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PSY210 Ch.9 Language.docx

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Justin Mc Neil

PSY210 Ch.9 Language Development 10/12/2012 10:24:00 AM Overview: 1. Components of Language 2. Theories of Language Development 3. Prelinguistic Development: Getting ready to talk 4. Phonological Development 5. Semantic Development 6. Grammatical Development 7. Pragmatic Development 8. Development of Metalinguistic Awareness 9. Bilingualism: Learning two languages in childhood 1. Components of Language  Phonology: Refers to the rules governing the structure and sequence of speech sounds  Semantics: The second component, involves vocabulary – the way underlying concepts are expressed in words and word combinations.  Grammar: The third component of language. Consists of two main parts… o Syntax – the rules by which words are arranges into sentences o Morphology – the use of grammatical markers indicating numbers, tense, case, person, gender, active or passive voice, and other meanings (e.g. the endings –s, and –ed)  Pragmatics: The rules for engaging in appropriate and effective communication. 2. Theories of Language Development The Nativist Perspective (Chomsky – Nature>Nurture)  Language acquisition device (LAD) = an innate system that permits children, once they have acquired sufficient vocabulary, to combine words into grammatically consistent, novel utterances and to understand the meaning of sentences they hear.  Universal grammar – a built in storehouse of rules common to all human beings.  Evidence relevant to the nativist perspective o Efforts to teach language to animals  Language is in some part genetic, as chimpanzees could not learn spoken language or to understand it as humans do to communicate and exchange knowledge and ideas. o Localization of language functions in the human brain  Left hemisphere of the cerebral cortex  Damage in this area causes aphasias – communication disorders  Broca’s area = left frontal lobe, supports grammatical processing and language production  Wernicke’s area = left temporal lobe, plays a role in comprehending word meaning  Language areas in the cerebral cortex develop as children acquire language o Sensitive periods for language development  The more “committed” the brain is to native language patterns, the better children’s master of their native language and the less effectively they acquire foreign languages. This neural commitment increases with mastery of language and thus with age.  Limitations of the nativist perspective o Difficult to specify Chomsky’s “universal grammar” o Chomsky’s assumption that grammatical knowledge is innately determined does not fit with certain observations of language development. o Chomsky’s theory lacks comprehensiveness.  Nativist theory does not regard children’s cognitive capacities as important The interactionist perspective (Experience – nurture>nature)  Information-processing theories o Research with connectionist, or artificial neural network, models. o Statistical learning capacity of children – infants identify basic language patterns by applying the same strategies they use to make sense of their nonlinguistic experiences.  Social interactionist theories o Native capacity – a strong desire to understand others and to be understood, and a rich language environment combine to help children discover the functions and regularities of language o Children’s social competencies and language experiences greatly affect language development 3. Prelinguistic Development: Getting ready to talk  During first year  Sensitivity to language + cognitive and social skills + environmental supports  Receptivity to language o Learning Native-Language Sounds Categories and Patterns  Phonemes: The smallest sound units that signal a change in the meaning, such as the difference of the consonant sounds in “pa” and “ba”  Categorical speech perception: Tendency to perceive as identical a range of sounds that belong to the same phonemic class  Visual language discrimination by watching the lips move of people talking in different languages o Adult Speech to Young Language Learners  Infant-directed speech (IDS): A form of communication made up of short sentences with high pitched, exaggerated expression, clear pronunciation, distinct pauses between speech segments, clear gestures to support verbal meaning, repetition of new words in a variety of contexts etc.  First Speech Sounds o Cooing: vowel-like noises “oo” o Babbling: repeated consonant-vowel combinations, often in long strings like “bababababa” and “nananana” o Sensitive period for exposure to speech needed for the brain to develop the necessary organization for normal speech processing  E.g. cochlear implant babies  Becoming a Communicator o Babies eventually stare in the direction their parents stare at them whilst talking about a relevant object  Joint attention: child attends to the same object or event as the caregiver, who often labels it. = contributes to language development  4-6months = give and take interactions between parent and baby, e.g. peek-a-boo, pat-a-cake  1 birthday = pointing  Protodeclarative gestures: baby points to, touches, or holds up an object while looking at the others to mke sure they notice  Protoimperative gestures: Baby gets another person to do something by reaching, pointing, and often making sounds at the same time  Importance of early word gestures as being conducive to early language development. 4. Phonological Development …Depends on the 1-2yr old’s ability to attend to sound sequences, produce sounds, and combine them into understandable words and phrases.  The early phase o Easiest sound sequences start with consonants, end with vowels and include repeated syllables: “Mama”/”Dada” o Infants focus on the word-referent pairing while sacrificing the words sounds, which they encode imprecisely. E.g. “baby” said as “vaby”.  Phonological strategies o Middle of 2 ndyear o Move from trying to pronounce whole syllables and words to trying to pronounce each individual sound within a word.  Phoneme patterns o First – children produce minimal words, focus on stressed syllables and trying to pronounce its consonant-vowel combination “du/ju” for “juice” o Then they add the consonants “jus” o Finally, they produce the full word with a correct stress pattern, although they may still need to refine its sound “paghetti” for “spaghetti”  Later phonological development o Largely complete by age 5. But a few syllable stress patterns signally subtle differences in meaning are not acquired until middle childhood or adolescence. o “humid” vs. “humidity, “method” vs. “methodical” = dif. Endings not mastered until adolescence  Semantic complexity of these words  Hard to understand words – more difficult to pronounce 5. Semantic Development Begins in the middle of the first year. Comprehension: the language children understand, develops ahead of production, the language they use.  The early phase o Words first spoken + sensorimotor stage  “cat”/“mama” rather than “table/vase”  18-24 months = spurt in vocabulary  Children can connect a new word with an underlying concept after only a brief encounter, a process call
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