davar, that yet collocates closely with representations for motion and deed; in the psyche of a Greek, logos may connote reckoning as well as gathering (Kubiński, 1999). The concept of a “natural metalanguage” can be discussed with reference to Cartesian linguistics.

René Descartes stated that human language differed from animal communication: it was not explicable in terms of stimuli or mechanics. He reasoned his existence depended on his thought; consciousness allowed him to perceive own being and thus to be. His ideas influenced linguists to include Noam Chomsky (Akmajian et al., 1984). Descartes body-mind duality has yet been questioned, the physical structure of the human brain to be indispensable for perceivable language and thought.

Cartesian and Leibnizian stands differ in metalinguistic analysis essentially. The generative approach describes metalanguage as knowledge on language structure and content. Majority of language speakers are capable of telling nouns from verbs, or commenting on phrase structures. Anna Wierzbicka attributes universal meaning to a non-representative set of no spatial or temporal reference as up, down, or the present, past, and future.

A natural language becomes actuality with human cognition; therefore, a brief deliberation on human cognitive permanence or universality may follow, with regard to feedback phenomena.

3.8. Feedback phenomena and cognition

A universal cognitive process would be representative of a species. Sense for own body position and posture might claim such prevalence in humans. Skeletal, mechanoreceptor, vestibular, and kinesthetic sense data are only component in human orientation for own body in physical space (Vander et al., 1985). Humans naturally build cognitive maps, the skill to be in intellectively operating on spatial parameters for the environment (Puppel, 1996). The cognitive map or cognitive maps into which a person organizes aspects of experience would contribute to his or her mental reality, that is, inner representation for own self in the world. The competence has been proposed for constituent in individual ego (Damasio, 2000).

Ontogenetically, primary notions as up and down would ensue after those for the front and back. The vertical axis and the horizontal plane to make elementary percepts, linguistic evidence has encouraged the term of spatialization (Maciejewski, 1996): unconnected natural languages have been found to project part the lexemic scope for space on expressions that refer to time, before and after to make typical examples in English.

The horizontal plane would preponderate for time expressions in Polish or Fula, the vertical axis to be prominent in Chinese (ibidem), probably after the movement of the sun. Locomotion to have bolstered the horizontal mark for time also in English, Miller and Johnson-Laird stated, The intimate relation of space and time concepts is most apparent in motion, which involves both spatial and temporal changes (in Puppel, 1992). A culture-independent core of experience is yet improbable (Maciejewski, 1996), and even basic discernment, as for up and down, or on and in, may depart in notionality between languages, to compare the English phrase in the street and the Polish na ulicy (“on the street”).

Lev Vygotsky attempted to view human consciousness, language, and behavior with reference to reflex activity, for emergence and permanence. In his view, speech inspires consciousness and thus the society, that to be of potential effect on speech in turn.

Figure 7. Vygotskian model

Figure 7. Vygotskian society, speech, and consciousness (compare Pazukhin, 1996/97).

Speech, consciousness, or society yet do not exist as abstract thought. Knowledge of natural language cannot be asserted without human ability as perceived intrapersonally or in the physical parameter of speech or writing. The human individual becomes necessary at each of the nodes of Figure 7, and thus Figure 8 is proposed, for a feedback model where cognition is to imply intellection, and language ability is for competence and performance in written discourse as well.

Figure 8. Feedback model for individual linguistic awareness.

Figure 8. Feedback model

The human ego as in Figure 8 is not to complement psychoanalytic theories of the unconscious: it would be self-induced neural network stochastic actuation in which rather to seek language spontaneous detail. The term ego is to invoke the human person as capable of evolving own language command according to own preference.

The human ego to remain vital for living language permanence, Kozielecki (1995) proposed that humans were capable of “notional matrices” to make sets even as abstract as “triangularity”, in theory making. Natural language acquisition and learning does involve learner hypotheses on the language standard.

3.9. Language standards development or change

Natural language can be understood as a human faculty to consist of grammar, semantics, phonology, and graphemics. In this sense, animal communication cannot qualify for language: though structured, animal signals lack lexical items and syntax, as well as speech sounds and phonology, thus to be only codes. Machine codes ascribe values to words, further falling short of natural language generative and creative features, and thus do not qualify for natural languages either.

Origins of language in the species can be placed in evolutionary perspectives. Genetic and cytostructural properties of the human brain, also with focus to Broca and Wernicke areas, are species-specific. Genetic change yet is not inherent to language, and the exact process may never become known. Individual language learning and practice, as well as new languages development, do not require or bring genetic transformation.

A common root to all languages is unlikely. The Proto-Indo-European study lacks coherence in the lexical scopes for households and people, as used in language classing or grouping. Words as man, woman, child, or house do not show lexical shapes in common, to compare German, French, Russian, and Polish. New natural languages continue emerging on Earth, regardless of “family” labels. Several or at least two languages to have contributed to their form, initially pidgin or Creole tongues happen to become official languages in new country states. Geopolitical conditions may modify governmental recognition of a tongue as a language or a dialect (Comrie et al., 1998). Regard to human faculties will have languages as well as dialects for linguistic realities.

Human writing has had, among others, cuneiform and ideographic notations as of ancient Sumer and Egypt, runes of Scandinavian and Celtic scripts, logographic Chinese, as well as Arabic written representations (ibidem). The Cyrillic to have been widely reported as a conscious human device, the left-to-right linear ordering as also of the Latin alphabetic script has been adapted for most notations. Top-down or right-to-left writing in Chinese or Arabic show that language notation overall is not universal.

Established language standards are not fixed realities. Urban thriving, trade, or cultural and technological progress have been the most influential contributors to new linguistic devices. Although Latin was brought to many European lands by military formations, English spelling, syntax, and semantics assumed Latin patterns mostly via written resources. Transition from Old to Middle English to have been associated with the Norman invasion, the Great Vowel Shift with its broad range for change within a formed national identity, would have been impossible without persons who spoke, read, and wrote. These always would be circumstances of relative linguistic permanence in which to consider language universals and standards. Diachronic linguistics continues to show developments, over time.

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