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Lecture 1

PSY315H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Paralanguage, Psycholinguistics, Sociolinguistics

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Judy Plantinga

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Lecture One:
Language Acquisition & The Introduction To
language Acquisition
January 7, 2015
3:08 PM
Average English adult speaker produces 100-150 per minute, producing up to 16000
alternative words, and make very few hours
By the time a child is four, they are fairly well accomplished in using language, and have
well developed speech, language and communication skills
Field of linguistics studies what people say, how they express different ideas within
Language & linguistics
They record/analyze/look at the patterns
Psycholinguistics: They're interested in the psychological/neurobiological factors that
enable humans to use language
Sociolinguistics looks at culture and our use of language
oSimply describes what they see what's going on
Developmental studies: Look at how these forces work in the development of language
within individuals
Language takes place in the context of the family, in particular cultures, could be affected
by SES, and languages change over time (has a historical context),
Language acquisition takes place in multiple domains
Are children active or passive in the acquisition of language? Different ideas
oAre there stages of language development, or is there just a gradual increase
We're studying the changes that occur in speech, language, and in communication
Communication is the main topic, and the two sub components are speech and
Communication is a process used to exchange information, needs and desires
We need to have an understanding between the person relaying the message and a
person receiving the message, we need to be able to decode the message in order to
effectively communicate
Speech is the verbal means of communicating
oResult of planning and executing motor sequences
oInvolves very precise neural coordination
oNeurological development that takes place in infants in order to produce speech
oChildren spend much of their first year, speaking
Allows them to control their speech, and eventually the language starts to
correspond with the environment around them
oVoice quality is also a part of speech we'll sound different if we're angry
oIntonation will also change the mood of your speech
oAll of these enhance the meaning of your speech
oWhat you're saying may be completely be overshadowed by how you're saying it
Language can be defined as a socially shared code
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oRepresents concepts through arbitrary symbols
oThe relationship between individual speech sounds are actually meaningless
until you associate them with something, and we all agree that the combination of
letters together mean a certain thing (IE. A Desk refers to an object that holds things)
oLanguages evolve, change, etc.
oLanguage is also borrowed from other languages
Tsunami was actually a Japanese word converted to English
oApproximately 300 sign languages
oWe also lose languages (IE. Native culture losing their language)
oThe concepts that develop in American Sign Language is not exactly the same
as English
Other linguistic modes are reading, writing, and signing
Paralinguistic Optional vocal effects, and some of the non-vocal codes when you're
listening Turning away, looking interested in continuing conversation
oIntonation expresses meaning without changing the words that you're using
oThe rate in which you say something will also change meaning
oFacial expressions, body posture, head/body movement, etc.
Metalinguistic We understand how language works and we know how to manipulate it
in order to get your point across, we can arrange words in multiple ways, etc.
What is Language?
Language is a communication system
Function communication
oSocial interactive tool that is generative and rule governed
Generative we can express many different ideas using the same forms
and words
Characteristics Arbitrary, contains symbols, and that connection is arbitrary
oCalling something by a different name won't change the identity metalinguistic
oLanguage has intentionality we use it for communication
oIt's a productive/creative tool
oWords can mean more than one thing
Species Specific
oOther species communicate, monkeys have a distinct predator call
oBees dance communicate to indicate food, and location
oBirds sing in order to mark their territory
oChimps/gorillas don't learn calls from humans, but they did try to teach language
to chimps
Tried teaching a chimp to speak, and it had 4 approximations of words
that it could possibly speak
oSue Savage Rumba tried teaching language to adult Bonobo's but it didn't work
oTrying to teach species language appears difficult
Human Universal
Elements of language
oPhoneme smallest munit of sound that signals a meaning
oHave some variations in Phonemes
oEnglish has approximately 43 different phonemes, different from other languages
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