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PSY315H5 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Vocal Tract, Language Acquisition Device, Speech Perception


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY315H5
Professor
Craig Chambers
Study Guide
Midterm

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Psy315 – Test 1 Notes 2016-02-27 9:54 PM
Lecture 1
Introduction
Physical sound waves are converted through transduction into
nerve signals that our brain processes
This allows us to understand the ideas and language being spoken
to us
Process can work in the opposite way also
Language is Implicit
It is hard for us to explain how sounds are different and how
exactly we produce specific sounds
We can recognize why sentences sound funny when they are
incorrect but cannot really explain why they are incorrect
Language is stored in the unconscious of the brain
What Children Acquire
Inventory of speech sounds
Phonology, rules for combination of sounds
o We learn to make and hear certain sounds
o No language uses every single speech sound
o Languages differ in how to combine certain sounds
! Example: English has no words that start with zv but
Russian does
Inventory of words/morphemes and the meanings
o Lexicon, personal dictionary of words a person knows
Grammar, rules for combining words/morphemes
o Every language has it’s own rules
Knowledge of how to use language in communicative contexts
o Pragmatics, communicative competence
o Understand language use in different contexts
! Example: learning what are questions, statements,
demands, etc. depending on the context

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How Children Learn Language
Induction, learn underlying system through simple exposure
o Gives us different solutions for a problem
o Possible solutions that language learners never seem to
consider
! Example: there are different ways to turn statements
into a question and children can learn these different
ways without much trouble
Plato’s Problem
Greek Philosopher who asked how do we know so much based on
limited evidence
o Why language learners only entertain certain possibilities
about a language given limited evidence they receive
Three Approaches: Nativist, Empiricist and Interactionist
Nativist, leaners are pre-wired to consider certain possibilities
o Brain has blueprint on how language will work
Interactionist, input of language acquisition and how well the
child can learn
o Accounts for both nature and nurture
Empiricist, consider learning the most important
Critical Periods, used by Nativists
o Relationship between age at which an important experience is
presented and the amount of learning that occurs
o A time period in which learning/experience needs to occur or
else the person may not learn
! Examples: imprinting in duck, visual system, song
learning in songbirds
o For language, evidence shows those with early exposure to
language obtain maximum proficiency in language use
Language Acquisition is a new field: plenty of debate and not a lot of facts
Rely on PIE approach: Problem, Ideas (possible solutions) and
Evidence (strength of evidence for the possible solutions)

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Video (Milestones)
Pre-verbal Stage
o Infant makes noises to communicate with parent for needs
o Infants recognize parents voices even before birth
o Loud noises will grab their attention
o Babies and parents often have turn taking conversations
As baby ages, he/she learns different emotional states
o 2 months, enjoyment appears
o 3 months, fun and laughter appears
o 4 months, anger can be shown
o 6 months, enjoy jokes, laughter, wariness to strangers
o 9 months, fear appears
Babbling, appears at 3 months, child will make sounds like bababa
First Words Stages (1 year)
o First word is recognizable and used consistently and correctly
Single Word Sentence Stage
o One word can have various means from the child
o Expressive Children: use words in social situations
o Referential Children: use words that are objects they see
Skinner believes children language based on imitation and classical
conditioning
o Parents reward children for words they copy
o Criticism: children will say things they never hear before
Chompsky believes children are pre-wired to learn language and
they have a language acquisition device (LAD)
o The LAD is universal and explains why children go through
similar stages and make similar mistakes
Short Sentence Stage (1 and half year)
o Use a few words to communicate
o Can easily remember lullabies and songs
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