QUESTION TEXT: Native speakers perceive sentences of their own…
QUESTION TYPE: Necessary Assumption
CONCLUSION: The perception [that languages have separate words] is an illusion.
REASONING: If you listen to a foreign language you hear a steady stream of sounds. You don’t hear sentences with separate words.
ANALYSIS: This section ends with a silly argument. It ignores the possibility that we don’t know enough about the foreign languages to distinguish what they really sound like.
The constant stream of sounds we hear may be an illusion. We can’t hear the gaps in between words.
- The argument assumes this is false. Clearly, people can understand language even if it is an illusion that words are separate.
- This would be the right answer if this was a “weaken” question. If we can’t hear how the language sounds then we may not be good judges of whether it has separate words. But since this answer choice weakens the argument, it certainly isn’t a necessary assumption.
- This supports the argument by showing that the way we hear foreign languages is likely to be the way they actually sound. But it isn’t a necessary assumption. The argument is still good even if people pay equal attention to each language: we can still perceive a foreign language differently.
- The argument would actually be stronger if this were false.
- CORRECT. The argument is assuming that our perceptions of foreign languages are more accurate than our perceptions of our own languages. If our perceptions of our own languages are more accurate then maybe words really are separate sounds.
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