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Lecture 9

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 2500
Professor
Kim O' Neil
Semester
Winter

Description
Lecture 9 The road to speech - Elements of language - Perceiving speech - First steps to speech Elements of language - Language: a system that relates sounds (or gestures) to meaning - Phonology: sounds of a language • Infants are able to distinguish different language sounds at a very young age (experiment: high sucking when presented with new words or word sounds) - Semantics: study of words and their meanings - Grammar: rules used to describe the structure of a language - Pragmatics: how people use language to communicate effectively Perceiving speech - Phonemes are sounds that are the building blocks of language - Young babies can hear all possible phonemes, even those not in their language - Infants can identify individual words • After being exposed to words repeatedly, the infant will show recognition once the word is presented again (e.g. in textbook of bike) - Infant-directed speech may help children learn language • More facial expression, enunciate words, they crouch down to the infant • This can facilitate language development by overemphasizing the words and facial expressions that accompany them • Babies also prefer a high-pitched tone of voice  Therefore, you’re more likely to get the babies attention by using this tone of voice First steps to speech - 2 months: cooing (vowel-like sounds) - 6 months: babbling (speech-like sound that has no meaning) • Infants’babbling is influenced by the speech they hear - 8 to 11 months: babbling includes intonation (rising or falling pitch) - First words appear around first birthday Learning the meanings of words - Understanding Words as Symbols - Fast Mapping Meanings to Words - Individual Differences in Word Learning - Encouraging Word Learning - Beyond Words: Other Symbols Understanding words as symbols - Infants understand that words are symbols (something that stands for something else) - Gestures are symbols that children start to use around the time they begin to talk (ex: pointing, clapping) Fast mapping meanings to words - Children learn words too rapidly (naming explosion) to be starting from scratch on each one • When children go from knowing a few words to many in a very short time span • The light switch, cognitively, has been turned on • The naming explosion is a result of cognitive maturity, and not a result of the environment - Fast mapping: learning word meanings so rapidly that the child can’t be considering all possible meanings • E.g., children are taught that a tulip is a flower, will categorize the information, and then when exposed to a rose they can still identify it as a flower  Meaning that children don’t need to be exposed to every single word  Not everything is learned by direct observation or exposure - Underextensions (define a word too narrowly) and overextensions (they assign a new word to many object because they have yet to categorize information properly) are two common naming errors • Underextension: you show an infant a blue ball, they will only define that particular blue ball as a ball • Overextension: children learn a new word (e.g., dog) and will then label every moving animal as a dog Individual differences in word learning - Referential style: vocabularies consist mainly of words that name objects, persons, or actions • Referential children use language as an intellectual tool - Expressive style: vocabularies include many social phrases that are used as a single word (e.g., “go-away,” “I-want-it”) • Expressive children use language as a social tool Encouraging word learning - Speak with children frequently (not at them) • Inviting participation (e.g., asking questions, repeating the child’s statement in a grammatically correct way, reframing the child’s statement with more sophisticated vocabulary) - Name objects that are the focus of child’s attention, use speech that uses different words and is grammatically sophisticated, and respond promptly to child - Read books and ask children questions The effect of asking children questions - Asking question
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