Chapter 7.docx

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Mark Schmuckler

Chapter 7: Language and Communication 1 - children in a wide range of environments and cultures learn to understand use their native languages in a relative short period of time - this suggests that human infants are prepared to respond to the language environment and to acquire language skills - crucial part of language learning is the social support provided by others as the child learns to speak and use language to accomplish their own goals - language = a communication system in which words and their written symbols combine in various, regulated ways to produce an infinite number of messages - language serves a wide range of purposes for the child: o interact with others o communicate information o express his feelings, wishes and views o use language to influence other peoples behavior o to explore and learn about their environment o to escape from reality by using their imagination - development of communicative competence = the ability to convey thoughts, feelings and intentions organized in an culturally patterned way that sustains and regulates human interactions - communication is a two way process o we send messages to others o we receive messages from them - thus this is productive language = production of speech - we produce communications using receptive language = the understanding of speech - chapter: o overview of primary components of language o explore dominant theories of how language develops in infant and young children o structure of language, including words, sentences, and grammar o examine how children begin to understand and use language to communicate o consider language development for children who are bilingual and learn to languages 1. The components of language: phonology, semantics, grammar and pragmatics - children learn about the sounds, meanings, structures and use of language simultaneously - scholars divide the study of language into 4 main areas: o phonology o semantics o grammar o pragmatics - phonology = the system of sounds that a particular language uses o includes languages basic unit of sounds, phoneme phoneme = any of the basic units of a languages phonetic system; phonemes are the smallest of sound units that affect meaning o includes rules about how we put phonemes together to form words and rules about the proper intonation patterns for phrases and sentences - important feature of phonologic rules is that they are generative o they are applicable beyond the cases on which they are based Chapter 7: Language and Communication 2 - semantics = the study of word meanings and word combinations, as in phrases, clauses and sentences o comprehension of written as well as spoken language requires not only knowledge of specific words and their definitions but also an understanding of how we use words and how we combine them in phrases, clauses and sentences o when children mature intellectually, their semantics grows as well o adults too expand their vocabularies - grammar = the structure of a language; made up of morphology and syntax o morphology = the study of a languages smallest units of meaning or morphemes morpheme = any of a languages smallest units of meaning, such as a prefix, suffix, or a root word o syntax = the subdivision of grammar that prescribes how words are to be combined into phrases, clauses or sentences grammar rules: negation, interrogation, possession, and the arrangement of subject and order in a statement - pragmatics = a set of rules that specifies appropriate language for particular social contexts o directly concern effective and appropriate communication 2. Theories of language development - most theorists today hold the interactionist view that both heredity and nature of environment contributes to the ability to communicate - interactionist approach focuses on the role of early caregivers in the childs acquisition of language o environmentalist view or learning view o biological view or nativist view Learning view: claims and limitations - traditional learning explanations use the principle of reinforcement to explain language development - B.F Skinner: parents or other caregivers selectively reinforce each of the childs babbling sounds that is most like adult speech o Argued that by giving attention to these particular sounds and showing approval when their baby utters them, parents encourage the child to repeat them o When the child repeats them, the parents/caregivers approve them again o Thus by giving approval to infants closest approximation to adult speech sounds, parents shape their childs verbal behavior to what increasingly resembles adult speech - Other theorists: propose that the child learns primarily through imitation or observational learning o According to this view, the child picks up words, phrases, and sentences directly by imitating what he hears o Through reinforcement and generalization, or applying what he has learned to new situations, the child learns when it is appropriate or inappropriate to use particular words and phrasesChapter 7: Language and Communication 3 - Learning theory accounts have not fared well as a sole explanation for language acquisitions, the reasons being: o The number of stimulus-response connections the link between the babys vocalization and a parents reinforcement response that would be needed to explain language o Naturalistic studies of parent-child interaction fail to support the learning theory account Mothers are just as likely to reinforce their child for truthful but grammatically incorrect utterances as they are to reinforce grammatically correct utterances o We cannot predict the vast majority of language utterances from opportunities to observe specific utterances by others Ie. Utterances that are closely tied to environmental cues o Learning theory accounts have not explained the regular sequence in which language develops Children in North American culture and other cultures seem to learn the same type of grammatical rules and in the same order o Learning explanations basically portrays the child as playing a passive role in language development, though there is evidence that the child plays an active and creative role in discovering and applying the general rules of language The nativist view: claims and limitations - This view suggests that language acquisition unfolds as a result of the unique biological properties of the human organism
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