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Lecture 5

PSY302 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Noam Chomsky, Knock-Knock Joke, Language Module

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Dana Williams

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Week 6 Chapter 6: Language
Language: flexible, productive, inventive
- 45 sounds, can create a million different variations
Nature and nurture
Sociocultural comparisons
Individual differences
Active child
Components of Language
- Phonology: phonemes (basic units of sound)
oNo sr, bn, ng sounds
- Semantics: morphemes (can be free or bound)
oFree: can stand alone
oBound: prefix/suffix
- Syntax: grammar
oRules that specify how rules are to be combined
o“Dog chased the cat” “dog was chased by the cat”
o“It was a great day for John and I.” bad grammar, you would say me
o“Nurse’s say its a mans world.”
- Pragmatics: knowledge about how to use language in the real world to get your
meaning across
oChildren know that they need to speak slower and less complex words to
someone younger
oHave to be more polite when talking to adults
oRealizing to take turns when speaking
oTake into account what the listener knows and doesn’t know
oShould not talk to strangers
- Metalinguistic knowledge
oKnowledge about language and its properties
oLanguage is made up of morphemes, have to be in proper order and certain
- Nonverbal signals
oHelp give meaning to words
oE.g. facial expressions, gestures
Stages in language development
- Before language: pre-linguistic period (first 10-13 months of life)
oNewborn babies would like to hear speech more than any other kind of sounds
oEarly reactions to speech: differentiating phonemes
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Can differentiate phonemes better that adults can
Perceptual narrowing: at 7 months, lose the ability to hear phonemes
that are not in their own language; narrow it down to their own language
Intonation: rise and fall in the sound of your voice when you speak
Babies pay attention to intonation of words
E.g. motherese (infant-directing speech)
oIntonation “look at the cup! The cup is so small!”
High-pitch at the end excites them
Low-pitch at the beginning soothes them
Prosody: rhythm or melody of the language
E.g. Indian accent
Babies like to hear prosody of their own language
oWord segmentation
Hearing big long sentence, baby able to pick out certain words
E.g. Siri trying to figure out what you’re saying
Say “dad-dy” “mom-my” repeatedly and they will figure out that it’s a
oProducing sounds
First sound @ 2 months: cooing
6-10 months: babbling (consonant-vowel repeatedly)
E.g. ba, ma, pa, na, da
Deaf babies can coo and babble the same ways
After 6 months, deaf babies coo and babble less
After 6 months, normal babies can coo and babble according to their
oPragmatics of speech
8 months, good at vocal term taking
they babble, you talk
Gestures start here
Declarative gestures
oBaby directing your attention to something
oHand in hand with joint attention
Imperative gestures
oGrant a request, asking for something
oE.g. tug on pants, arms out asking to carry
oDo preverbal infants understand the meaning of words?
Receptive language: all the words that you understand
Productive language: words that you actually speak out
E.g. 10 month olds: can understand 11-154 words but aren’t speaking any
of them yet
- Holophrastic period (12-18 months)
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oHolophrase: 1 word sentence (baby talk)
E.g. will say “cup” but mean “get me more water in my cup”
First words they will use are objects, familiar people, objects that can be
manipulated, objects that can move, action words
Learn faster with multimodal motion motherese
E.g. say “see the bunny jump” and show action
oIndividual and cultural variations in early language
Referential style
Early vocabulary mainly consists of nouns, objects and people
Naming things
oE.g. will ask “what’s that?” about everything they see
Western countries first born more likely to have this style first
Expressive style
More diverse vocabulary
Have a larger number of personal social words
oE.g. please, thank you, don’t, stop it
Use words to call attention to feelings and regulate social
Pay more attention to overall sound of language rather than
individual sounds of language
Western countries second born more likely to have this style first
Wait and see style
Can speak language later than other kids
Child knows meaning of words but doesn’t speak
Bad sign: don’t know meaning of word and cannot speak
Kids with down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder and deaf
children have more chances in getting language problems
Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese people know more verbs than
Western countries
- Telegraphic period (1 ½ - 2 ½ years)
oBabies talk just like how someone talks when they’re sending a telegraph to
oUsually have 2-word sentences, containing critical content words (nouns, verbs,
oLeave out articles (e.g. the), prepositions, pronouns, axillary verbs
oNaming explosion: may learn 10-20 words per week
oFast-mapping process
Quickly learn meaning of words after hearing the word once
Only occurs if the baby and the speaker are jointly attending to
oOverextensions and underextensions
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