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Child Development
Maryanne Wolf

• Kuntu to Muntu o Child without language  can speak • 2 times brain is at full capacity o Playing a piano concerto o Reading a difficult poem • Prosody o Speech melody o Keeps listeners engaged • Universal historical question about language o Who was the first to speak??? o Psammeticus  Isolated a baby and waited to see what his first word was  First word: BEKOS • Bread  Also done by: James IV of Scotland • First words were Hebrew  And Danes • Babies died, probably most accurate experiment o God spoke English o Adam spoke Swedish o The snake spoke French • The genes we think are involved in language seem to have existed ages ago as well • Mother-ese o Mommy language o Higher pitch o Positive o Elongated vowels  Makes phonemes more prominent o BIG EYE contact • Hail fellow well met voice o Daddy talk • Babies will pick up the melody of your voice and coo it back • We have the ability to learn anything at birth o Can hear, make, learn any phonemes o Repertoire of phonemes is restricted to what they have been exposed to by one year • Phonology and prosody o Semantics  Morphology: smallest unit of meaning learned over time (s= plural; ed= past) • Syntax: grammatical structures of sentences o Pragmatics: rules of social intercourse • How we study language o Classic linguistics  Classification of languages  History of language o Neurolinguistics and neuroscience o Sociolinguistics o Child development  Typical development of language and cognition  Developmental differences • Deafness • Disorders of language development • Infancy o Planum temporale developed in fetus o 8 cry/coo sounds o Prosody o Categorical perception  P vs B sound  Air vs no air o Lateralization of speech sounds • 6-9 months o Babbling  Qualitative differences in deafness  Babbling on the hands o Vocal tract maturation o Vocables o Receptive vs expressive differences o Motherese • 12-18 months o First words o Holophrases o Overextension (“nunu”) o Underextension o Overextension o Cognition • 18 months-2 years o Naming epiphany o Word explosion  50-220 words  Want to know what everything is  Helen Keller experience o MLU – 2 word phrases  Mean length utterance o Grammatical rules; pronouns o Morpheme acquisition • 2-3 years o 300-400 words o 2/3 repertoir of phonemes • Naming process: o Know an object has a name • By around 2 years o Children have 13-15 morphemes o Jean Gleason tested morphemes  Wug test • Invented creatures • Called them wugs • Said if there is 1 wug, and another comes, there are 2 _____ o Wug(z)  Must use z phoneme for plural • Mean length of utterance (MLU) o How many words are most of their sentences • Mean Length of Utterance (MLU) o What’s a child’s MLU? o Reflects child’s ability to hold thought & words in a meaningful way o Biological unfolding of language • Star Wars according to a 3 year old o She seems to be talking in an egocentric manner; what she’s saying may not make too much sense to you, but she thinks since it makes sense to her, it must make sense to everyone else o She knew how to use body language • 2-3 Years o 300-400 words o 2/3 repertoire of phonemes; all vowels o Grammatical rules in some sentences (e.g., “goed” and “wented”)  No developmental account can explain “wented” o Rapid vocabulary growth • 20th Century Theories o B.F Skinner: Reinforcement Theory of Language  Environment (a posteriori knowledge)  Environmental Explanations given by John Locke (1632-1704) • We are all tabula rasa (blank slates)  Skinnner was very influenced by John Locke’s way of learning • Imitation plus reinforcement (S-R-R)  Skinner believed that children primariy learned by imitating what was around them, and that was both true & untrue  Verbal Behavior • Skinner said that all language is verbal behavior • Nature of Language (Input) Environment for Semantic Representations o 1. Hart & Risley “32,000,000 word gap”  Found that there was a gap of 32 million words not heard by the children in the welfare group (mentioned briefly in Textbook)  Where skinner was right was that it matters what our environemtnal input is • So many kids were in environemnts that were not rich enough with words (inputs) for our brain to learn from them • Literacy Environment – Teale & Sulzby; o Juel reports on books in home; stories read o
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