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Lecture 4

PSYC 251 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Critical Period, Nicaraguan Sign Language, Language Acquisition Device

Course Code
PSYC 251
Elizabeth Anne Kelley

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Week 4 lecture chapter 6 Oct 3
General things about language:
Symbols are arbitrary
Infinitely generative
Allows for displacement
o Yesterday, tomorrow, things that don’t exist etc.
Comprehension almost always precedes production
Phonology, grammar (syntax and morphology), semantics, pragmatics
Meta-linguistic knowledge
o Ability to reflect on your understanding of your knowledge
Sensitive period for language learning
Werker’s Phonological Processing Study
6-8 months can discriminate largely between phenomes, even ones not in native
Slight decrease 8-10 months
10-12 months very limited discrimination ability
Early language development
Babbling prepares infant to be able to speak
Intersubjectivity and joint attention
Problem of reference
o When you point to something and say “rabbit” how do infants know it’s the
entire rabbit not the nose, tail etc.
Holophrastic period (1 word) to telegraphic speech
Overextension and underextending
Overgeneralization (overregulation)
o Ex. Goed, thinked, feets
Fast mapping
Word Learning Constraint
Whole-object assumption: assume word refers to whole object not a part of it
Mutual exclusivity assumption: assume that different words refer to different things
Syntactic bootstrapping- the idea that the grammatical form of speech may give children
important clues or guessing what a word means
Hart and Risley Study
Different language exposure for professional parents, working parents and welfare
Innate Theories
Chomsky language is too complex
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