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Lecture 4

Week 4.docx

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Jeff Landry

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Chapter 9Language and CommunicationElements of LanguageLanguage is a system that relates sounds or gestures to meaningoIt has arbitrary units and is therefore symbolicoIt is structured and meaningfuloIt shows displacementone can communicate about events distant in time and space not just here and nowoIt is characterized by generativityone can produce an infinite number of utterances from a languages vocabulary provided that one follows the structureLanguages consist of different subsystems usually involves 5 distinct but interrelated elementsoPhonology refers to the sound of a languageoMorphology refers to the rules of meaning within the languageoSemantics is the study of words and their meaningoGrammar refers to the rules used to describe the structure of a language the most important element is syntax rules that specify how words are combined to form sentencesoPragmatics the study of how people use language to communicate effectively Perceived SpeechThe basic building blocks of language are phonemes unique sounds that can be joined to create wordsThese include constant sounds such as the sound of the t in toe and tap and vowel sounds such as the sound of e in get and bedInfants can distinguish most of these sounds many of them by as early as 1 month after birthoA study of 1 month olds sucking their pacifier shows that they can recognize that the sound of b is different from p because they suck more often when they hear the new soundThe Impact of Language ExposureAt about 6 months of age infants in both Japanese and English speaking environments can distinguish the consonant sounds but around a year old only infants in English speaking environments can this is because there is limited consonant sounds that are barely used in the Japanese languageEnglish speaking babies hear these consonant sounds frequently so they have more experience to learn remember and recognize the soundsPhonic distinction is lost by the age of 1 because of a combination of both innate and environmental factorsoThe infant needs continuing experience with the different language phonemes to maintain the ability to perceive and thus to discriminate those phonemesoNewborns are also apparently biologically capable of hearing the entire range of phonemes in all languages worldwide but as babies grow and are more exposed to a particular language they only notice the linguistic distinctions that are meaningful in their own languageIdentifying WordsWhen 78 month olds hear a word repeatedly in different sentences they later pay more attention to this word than the words they havent heard previouslyThey distinguish individual words by listening to the stressed syllablesThese early perceptual skills are more important because infants who are more skilled at detecting speech sounds know more words as toddlersAdults help their infants master language sounds by doing the infantdirected speech which is when adults speak slowly and with exaggerated changes in pitch and loudnessFirst Steps to SpeechAt 2 months infants begin to produce vowellike sounds such as oooo or ahhh a phenomenon known as cooingAfter cooing comes babbling speechlike sound that has no meaningo6 month old may say dah or bah utterances that sound like a single syllable consisting of a consonant and a vowelBabbling is fundamental for linguistics because the way they have their mouth position when they are babbling shows the same mouth position of adults when speaking
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