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University of British Columbia
PSYC 302
Kiley J Hamlin

5 Components of Language phonology:deals with sounds • Language Development • morphology/semantics:deals with meaning • syntax:grammar Infancy • communicatehow to use language to • Must distinguish between language production and language comprehension Stages of Language Phonemes v.Morphemes Development in Infancy Phonemes = (the smallest) units of sound • Birth:reflexive sounds like crying,grunting • • Morphemes = (the smallest) units of meaning • cooing and laughter begins around 6 weeks • ‘I’ is a phoneme and a morpheme • Intentional vocal play (babbling,etc) begins • /S/ and /h/ are phonemes,so is /Sh/ around 4-6 months The noun‘bin’ has 3 phonemes (/b/,/i/ and /n/) • First words:~8-10 months • and one morpheme 2-word utterances:~18 months ‘Bins’ has 4 phonemes and 2 morphemes (one • • meaning container and the other meaning plural) • after 2.5 years or so,vocab increases dramatically:“vocabulary spurt” Language Development Themes of Language Fast and Impressive Development • Nature v.Nurture:much of language is learning (your particular Newborns are speechless,but 5-year-olds language),but: • • Are there innate,domain-specific language learning are about as good at language as adults are mechanisms? • smaller vocabularies and simpler • Or is language learned through domain-general cognitive expression,but the grammar, all mechanisms that support all kinds of learning? there • Cross-cultural similarities/differences Individual differences • HOW DOTHEY DOTHIS? • • developmenteat variability in the timing of language • What,if any,effects does this variability have? The human brain is specialized for language Who learns language? Humans! • • NHP’s who’ve been raised with spoken language don’t speak,those raised with sign or other symbols don’t seem to have syntax • “We speak with the left hemisphere.” - Paul Broca • Babies • Language lateralized even in infants,increases over development • Waaaaaaay better at it than adults Broca’s aphasia:difficulty producing any are • • Wernicke’s aphasia:difficulty understanding,and producing understandable• critical period - best to experience • Deaf (signing) individuals can have same aphasias - not specific to modalityanguage input before age 5 Critical Periods Critical Periods:Bilinguals’ Brains • Young children are amazing language learners;adults are terrible • Children with damage to language areas often bounce back,adults do not • Deprivation studies are unethical;some real-life examples: • Even when • Victor:feral child found at age 12;never learned more than few words comparing groups Genie:strapped to a potty chair for 13 years,not spoken to with pretty equal • proficiency,late 2 nd • eventually learned words,not grammar but she was badly abused language learner’s • second language is • Chelsea:thought to be mentally retarded,but only deaf not lateralized given hearing aid at 30,again,didn’t develop syntax • • loving (if misguided) home Newport’s Critical Period The Learning Studies • Age at exposure (not total exposure Environment time) predicts syntactic outcomes in • 1.Examined immigrants to US based particular,as well as accent (noun on time in US and age at arrival learning,for instance,is fine) • For monolingual babies,they’re perceiving their native language even • 2.Examined age at exposure toAS• Age-related change only happens in the womb before puberty.After that,doesn’t • mostly overhearing their mom talking to others matter (all bad) • Infant DirectedTalk (‘motherese’)ech and hearing (and overhearing) • slower,simpler,louder,higher-pitched,accentuates word boundaries,accentuates noun phrases • very grammatical repetitive • • recasts child’s utterances psyc 302 language development 5 COMPONENTS OF LANGUAGE how it sounds/ sound patterns=phonology morphology=meaning in small chunks semantics=meaning as a whole pragmatics= language production and language comprehension is very distinct in infants with comprehension leading and production following PHONEMES VS. MORPHEMES any sounds that is distinct on its own=phonemes; diff languages in the world use diff phonemes morphemes=smallest units of action meaning in a language STAGES OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT IN INFANCY birth: babies arent speaking but are already making sounds 6-12 wks=cooing babbling=starts with repeating the same syllable LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT FASTAND IMPRESSIVE we go from being entirely speechless at birth to being an expert at 5 yrs old THEMES OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT THE HUMAN BRAIN IS SPECIALIZED FOR LANGUAGE brocas= production problems-you understand others speech but cant produce it wenicke's=you cant produce understandable speech and you cant understand others speech WHO LEARNS LANGUAGE? language appears to be specific to humans; humans are really good at learning language and non human primates aren't very good at producing speech (they will learn some signs when living with signing people and can learn which buttons mean and communicate through them but cannot compound these into complex communications) human babies are the best language learners we know (better than adults) best to get the input before the age of 5 if you want to be a native speaker of a language CRITICAL PERIODS Victor: feral child found at 12 and only ever learned a few words (very bad language development) Genie: bad case of abuse; her parents gave her food but never spoke to her; she never got grammar; she was badly abused so there might be more issues which had an effect on language Chelsea: thought to be mentally retarted until the age of 30; at the age of 30 she got a hearing aid because she was deaf; not retarded and she still never learned syntax CRITICALPERIODS: BILINGUALS' BRAINS lateralized: when you hear language it is almost always going to be the case that your left side of the brain will be activated by 6 yrs your first language is really lateralized to the left and your left brain is filled with language and you cant change your language areas to accomodate different languages 4-6 yr old 2nd language more lateralized to the left 11-13 yr old 2nd language is lateralied to the right hemisphere NEWPORT'S CRITICALPERIOD STUDIES study using time of immigration to US from China; looked at how long they have been in the US and how old they were when they 1st came to US ASL (american sign language)-1st language learning critical period syntax and accent are the worst in second language learners or late language learners at any time sharp age related decreases from around age 6-16 THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT after birth infant directed talk/speech/motherese/parantese=super slow repetitive, high pitched language; accentuages word boundaries; recasts cchilds utterances (child mumbles something an mom describes what the child is mumbing at) DOES IDT INFLUENCE LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT? even kids who are talking to younger infants talk in this way infants prefer IDT opposed toAdult Directed Talk it is the case that everyone learns new words better when using IDT IDT might influence language development; however, it isn't universal (some cultures dont talk to infants at all) THE DEVELOPMENT OF SPEECH PERCEPTION learn from the womb THE NEWBORN using high amplitude sucking studies: babies from birth prefer any kind of speech sound they will suck longer at a high rate to speech; their own mothers vioce vs other mothers; and their native vs foreign language--these are thought to be caused by their experience with these sounds while in the womb PREFERENCE FOR SPEECH V NON SPEECH CONTINUESACROSS INFANCY there isnt a point in which infants prefer non speech sounds IS SPEECH EXPERIENCE DRIVING PREFERENCE FOR SPEECH experience with speech v non speech may be required through the womb; however, babies do not experiece sign language in the womb and they prefer this over non-speech gestures at six months--by 10 mo's they do not prefer one over the other SPECIFIC TO HUMAN SPEECH? newborn infants dont care at all to listen to human speech over monkey calls (they prefer both of these over robotic sounds); by 3 mo's they are showing a preference of human over monkey calls WHAT ARE THEY HEARING? prosody: the rhythem, tempo (this is what distinguishes british and american english) CATEGORICAL PERCEPTION OF SPEECH SOUNDS we dont perceive language as a continuous variable; we perveive them as categorically different DO INFANTS PERCEIVE SPEECH CATEGORICALLY? hab babies using sucking procedure to either 'ba': 20 ms onset time or 'pa': 60 ms onset time once they've hab'd add another 20 ms to onset time 'ba': 40 ms onset time and 'pa':80 ms onset time babies that hear ba think of it has categorically different; infants that hear pa do not notice a difference from 60 to 80 ms this means that babies hear things categorically ROLE OF EXPERIENCE IN PHONEME DISCRIMINATION? UNIVERSALPERCEIVERS up to 8-10 mo's infants can hear all the world's sounds everytime infants hear a change between sounds they are conditioned to turn their head toward something 6-8 mo old: any time there is any speech soun will correctly turn their head anticipaating the change 8-10 mo old: getting some speech sounds but not as many as 6-8 mos PERCEPTUALNARROWING getting worse could be a good thing; at first you come into the world capable of learning any language as you age you dont need to waste brain space on differentiating b/n sounds so you can prune these abilities out and pair down just to what you really need which allows you do dedicate more resources to what you do need individual difference study: 7 mo olds who do worse at discriminating foreign languages do better at learning their own language THE ROLE OF INPUT HEARING WORDS people pause between words which allows people to see where the boundaries between words are statistical learning: any kind of learning that says here is a stream of information, now find tha patterns/statstics of this system stress pattern: which syllable in a word is stressed; english tends to stress first syllables when does a baby extract the stress patterns of their language? 9 mo olds but not 6 mo olds prefer strings of words which stress syllable at beginning of words 9 mo olds prefer familiar opposed to unfamiliar words (teach baby non english language); learn nonsense language better when its stress pattern is similar to native language common phoneme sequences: prefer nonsense words with common phoneme sequences consistent with their native language (9 mo but not 6 mo) WHAT'S A WORD? the pauses between words? NO there are just as many paused between words than within them babies told nonsense language where there were distributional regularities; play nonsense language for 2 mins and then play possible words for them (they should be bored if they have extracted it as a word and interested if they think that they have never heard those syllables before); used for the argument that language is not innate HEARING GRAMMAR? by 6 mo prefer between clause pause PRELINGUISTIC SPEECH reduplicated babbling: repeating the same syllable again and again variegated babbling: combining different syllables deaf babies do some vocal babbling (it is delayed and it doesnt last); if they are exposed toASLthey babble manually OTHER PRE LANGUAGE SKILLS turn taking: one person speaks than the other person speaks intersubjectivity: 2 interacting partners share a common understanding of what they are talking about joint attention: sharing attention on the same object following gaze at 6 mo by 9 mo they figure out what attention means INDIVIDUALDIFFERENCES most common: referential or analytic style: they will start by saying nouns expressive style: wait and see style *****INSERT NOTES FROM LAPTOP****NOV 6 Does IDT influence The development of language development? speech perception • It’s very common:even IDsign! • Seems almost automatic:even kids use it • perceiving language all the time (even in the • Infants prefer it toADT,even in unfamiliar languages womb!) They (adults too!) learn new words better with it • • regardless of potential innate constraints on • BUT it’s not universal:some cultures don’t speak language learning,it is the native (perceived) directly to infants at all,and if they do,don’t use IDT language that babies learn • AND it doesn’t seem to influence eventual mastery • What are they perceiving? How does it help them learn? How does it influence production? Preference for Speech v.Non- The Newborn Speech ContinuesAcross Infancy • mother’s,and their native versus a foreign languagece to another HAS procedure;alternate (for instance) minutes of speech and non-speech • Sequential speech/ • More HAS during speech minutes • non-speech sounds • preferential looking task Is speech experience driving Specific to human preference for speech? speech? • Perhaps not:hearing (noASL experience) babies preferASL Not versus gesture specific • Not after 10 months at first; though! (we’ll see specific more of this later) by 3- • Krentz & Corrina,2008 months Categorical Perception What are they hearing? of Speech Sounds prosody:the characteristic rhythm,tempo,cadence,melody, • voice onset time (VOT) = the length of time between when the air • and intonational patterns with which language is spoken passes through the lips and when the vocal chords start vibrating In large part responsible for why languages sound so • many speech sounds only discriminable by this (/b/ and /p/) • different,as well as why different dialects of the same • A continuous variable,yet we perceive speech categorically language sound so different (British v. American English) • recall color! • Newborns distinguish between different languages based on rhythmic properties • speech sounds:the phonemic differences that make up a language - bat v.pat,etc Do infants perceive Role of experience in speech categorically? phoneme discrimination? Eimas et al,1971 • 1-4 month olds habituated (using sucking • Categorical speech perception present at birth procedure) to a speech sound • either /ba/ (VOT=20ms) or /pa/ • But,not all languages discriminate the same sounds (VOT=60ms) worldwide there are 600 consonant and 200 vowel sounds!! When sucking decreased, played a new • • speech sound +20msVOT • Adults fail to discriminate speech sounds not used in their native language • 80ms) sound like /pa/ to adults For instance,English /r/ and /l/ not used in Japanese;makes 2 • language learning very difficult • +20msVOT change dishabituated to the • Infants prefer native language from birth (early experience) - do • New and old sounds equally different! they discriminate non-native sounds? (+20ms) Universal Perceivers Werker &Tees,1984 Perceptual Narrowing • A developmental phenomenon in which younger infants seem to have more competence (they discriminate more) • Remember previous age-related change results withASL v gesture,as well as human v nonhuman vocalizations • But why are they getting worse?? Studies show that young babies discriminate • Important that young babies can learn any language • the phonemes of all the world’s languages • But once they‘know’ what they’re learning,it makes sense to • Adults do not. focus efforts only on that language - maybe you’ll do better When does the change occur? • recall synaptic pruning • • Older babies (by 10-12 months) fail to • Individual differences study:7-month-olds who did worse on discriminate between speech sounds not in discrimination of foreign speech sounds performed better on their native language vocab and grammar tests between 14 and 30 mos The Role of Input HearingWords • Not only do languages have certain speech sounds,they tend to combine them in particular ways • Makes words How do infants know what’s a word and what • isn’t? • statistical learning:babies must extract the properties of their particular language Babies starspecific to native language facilitated,others are lostventually abilities HearingWords
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