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PSY 302 (82)
Chapter

Language

2 Pages
92 Views

Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY 302
Professor
Sohail Rashid

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Human language is amazingly flexible, productive and novel (ability to produce things)
Language is a small number of individually meaningless symbols (sounds, gestures, letters) that can
be combined according to agreed-on rules to produce messages.
Components of Language
Rather than language, other species have communication systems
Communication is the process by which one organism transmits information to and influences
another.
The order of the words or symbols; grammar.
Meaning
Semantecs a.k.a deep structure
Phonology - basic units of sound (phonemes) that are used in language and the rules for
combining these sounds.
Morphology - how words are formed from sound.
Also involves sociolinguistic knowledge - culturally specified rules that dictate how the
language should be used in particular social contexts.
Pragmatics knowledge of how to use language to communicate effectively.
Those who study the structure and development of children's language are called psycholinguists.
They have tried to answer the question: what must children learn to master their native tonge?
Some of the knowledge that underlie the growth of linguistic proficiency are:
Theories of Language Development
The nature/nurture controversy is again seen
How do children learn such a complex system (language), so fast?
Does not explain how children attain knowledge of grammar
Empiricists (Learning Perspective) believe language is learned through imitation and reinforcement
(i.e. Children learn language by imitating what they hear, reinforced when they use proper grammar
and are corrected when they say things wrong.)
Believe human beings are biologically programmed to acquire language
Believed humans are equipped with a language acquisition device (LAD) - pre-wiring to learn
the rules of grammar.
LAD contains universal grammar: the rules that characterizes all grammar
Other nativists have come up with the Language making capacity (LMC) - a set of cognitive
and perceptual abilities that are highly specialized for language learning.
The sensitive period hypothesis suggests that language is best acquired between birth and
puberty
Problems With the Nativist Approach
Don't really explain language (i.e. How the LAD works)
Nativists believe in linguistic universals - common milestones in language acquisition.
Adjusted to be maximally comprehensible.
Think of the four-year-old that adjusts his speech so the younger child can
understand
Slightly higher language level than child's
Motherese: or "child-directed speech" is the short, high-pitched and repetitive language
mothers use with their young children.
Parents will subtly correct children who use incorrect grammar using expansion
(i.e. Child: "doggie go!" Mom: "yes, the doggie is going away."), responding to the
child's grammatically incorrect sentence with a grammatically improved form of
Lessons from Negative Evidence
Parents and older children have ways of talking and interacting with infants
Interactionists believe language acquisition is nature and nurture (biological factors and
environmental influences)
Chapter 10
March-17-10
11:46 PM
Child Psychology Page 1

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Description
Chapter 10March17101146 PMHuman language is amazingly flexible productive and novel ability to produce thingsLanguage is a small number of individually meaningless symbols sounds gestures letters that can be combined according to agreedon rules to produce messagesComponents of LanguageRather than language other species have communication systemsCommunication is the process by which one organism transmits information to and influences anotherThose who study the structure and development of childrens language are called psycholinguists They have tried to answer the question what must children learn to master their native tonge Some of the knowledge that underlie the growth of linguistic proficiency areSyntax aka surface structureThe order of the words or symbols grammarSemantecs aka deep structureMeaningPhonology basic units of sound phonemes that are used in language and the rules for combining these soundsMorphology how words are formed from soundPragmaticsknowledge of how to use language to communicate effectivelyAlso involves sociolinguistic knowledge culturally specified rules that dictate how the language should be used in particular social contextsTheories of Language DevelopmentHow do children learn such a complex system language so fastThe naturenurture controversy is again seenEmpiricistsLearning Perspective believe language is learned through imitation and reinforcement ie Children learn language by imitating what they hear reinforced when they use proper grammar and are correcte
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