Class Notes (809,510)
Canada (493,754)
Psychology (6,041)

Chapter Nine.docx

10 Pages
Unlock Document

Western University
Psychology 2040A/B
Jackie Sullivan

Chapter Nine: Language Development Components of Language - Language consists of several subsystems & language development entails mastering all aspects o Phonology – refers to the rules of governing the structure & sequence of speech sounds o Semantics – involved vocabulary – the way underlying concepts are expressed in words & word combinations o Grammar – consists of 2 main parts  Syntax: the rules by which words are arranged into sentences  Morphology: the use of grammatical markers indicating number, tense, case, person, gender, active or passive voice & other meaning (-s & -ed) o Pragmatics – refers to the rules for engaging in appropriate & effective communication  Involves sociolinguistic knowledge - Are developed in this order, I believe Theories of Language Development The Nativist Perspective - Chomsky proposed this theory that regards language as a uniquely human accomplishment, etched into the structure of the brain - Language Acquisition Device (LAD) – an innate system that permits them, once they have acquired sufficient vocab, to combine words into grammatically consistent, novel utterances & to understand the meaning of sentences they hear o LAD is a universal grammar, a built-in storehouse of rules common to all human languages Evidence Relevant to the Nativist Perspective - 3 sets of evidence: o Can Animals Acquire Language?  Some species can learn some vocab & can produce short utterances but its less consistently than a preschool child  Chimps have been taught ASL & other forms of communication (key-board symbols), but are unable to produce strings of 3 or more symbols that conform to a rule-based structure  Bonobo Chimps are more intelligent – amazing comprehension of English words (does not exceed past a 2 year old)  No evidence exists that even the brightest animals can comprehend & produce sentences that are both complex and novel o Language Areas in the Brain  Language mainly stored in left hemisphere of cerebral cortex  Had 2 important language-related structures (Broca’s & Wernicke’s)  Damage to these areas display aphasias or communication disorders  Broca’s area, located in left frontal lobe (grammatical processing & language production)  Wernicke’s area, left temporal lobe (comprehending word meaning)  Recent brain imaging suggests more complicated relationships between language functions & brain structures  Broca’s & Wernicke’s are not solely responsible for specific language functions o Damage to the left hemisphere results in a variety of language deficits but damage to the frontal lobe is mainly usually yields productions problems & damage to the temporal lobe produces comprehension issues  Left hemispheric association with language is consistent with Chomsky’s notion of brain prepared process language  But, language areas in the cerebrum develop as children acquire language (highly plastic)  If left hemi injured in first few years, other regions take of language processing (this, left- hemispheric lateralization is not necessary for language processing)  Showing that many brain parts are involved in language (right hemi – sign language)  Grammatical Competence is more specific though (left frontal & temporal lobes)  Children & adults with left-hemispheric damage impair their grammatical abilities more than their semantic or pragmatic abilities, which seem to be more in the right-hemispheric regions  When damage occurs at a young age in the left hemi, the plasticity will occur in the same region on the right side o A Sensitive Period for Language Development  Sensitive period would support the nativist position that language development has unique biological properties  Studies have shown this is true, as deaf people can never learn to speak & adults who learn ASL are not as good as those who learned it in childhood  However, a precise age cutoff for a decline in first-language has not be established  Other research confirms that around 5-6 there is a decline in capacity to acquire a second language with a native accent, but others say it is more of a gradual decrease, rather than a big drop  Also a second-language processing is less lateralized  Some researchers assign a key role of the second ½ of the first year, especially in sound distinction in the language the baby hears – neural networks become dedicated to processing native-language sounds, strengthening native-language learning while weakening capacity to acquire unfamiliar languages – this neural commitment increases the mastery of that language, with age Limitations of the Nativist Perspective - Although there is a wide acceptance of Chomsky’s beliefs in human biologically based language capacity, his development has been challenged on several grounds o First, great difficulty specifying Chomsky’s universal grammar o Second, his assumption that grammatical knowledge is innately determined does not fit with certain observations of language development (mastery is not achieved until later on – experimentation & learning are more involved than Chomsky assumed) o Third, his theory lacks comprehensiveness; cannot explain how children weave sentences together & sustain meaningful conversations – Chomsky didn’t dwell on pragmatics The Interactionist Perspective - Ideas about language development emphasize interactions between inner capacities & environmental influences o One theory applies the information-processing perspective to language development o Second theory emphasizes social interaction Information-Processing Theories - The most influential information-processing accounts are derived from research with connectionist, or artificial neural network, models - Connectionist researchers design computer systems to stimulate the multilayered networks of neural connections in the brain then they are exposed to various language types & given feedback about the accuracy of its responses; when response is correct, strengthens the connection; when incorrect, weakens it (researchers conclude that it is a good model of human learning & development) o Tests with certain language sounds, words & basic grammatical forms show that these networks capture children’s early errors & gradually detect adult linguistic patterns - Other theorists blend Chomsky’s perspective with the information-processing proposal that the brain is skilled at detecting patterns o Using this statistical learning capacity, infants identify basic language patterns by applying the same strategies they use to make sense of their non-linguistic experiences o At the same time, recognize that such computations are not sufficient to account for mastery of higher-level aspects of language (like, distinct relationships between words & phrases) - These theories draw on biological evidence, pointing out the regions of the brain housing language & cannot be certain that they learning strategies identified generalize to children’s language acquisition in everyday social context Social Interactionist Theories - Believe a rich language environment combine to help children discover the functions & regularities of language - Some disagreement occurs since not sure whether children make sense of complex language environments by applying general cognitive capacities or capacities specially tuned to language - In reality, cognitive-processing strategies & social experience may operate in different balances with respect to each component of language Prelinguistic Development: Getting Ready to Talk Receptivity to Language - Prefer mother’s voice but also can distinguish between a human noise & other types Learning Native-Language Sound Categories & Patterns - As adults, we analyze the speech stream into phonemes, the smallest sound units that signal a change in meaning, such as the difference between the consonant sounds in “pa” & “ba” (not the same across all languages) - The tendency to perceive as identical a range of sounds that belong to the same phonemic class is called categorical speech perception o Categorize speech & non-speech sounds (thus, this perception is not unique to linguistic input) - Infants sensitive to a wider range of speech category than adults o Between 6-8 months, start to organize speech into the phonemic categories of their own language – stop attending to sounds that will not be useful in mastering their native language o Also can distinguish between their native language & an unfamiliar one by looking at person’s face & lips without sound at 4-6 months, but at 8 months, no longer can make the distinction unless they are bilingual and distinguishing between their 2 known languages o Older infants then expand their sensitivity to speech structure & to individual words  At 7 months can distinguish sounds that typical begin words  At 10 months can detect word with weak syllables nd - Infants do this as they are vigilant statistical analyzers of sound patterns; in the half of the first year, they can distinguish adjacent syllables that frequently occur together (signaling word boundary) - Infants are budding rule learners, can distinguish sense and nonsense word sequences at 7 months – helps them grasp syntax eventually Adult Speech to Young Language Learners - Adults often speak to babies in 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 o Deaf partners use the same style - IDS arises from adults’ desire to hold babies’ attention & ease their task of understanding & it works in effective ways (infants prefer it) - Helps infants increase sensitivity to the phonemic categories of their language & with detection of word streams & later on detection of word meanings First Speech Sounds - Around 2 months, babies begin to make vowel-like noises (cooing) because of their pleasant “oo” quality - Consonants are added, & around 6 months babbling appears, in which infants repeat consonant-vowel combinations, often in long strings (“nanana”) – babies who are deaf experience this too, but cannot move past it o Ex. A 5- month old deaf-baby received a cochlear implant – started babbling & resembled her hearing agemates in language development at 3-4 years, the later the implant the more behind the child will be (if restored after age 2, remain behind & if restored after age 4, language delays are severe & persistent) o Suggest sensitive period for language which exposure to speech is essential for brain to develop - Listen to adults and start to repeat words (By 8-10 months babbling include adult speech sounds they hear & some are transferred into words like “mama” or “dada” – continue to babble for months after first words - Deaf infants exposed to sign language from birth babble with their hands Becoming a Communicator - At birth, infants are prepared for some aspects of conversational behaviour (eye contact) - At 10-11 months, gaze becomes more accurate & at 12 months gaze where parents look - The joint attention, in which the child attends to the same object or event as the caregiver, who often labels it, contributes greatly to early language development (sustain attention longer, comprehend more language, etc.) o Also enables babies to establish a “common ground” with the adult - Between 4-6 months, interactions include give-and-take, as in peekaboo games - By 12 months, they participate in this actively, trading roles with the caregiver (turn-taking with talking too) - Also by 12 months, point toward an object while looking back at the caregiver to influence the adult’s behaviour - Infant pointing leads to 2 communicative gestures: o Protodeclarative  In which the baby points to, touches, or hold up an object while looking at others to make sure they notice o Protoimperative  The baby gets another person to do something by reaching, pointing & often making sounds at the same time - Besides using these gestures for their own goals, they use them due to the need of others - Later include words with gestures, using gestures to expand their vocabulary & words become more dominant - In some cultures, parents rarely communicate with their children & never play social games with them; not until infants can crawl & walk do the siblings take charge to talk to the toddlers, yet acquire language in same time frame o Suggest that adult molding of communication during the first year is not essential, but by the second year it is needed (relationship of maternal responsiveness to language progress was strong at 13 months) o Children with disabilities that make it difficult for the parents to communicate with them show profound delays in both language & cognitive development Phonological Development - Is a complex process that depends on the child’s ability to attend to sound sequences, produce sounds & combine them into understandable words & phrases - Between 1-4 make great progress The Early Phase - Easiest sound sequences start with consonants, end with vowels & include repeated syllables (“mama”) - Sometimes use the same sound to represent a variety of words, making their speech hard to understand - Fortunately, language phonology caters to children’s limitations, also using IDS to simplify words like “bunny” for rabbit helps - Toddlers can also detect the correct pronunciation & when someone mispronounces the word - However, don’t always pick up on fine details of its sounds, which contributes to their pronunciation errors o Unable to distinguish between 2 similar-sounding non-sense words with different pairings, since they have limited working memory, only worry about pairing & not the sounds - As their vocab increases, they become better at distinguishing between similar-sounding new words Phonological Strategies nd - In middle of 2 year, move from trying to pronounce whole syllables to trying to pronounce each individual sound within a word - Practice using phoneme patterns that occur frequently in the language but unique-sounding words are more difficult to pronounce; so they apply systematic strategies to challenging words so they fit with their pronunciation capacities o At first, produce minimal words (focus on stressed syllables & consonant-vowel combos (“ju” for juice) & soon add ending consonants (“jus”), adjust vowel length & add unstressed syllables o Finally, they produce the full word with a correct stress pattern, but still may need to refine its sounds - Errors are similar across different languages, but rate of progress depends on complexity of the language’s sound system & the importance of certain sounds for conveying meaning o Cantonese faster than English as mostly single-syllable words & tone changes meaning or “v” is mastered later in English but earlier in Swedish as used more frequently - Look at strategies pg. 375 Later Phonological Development - Phonological development largely complete by age 5, still have syllable stress issues (green house vs green-house) o These late attainments are probably affected by the semantic complexity of the word - Working simultaneously on the sounds & meaning of a new word may overload the cognitive system, causing children to sacrifice pronunciation temporarily until they better grasp the word meaning Semantic Development - Word comprehension begins in the middle of the first year (Mommy & Daddy paired with their person) - By 6, understand 10,000 words (5 words/day) - As these achievements reveal, children’s comprehension, the language they understand, develops ahead of production, they language they use - A 5-month lag exists between the time they comprehend 50 words (13 months) & the time they produce that many (18 months) – comprehension = recognition while production = recall The Early Phase - First words, usually Mommy or Daddy, or common objects (ball) – common between languages but the Chinese children produced more action words than American children – all babies rarely speak of non-active objects - Young toddlers slowly add to their vocab (1-3 words/week) but then gradually increases (more in comprehension) - Spurt of vocab – a transition between a slow & a faster phase of learning once the number of words produced reaches 50-100 but studies show that most children don’t experience this but produce gradually - Kids improve quickly by categorizes experiences, recalling words & pronouncing new words o As experience more, broaden their vocab to places, body parts, etc. - Researchers discovered that children can connect a new word with an underlying concept after only a brief encounter, process called fast-mapping o Understanding of a fast-mapped word is incomplete at first, deepening with repeated exposure Individual & Cultural Differences - Range of first word has a large range (8-18 months), but usually by 1 year – girls slightly ahead o Variation due to a complex blend of genetic & environmental influences  Temperament, shy toddlers wait to speak but temperamentally negative children also acquire language slower (high emotional reactivity diverts their attention from language processing)  Quantity of adult-child conversation plays a role  Properties of children’s native language are influential depending on how complicated the phonology is (Swedish s harder than English)  Young children also have unique styles of early language learning  Most = referential style: their vocab consists mainly of 2 words that refer to objects – more words for naming – these kids grow faster as most languages contain more nouns  Expressive style: compared with referential children, they initially produce many more social formulas & pronouns, uttered as compressed phrases that sound like single words (“I want it” or “done”) – more feelings & needs  Referential kids do this because they are interested in exploring objects & naming them to impress their parents, while expressive kids are more social & parents say things like “how are you”  Two language styles are also linked to culture – nouns common in English vocab, but Asian languages have more words for social routines Types of Words - 3 types of words – object, action & state – are most common in young children’s vocab Object & Action Words - Many cultures have more object than action words - Nouns refer to concepts (table, bird or dog) that are easy to perceive & verbs require more complex understandings - English learn nouns more over verbs, while it is the opposite with Asian languages as verbs are stressed more State Words - Between 2-2½ years, children’s use of state words expands to include labels for attributes of objects (size, colour) & possession (my toy) - State words that have
More Less

Related notes for Psychology 2040A/B

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.