PSYC 1010 Lecture Notes - African Grey Parrot, Language Acquisition Device, Steven Pinker

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Published on 16 Oct 2011
School
York University
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 1010
Professor
Chapter 8
Language and Thought
Language
Symbols that convey meaning
Rules for combining those symbols to generate infinite variety of messages
Language properties
o Language is symbolic
Ex. Spoken word, words that have different meanings
Symbols allow for people to refer to objects in another place
and events that happened another time
o Language is sematic
The symbols used in language are arbitrary in that no built-in
relationship exists between the look and sound of the word to
its meaning.
Ex. Pen in English, stylo- in French and Pluma in
Spanish
o Language is generative
We are capable of generating meanings by placing words in
different orders and such.
There is an infinite possibility of generating novel messages
o Language is structured
Even though there is an infinite possibility of combining words
to create new messages, there are rules which must be
followed.
Ex. “the swimmer jumped into the pool” not “pool the
into the jumped swimmer”
The structure of Language
Phonemes
o The smallest speech units in a language that can be distinguished
perceptually
o In other words: they are the pronunciations of letters in different
words”
Ex. A is differently pronounced in “father” “had” “call” and
“take”
Morphemes and Semantics
o Morphemes are the smallest units in a language
o The use of multiple words in one to create different meaning
Ex. Un, friend, ly each one is a morpheme
o Semantics is the areas of language concerned with understanding the
meaning of words and word combinations.
Syntax
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o A system of rules specifying how words can be arranged into
sentences
Ex. There must be a subject and a verb or “the” before the
subject and not after (the swimmer, not swimmer the).
Milestones in Language Development
Moving towards producing words
o In the first year infants make progress towards learning sound
structures in their native language
o In the first 6 months babies are cooing, crying etc. as a form of
communication
o Later they begin to babble and produce phonemes and eventually
repeat constants and vowel combinations, “ex. Lalalala”
o Later babbling becomes more complex and developed and the baby
moves on to the next stage
Using Words
o Around 10 to 13 months children being to utter sounds corresponded
to words
o Dada, papa, mama are easy sounds to produce, so they are often first
words
o Toddler receptive vocabulary is greater than their productive
vocabulary
o Fast mapping process kinds use to map words onto an underlying
concept after only one exposure
o An overextension- occurs when a child uses a word incorrectly to
describe a wider set of objects or actions than it is meant to
o Under extension- occurs when a child uses a word incorrectly to
describe a narrower set of objects or actions than it is meant to
Combining words
o Begins occurring after age 2
o Telegraphic speech- are early sentences containing articles.
Prepositions and less critical words are omitted.
Ex. “Give doll” – instead of “please give me the doll”
o Mean length utterance (MLU) the length of average statements
spoken by youngsters
o Over regularizations- occur when grammatical rules are incorrectly
generalized to irregular cases when they do not apply
Refining Language Skills
o Their language stills become more complex and accurate
o Metalinguistic awareness- the ability to reflect on the use of language
Learning more than one language-Bilingualism
Bilingualism acquisition of two languages that use different speech sounds,
vocabulary and grammatical rules
Does learning two languages slow down the development?
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Document Summary

Rules for combining those symbols to generate infinite variety of messages. Symbols allow for people to refer to objects in another place and events that happened another time: language is sematic. The symbols used in language are arbitrary in that no built-in relationship exists between the look and sound of the word to its meaning. Pen in english, stylo- in french and pluma in. We are capable of generating meanings by placing words in different orders and such. There is an infinite possibility of generating novel messages: language is structured. Even though there is an infinite possibility of combining words to create new messages, there are rules which must be followed. The swimmer jumped into the pool not pool the into the jumped swimmer . Phonemes: the smallest speech units in a language that can be distinguished perceptually, in other words: they are the pronunciations of letters in different words . A is differently pronounced in father had call and.