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The Development of Language.docx

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McMaster University
Richard B Day

May 28 , 2013 Psych 2AA3: Child Development The Development of Language Before the First Word: The Prelinguistic Phase - Early sounds and gestures  Birth – 1 month  Cry – the predominant sound  1 – 2 months  Laughing and cooing – repetitive vowel sounds (e.g., aaaaa)  6 – 7 months  Babbling – repetitive vowel – consonant combinations  Delightful and easy for adults to imitate  Gradually develops intonation of adult language o Rising intonation requests a response  9 – 10 months  Babbling shifts toward the set of sounds listened to with non- heard sound dropping out  May reflect synaptic pruning  Gestural language develops (e.g., pointing) - Babies who are deaf:  5 – 7 months  Sign babbling  10 months  Simple gestures such as pointing (same age as hearing children)  12 months  First referential signs Perceptual Skills - Listening  Make fine discriminations among individual sounds  1 month old – can differentiate between “pa” and “ba”  Up to 6 months, babies can discriminate all sound contrasts that appear in any language, including languages that they do not hear spoken to them o Disappears by 12 months o Follows a consistent pattern of synaptic growth Receptive Language - The ability to understand the meaning of individual words  8 months: babies begin to store words in memory  9-10 months: can understand 20-30 words  13 months: 100 words - Receptive language comes before expressive language Vocabulary Spurt (Expressive) Extending the Class - Underextension  Use of a word for only one specific object or a single context  Suggests that children initially think of words as belonging only to one thing rather than categories - Overextension  The use of a single word for a category of objects or multiple contexts  More common during naming explosion  May reflect lack of vocabulary more than inability to discriminate Later Word Learning - Fast mapping  Ability to categorically link new words to real-world referents rd Athears in preschool age - 3 to 5 graders  Gains in derived words – words that have a basic root to which a suffix or prefix is added  Requires a new shift in understanding language Constraints on Word Learning - Built-in constraints help with category selectivity  Whole object constraint  Words refer to whole objects rather than parts  Mutual exclusivity constraint  Objects have only one name  Principle of contrast  Assumptions that every word has a different meaning Learning the Rules: Development of Grammar and Pragmatics - Holophrases  Combining a single word with gestures to make a complete thought  Used between 12 and 18 months - Telegraphic speech  Short, simple, grammatical markers missing  Two-word sentences may reflect multiple meanings depending on context - First sentences  Stage 1 grammar – MLU 1.5-2  Telegraphic  Stage 2 grammar – MLU 2-2.5  Addition of morphology The Grammar Explosion - Very strong correlation between vocabulary size and complexity of a child’s sentences (.84) - Vocabulary size moves child to stage 2 sentences  Age 23 months  More complex  Use of plurals, past tenses, auxiliary verbs, and prepositions  Show addition of inflections  Adding on to verbs Vocabulary and the Grammar Explosion - Questions and negatives  Child puts a wh word at the beginning of a sentence, but doesn’t put the auxiliary verb in the right place  What that?  Uses no or not without proper auxiliary verb placement  No go! - Overregulization  3- to 4-year olds apply the basic rules to irregular words  Learn a small number of irregular words  Lear to add ed to the end of words  Learn the exceptions last Later Grammar Learning - Complex sentences  Follow inflections and negation and allow children to use conjunctions to connect two or more ideas  Major strides taken during 3-4 years Pragmatics - The way in which children use language either to communicate or to regulate their own behaviour  Patterns of gazing at 18 months similar to adults  2-year-olds adapt the form of language to the situation he is in or the person he is talking to is in  Children as young as 4 adapt language to improve communication
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