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psych of language lec sept 25.docx

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Western University
Psychology 2134A/B
Marc Joanisse

Compositional Semantics: bigger meaning arising out of discrete syntactic structure; entire sentence. Lexical Semantics: deals with individual words. Pragmatics: figurative meaning. Depends on context. Language Development In Infancy Highly productive nature of our grammar (infinite combinations) means that the theory that babies memorize things is not likely. Example from Slides: The grammar here is a set of rules about what shapes should/can look like. Not told what this rule is, just shown the shapes. Given rule possibilities; none are rule. Help this by giving bad shapes. Mirrors the way children use evidence in the environment to form grammatical rules. Positive Evidence: evidence about what’s correct (heard from peers). Vs. negative evidence. Kids do not get negative evidence. Makes it difficult to figure out the grammar. Poverty of the Stimulus: (Chomsky, a nativist) stimulus that the child gets are impoverished- it doesn’t contain enough information allowing the child to discover the grammar, a very complex grammar. Only getting a subset of all possible grammatical utterances, and sometimes getting ungrammatical sentences. (Possibilities are infinite). So, you must come into the world with some preexisting knowledge about what grammar should look like. Negative evidence is few and far between. Children don’t get a lot of feedback about grammar; but parents do correct children about false statements. Any negative feedback that the child does get is probably going to get ignored. 0-5 Months: respond to sound with movement and noise (not articulation); vocalizes emotion. 6-12 Months: babbling (speech-like phonemes), uses gestures 1-2 Year Progression: understand direction&gesture, nonverbal answers, imitate words, single words (labels & requests), “2-3 word sentences”. 3-4 Years: speech understandable to strangers; full sentences; categorization; abstract ideas; out of context things (displacement). 4+ Y
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