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HLTH 220 Study Guide - Individuation, Pragmatics, Child Care

Health Studies
Course Code
HLTH 220
Linda Jessup

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Language Development
The Language of Infant-Directed Speech
-Style of verbal communication directed towards infants
-Short and simple sentences
-Higher pitch, increased range, and varied intonation
-Repetition of words and restricted topics
-Sometimes amusing sounds that are not even words
-Little formal structure, similar to telegraphic speech
Infant-directed Speech: A style of speech that characterizes much of the verbal communication directed
towards infants
Infant-Directed Speech in Language Acquisition
-Occurs all over the world with some cultural variations
-Is preferred by newborns to regular language
-Is related to earlier infant use of words and other forms of linguistic competence
How Does This Speech Change
-Infant-directed speech changes as children become older
oAround the end of the first year, takes on more adult-like qualities
oSentences become longer and more complex, although individual words are still spoken
slowly and deliberately
oPitch used to focus attention on important words
What Are Phonemes?
-Basic units of sound in a language
-The smallest sound element that when changed, can change the meaning of a word in a particular
Early Sounds And Communication: Prelinguistic Communication
oProgression from sounds that are the simplest to make more complex sounds
oExperience eventually does make a difference
Prelinguistic Communication: Communication through sounds, facial expressions, gestures, imitation and
other nonlinguistic means
Babbling: Making speech like but meaningless sounds. Starts are the age of 2 or 3 months and continues
until around the age of 1 year. Infants, when they babble, repeat the same vowel over and over, changing
the pitch from high to low. After the age of 5 months, the sounds of babbling begin to expand, reflecting the
addition of consonants
See What I Say: Infants With Hearing Impairments
-Babble with hands instead of voices
-Gestural and verbal babbling activate same neural centers
-Deaf children display their own form of babbling: Infants who cannot hear and who are exposed to
sign language babble with their hands instead of their voices. Their gestural babbling thus is
analogous to the verbal babbling of children who can hear

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-Areas of the brain activated during the production of hand gestures are similar to the areas
activated during speech production, suggesting that spoken language may have evolved from
gestural language
-Research has indicated that deaf children (whose caregivers sign) using their hands are actually
more advanced than hearing children using their voices
Progression From Simple to Complex
-Exposure to speech sounds of particular language initially do not influence babbling
oAt 6 months babbling reflects language of culture
oDistinguishable from other language babbling
-Combinations of sounds and gestures used to communicate
-Ex. Marta cries of anger, which alerts her parents that something is amiss and her ball is missing,
this results in her parents handing her the ball. Communication has occurred.
Whole Object Constraint
-One thing that facilitates childrens word learning is the biases (i.e., assumptions) they have when
they hear new words
-Children behave according to a whole object constraint
oThey assume that a novel word refers to the entire object we are paying attention to,
rather than about a part or a quality of the object
Language Explosion
-Between speaking our first words (12-16 months) and starting to put together sentences (20-30
months), we go though a period where we acquire a vast number of words (15-22 months)
-As children approach 2 years of age, they experience a language explosion. They learn about 10 to
20 new words each week, most of which are nouns.
Preschool Language on the Grow
-Use plurals and possessive forms of nouns
-Employ the past tense
-Use articles
-Ask and answer complex questions
-Extend appropriate formation of words to new words
-By the age of 3, all these are normally accomplished
Over-extension and Under-extension
-An over extension or under extension of a word’s meaning, is a particularly common error for
children as they learn new words
-An over extension is to use a word to refer to more than its intended referent
-An under extension is to use a word to refer to less than its intended referent
Language Development
-During preschool years
oSentence length increases at a steady pace
oSyntax doubles each month
oEnormous leaps in number of words used through fast mapping
-During preschool years, childrens language skills reach new heights of sophistication
-They being the period with reasonable linguistic capabilities, although with significant gaps in
both comprehension and production

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-Language blooms so rapidly between the late twos and mid-threes that researchers have yet to
understand the exact pattern
Syntax: Ways in which children at this age combine words and phrases to form sentences
What About Practical Communication?
Pragmatics: The aspect of language relating to communicating effectively and appropriately with others
-Helps children to understand the basics of conversations
oTurn taking
oSticking to a topic
oWhat should/shouldn’t be said according to society
oUse of different language in various settings
Language Development Theories
oSpecial innate abilities, that may include a language module, where acquiring language is
different from other learning
oTermed a LAD (Language Acquisition Device) by Chomsky
oLanguage is fundamentally a social experience
oLearned by reinforcement
oLanguage is acquired through the regularities in our experience and exposure
oDynamic Systems views language as a self-organizing system – active and adaptive in a
changing environment
-Therefore Connectionism is closest to the systems perspective we are using in this course
oGenes x Environment, Dynamic Systems, etc.
Origins of Language Development
-Learning Theory Approaches: Language as a Learned Skill
oLanguage acquisition follows the basic laws of reinforcement and conditioning
oThrough the process of shaping, language becomes more and more similar to adult
-Children learn to speak by being rewarded for making sounds that approximate speech
-Does not adequately explain how children readily lean rules of language
-Does not account for how children move beyond specific heard utterances to produce novel
phrases, sentences and constructions
Origins of Language Development
-Nativist Approaches: Language as an Innate Skill
oGenetically determined, innate mechanism that directs the development of language
oChildren are born with innate capacity to use language, which emerges, more or less,
automatically, due to maturation
-Chomsky’s analysis of different languages suggests that all the world’s languages share a similar
underlying structure, which he calls universal grammar
oIn this view, the human brain is wired with a neural system called the language
acquisition device, that permits the understanding of language structure and provides a set
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