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Language Development Notes

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PSY 0310
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Language Development  Three year olds know 95% of grammar rules  Don’t forget new words once they are learned  Phoneme Development: begin to hear/produce sounds of their language (phonemes are the most basic sounds of language)  Morpheme Development: units of meaning like words (free: words, made-up words that; bound: attached to free, -s, -ed)  Syntax Development: structure, rules of language (word order, tenses)  Semantic Development: say things in different ways, understand long sentences (i.e. The big pink giraffe ran down Fifth Avenue until the police caught him)  Pragmatic Development: using language to communicate effectively (giving background information, etc.) Experiments  Mostly parental reports  Natural observation  Diaries o Parents keep track of child’s progress o Mostly seen in researchers who have kids  Example Experiment o Fake words to determine whether kids understand grammar o Call something a wug and then prompt the child to talk about it Newborn Speech Perception  High Amplitude Sucking Procedure o Tests ability to discriminate between B/P sounds and R/L sounds o At 1 year they lose the ability to discriminate between noises that aren’t in their own language (pruning)  Operant Head Turn o Conditioned to watch a bunny when the sound changes o By 10 months they can’t hear the difference between similar sounds because their hearing has become specialized  Dialects (at 11 months but not 4 months) o Pittsburgh babies can’t discriminate between Chinese and Taiwanese o Can, however, discriminate between Pittsburgh and New York o Can discriminate between two novel dialects in their own language o This idea is called perceptual narrowing and it occurs by about the first year Discriminating Words  Infants can look for consistencies in the sounds, i.e. the stress or frequency indicators  This is how they can tell words apart (the beginning and end of words) Phoneme Development  Cooing: sounds without tongue  Babbling: using mouth and tongue, almost like talking (3-4 months) o Changes in frequency with reinforcement (i.e. the parents getting excited when things start sounding like words) o Universal between all cultures o At 5-6 months, it sounds more language-specific o Deaf babies are the same up until this 5-6 month turning point o Babies talk between 1 year and 1.5 years  Progression of Sound Development o Consonant Sounds: front of moth to back of mouth (BK) o Vowel Sounds: back of mouth to front of mouth (AhEh)  Why do babies babble? o They are learning to coordinate their articulatory systems o This helps them practice manipulating their lungs and other organs that produce sounds Early Semantic Development  First words around 1 year, but it ranges from 7/8 months-1.5/2 years
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