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Lecture 7

PSY315H5 Lecture 7: Learning to Use Language.docx

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Judy Plantinga

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Lecture 7 – Learning to Use Language: Communicative Development
-Test – know research papers, definitions from back of textbook, both M/C & SA
-Speaking alone is not enough to communicate – we have to understand the context to
understand it’s meaning
-Communicative context: ability to use language properly in proper context, to convey
Sentence vs. Utterance
Sentence: A structured string of words that carries a certain meaning
Utterance: a sentence that is said, written or signed in a particular context by
someone with a particular intention, by means of which the speaker intends to
create an effect on the person who is being spoken to
Communicative Competence
-Involves 3 components:
Pragmatics: using language for diff purposes; practical things (ex. greeting –
hello, informing, demanding – give me a cookie, promising, requesting)
Discourse Processes – lang occurs in larger units than a sentence & it takes skill to
carry on these longer conversations (includes: rules that guide how to stay on
topic, rephrasing when we’re misunderstood, verbal & nonverbal signals, how
close to stand when you speak to someone, use of facial expressions + eye
Sociolinguistics – understanding how to change & adjust language according to
the needs of a particular listener or situation (ex. talking to baby vs. adult, we give
background into to ppl who need it, speaking in classroom vs. speaking in
playground) – rules can vary across & within cultures – important to understand
the rules of our communication partner as well as the culture
-Individuals may say inappropriate things during conversations; may say
irrelevant things
-Also includes the ability to read between the lines; take information that is not explicitly
Development of Communicative Competence
oWhen does intent to communicate merge?
oHow & when do kids lean that multiple forms can express the same
oHow & when do kids learn which form to use in which situation?
oWhen do kids develop narrative ability?
oWhen do they become competent ---

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-Speech act has 3 components:
Illocution – speakers intent; intended function of act; not all communication is
intentional (body language – like a sneeze), but most communication is
intentional – can be hard to figure out what is being said and what the intention or
underlying meaning is
-For kids, we need to match the form & the function, for kids, this is harder to
accomplish (??)
-You adjust the form to the context
-Sometimes a question may not be asking a question (ex. rhetorical Qs – “can you
not do anything right?”)
Locution – production of speech (I think??)
Perlocution – the effect upon the listener – was the listener persuaded or
frightened by the message?
Pragmatic Development
Development of the speech act
Expanding range of function
-Many pre-verbal ways to communicate (pointing) – sometimes their actions are not
always done to get a response; we have to determine when they’re trying to communicate
-First part of pragmatics to develop is perlocution – the child may cry, may not have
intent, but it communicates something to parent
-For 10-11 months, child doesn’t realize the parent is an agent to accomplish tasks
-Second part to develop is illocution: kids realize that other people can help them achieve
goals, but they must communicate something to do so
-Can do this before speech
-Protoimperative Speech: can request objet by pointing
-Protodeclarative: use of an object to direct adult attention
-Locution begins when the child begins to speak
-By 24 months: child has developed object permanence; can talk about objects being
Intention to Communicate – Before Speech
Phase 1: Perlocutionary (birth – 10 mos)
Behavior has consequences but is not produced w/ communicative intent
Phase 2: Illocutionary (10-12 months)
Behavior has communicative goals but does not use the forms of the target
Phase 3: Locutionary (12 month+)
Behavior has communicative intentions & adultlike forms
Expanding Range of Function
-Table 7-2 from textbook: First functions of language
-Table 2. Means & SD for summary measures at 3 ages – a comparative chart
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