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December Modules 27,28.docx

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York University
PSYC 1010

Language and thought modules 27, 28 Module 28 -uses and structures • We can hear about and understand phenomena we have never experienced • We can connect to people far away • We can make plans and have others carry them out • We can know what people are thinking, we can ask them (how are you feeling?) • We can store information -what is language made of? • Phonemes: are the smallest units of sound (vowels and consonants) • Morphemes: are the units of meaning, i.e words and meaningful parts of words such as suffixes • Grammar: refers to the rules for using words, including semantics, definition, connotations, and syntax (how the order of the words make meaning) -Speech perception: there are 3 problems we need to deal with 1. Lack of invariance: letters sound the same 2. Problems of speakers variability: people sound different 3. The segmentation problem: no clear breaks between words, continuous -we have categorical perception: we hear sharp contrasts between speech sounds even though they vary continuously -speech perception is very TOP DOWN, we will fill in the gaps (i.e. McGurk, phonemic restoration effect) -Language development: • Between 2 and 18 we will learn 10 new words per day on average • Children learn the basic grammar of language they can add 2+2 • Most kids can recall words into sentences, while simultaneously following social rules 0-4 months Receptive language: associative sounds with facial movements, and recognizing when sounds are broken into words 4 months Productive language: babbling in multilingual sounds and gestures 10 months Babbling sounds more like the parents/ household language 12 months One word stage: understanding and beginning to say many nouns 18-24 months Two word telegraphic speech: adding verbs, and making sentences but missing words (“see bird”) 24+ months Speaking full sentences and understanding complex sentences -how is language acquired? Nature (children must construct) vs. nurture (learn their mothers tongue) -social learning process: • Parents o Use high pitched intonations (motherese) o Name objects and ask questions • Operant conditioning o Positive reinforcement of appropriate language o Non reinforcement or correction of inappropriate language -language reinforcement by reinforcement: children learn words very quickly, parents don’t correct grammar (do correct deep structure errors) -language acquisition occurs through structure input? • Child direct speech (speak more slowly and more clearly, exaggerate intonation) • ACL is not syntactically simple • In some cultures, adults do not use a special register with children • Some communities in which adults hardly talk to babies at all -explaining language acquisition: Nature vs. Nurture • The role of genes: we seem to have an inborn (genetic) talent for acquiring language, though no particular kind of language is in the genes -Critical period for language: immigrants beginning a new language later in life are harder to
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