Life Sentence : Using Words to Share Reality-The Real Thing

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  • People have an amazing capacity to decipher the meaning of human speech, even when familiar words are pronounced with different accents and intonations, or when only some of the words in a particular sentence are heard. In this program James Burke explains how we understand what people are saying, making the point that the brain is as important to hearing as the ears. And although the same words may trigger different associations from person to person, semantics, syntax, and grammar go a long way toward allowing us to share with others our individual perception of reality.


  • Encoded with permission for digital streaming by Films Media Group on August 10, 2012.
  • Films on Demand is distributed by Films Media Group for Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, Meridian Education, and Shopware.
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  • How Do We Understand Language (3:06) -- Words Not Separated (2:08) -- Comprehending Sound (2:25) -- Comprehension: Language Structure and Context (2:21) -- Harmonics of Sound (1:31) -- Semantic Markers (2:11) -- Grammar and Syntax (2:03) -- Limitless Ways to Understand (3:43) -- Parallel Processing (2:23) -- Language Universals (3:30) -- Credits: Life Sentence: Using Words to Share Reality-The Real Thing (1:12)
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