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CH 11.docx

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York University
PSYC 2110
Gillian Wu

CH 11: DEV OF LANG AND COMM SKILLS  Language: meaningless symbols that allow for an infinite number of msg’s  Communicate: transmit and influence info to other organisms  Vocables: unique sound patterns that infants use to represent events i.e. “Rrruh!” being a way to communicate a car pulled into the driveway FIVE COMPONENTS OF LANGUAGE  Phonology: combines phonemes (basic units of sound) to make the sounds of a language – sound system of language  Morphology: rules to create words from sounds  Semantics: refers to the meanings expressed in words/sentences – morphemes are the smallest meaningful unit of language (2 types) o Free morpheme: can stand alone as words i.e. dog o Bound morphemes: change meaning of a free morpheme and cant stand alone i.e. dogs  Syntax: rules that specify how words combine to become phrases i.e. NP VP  Pragmatics: k.l of how lang might be used to communicate effectively o Involves sociolinguistic k.l: cultural rules that dictate how lang should be used in certain social contexts THEORIES OF LANG DEV  Learning/empiricist perspective (nurture): lang is imitated, reinforced when proper, and corrected when they get things wrong o Although this idea is consistent, it lacks explaining how the dev of syntax emerges (parents are more likely to correct semantics then to attend to syntax of their toddler) o Children do not imitate the grammatical rules of their parents either i.e. saying “It broked” rather than “It broke”  The nativist perspective (nature): Chomsky proposed humans come equipped w. a lang acquisition device (LAD) – inborn ling processor that’s activated by verbal input (the LAD contains a universal grammar, so no matter what lang the child hears, they can acquire the sufficient vocab) o Slobin has a similar claim on lang dev – different than Chomsky, since he doesn’t think that children have any innate k.l of lang, but thinks they have an inborn lang-making capacity (LMC) – set of perceptual and cognitive abilities highly specialized for lang learning (skills that they can use to analyze speech)  The idea is that child make some ling mistakes, since they have a small ling database, but as they process more input they continue to dev Support for the nativist perspective  Children around the world reach milestones at the same age  Lang is species-specific: no other specs has a rule bound system like humans  Aphasia: loss of one or more lang fn – based on the area of the brain damage  Broca’s area: injury leads to problems w. speech production (found on the left hemi in the frontal lobe)  Wernicke’s area: injury leads to ppl speaking well, but not understanding speech (found in the temporal lobe of the left hemi)  Sensitive-period hypothesis: b.w birth and puberty – children can recover from aphasia w.out having special therapy, whereas adults don’t: happens bc the right hemi in children doesn’t have any specialized fns so it can take on the role of lang  Learning a 2 lang after 15 years leads to worse performance in the lang than when you learned it b.w 3-7 years old Problems w. this model  The young of other species show similar ability in discriminating different sounds (we may not have a unique LAD)  Nativists don’t explain lang dev based on their built in lang acquisition device  They have overlooked environments role in lang learning  The interactionist perspective: dev comes from a combo of bio maturation, cognitive dev and the changing ling environment influenced by the child’s attempts to communicate (talk abt each below):  Bio: young children talk alike before speaking bc as their brain matures they develop similar ideas at similar ages o Interactionist don’t agree w. the idea of LAD or LMC; instead they believe as a child gets more k.l they begin to have more to talk about  As infants start speaking, they normally talk about whatever cognitive understanding their acquiring at the moment; i.e. at 2 their likely to learn the word “gone” since they are now mastering the idea of object permanence o A child’s grammatical complexity increases as they start learning more words (since they now need to find ways of organizing these words)  There are different ling strategies that parents are able to use to speak to their infants and toddlers (communication strategies that foster lang dev): o Lessons from joint activities: parents teach children basic rules of speech when they talk to them; i.e. that conversing involves taking turns, that things have names, there are proper ways to ask a question/give an answer o Lessons from child-directed speech (aka motherese): universal short, simple high-pitched sentences used to talk to infants – infants can grasp msg’s carried by their parents based on their tone of voice, even if they don’t understand what their saying, i.e. “NO” or “That’s good!”  As the child’s speech becomes better, a parents CDS increases in length and complexity (helps them learn new words) o Lessons from –ve evidence: if a child uses ungrammatical speech, parents will subtly respond w. an improved form of the sent; known as expansion: “Doggie go?” “Yes, the doggie is going away”  Recast (different form of expansion): response to a child’s ungrammatical speech w. a nonrepetitive statement that is grammatically correct i.e. “Doggie eat” can be recasted into “What is the doggie eating” or “Yes the doggie is hungry” o Importance of conversation: children that just listen to others speech do not learn lang quicker than if they engaged in convo (different idea than a nativist) THE PRELINGUISTIC PERIOD: BEFORE LANGUAGE (first 10-13 months of life)  Neonates can discriminate speech from other sounds and pay close attn to speech really early in life  Neonates can also discriminate b.w different speech sounds  Different intonations (going from high to low tone or vice versa) can affect a babies mood – they recognize a certain tone is associated w. a meaning  Infants also prefer to listen to speech that creates pauses at natural breaks (b.w 2 phrases) and also attend more to their native lang than another one (by the last quarter of their first year)  Cooing: first sounds a baby makes ~2 months  Babbling: by 4-6 months when infants start adding consonant sounds to their vocals – repeat certain vowels/consonants like mamama (sound like words, but have no meaning) – deaf infants also babble  By 8-10 months, infants start using nonverbal responses and gestures [2 types] to communicate  Declarative gestures: infant points to an object to get the attn of others  Imperative gestures: infants try to convince others to grant his request by pointing at a candy or tugging a pant leg when they want to be held  Preverbal infants understand very little words before they can speak (11 months or younger) o Infants of 12 and up can understand more than they can say: receptive lang (comprehension) develops before productive lang THE HOLOPHRASTIC PERIOD: ONE WORD AT A TIME  First stage of meaningful speech; infants use holophrases (single words that represent entire sentences)  The errors that infants make when they first start talking is due to an immature vocal tract (bc these errors are similar across many lang’s) nd  Naming explosion: the latter half of an infants 2 year – they show a dramatic pace of acquiring new words; these new words are normally names of objects  A toddlers firs words are normally objects that they either act on, or objects capable of moving themselves (rarely do they mention stationary objects like plates or chairs)  They are especially likely to understand/use words introduced in multimodal motherese: when an older companion exaggerates utterances
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