PSYC 1000 Chapter Notes -Noam Chomsky, Language Processing In The Brain, Babbling

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Published on 6 Aug 2012
School
University of Guelph
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 1000
Course: PSYC*1000 (DE)
Professor: Harvey Marmurek
Schedule: Summer, 2012
Textbook: Psychology – Tenth Edition in Modules authored by David G. Myers
Textbook ISBN: 9781464102615
Module 28: Language and Thought
Language transmits knowledge – whether spoken, written, or signed, language – the original wireless
communication – enables mind-to-mind information transfer, and with it the transmission of civilization’s
accumulated knowledge across generations. Language is so fundamental to our experience, so deeply a part of
being human, that it’s hard to imagine life without it.
Language Structure
What are the structural components of a language?
Phenomes – smallest distinctive sound units in language – consonant phenomes carry more info than
vowel phenomes (each letter makes a sound, so the one word may sound like one sound but the word ‘bat’ actually
has three different sounds to it
Morphemes – smallest units that carry meaning. Most morphemes combine two or more phonemes. Pre-
view; adapt-ed
Grammar – system of rules that enables us to communicate
How many morphemes are in the word cats? How many phonemes?
Two morphemes – cat and ‘s’, and four phonemes – c, a, t, and s.
Language Development
When Do We Learn Language?
What are the milestones in language development?
Receptive Language: By 4 months can recognize differences in speech sounds. Receptive language
ability to understand what is said to and about them.
Productive Language: ability to produce words; babbling stage – spontaneously uttered sounds are
consonant-vowel pairs; age 10 months babbling changed so train ear can identify the house language. Around 12
months, children enter one-word stage. At 18 months two-word stage or telegraphic speech.
What is the difference between receptive and productive language, and when do children normally hit these
milestones in language development?
Infants normally start developing receptive language skills (ability to understand what is said to and about them)
around 4 months of age. Also at around 4 months, infants normally start building productive language skills (ability
to produce sounds and eventually words).
Explaining Language Development
How do we acquire language?
Noam Chomsky – universal grammar – all have nouns, verbs, and adjectives as grammatical building blocks. We
are not born with a built-in specific language. But no matter what language we learn, we start speaking it mostly in
nouns (kitty, da-da) rather than in verbs and adjectives. Biology and experience work together.
Statistical Learning
When adults listen to an unfamiliar language, the syllables all run together, but a 7-month old child would not have
this problem. Human infants display a remarkable ability to learn statistical aspects of human speech. Infants’ have
a knack for soaking up language, learning simple sentence structures (7-month-old). Can detect difference between
the two patterns supports the idea that babies come with a built-in readiness to learn grammatical rules.
Critical Periods
Childhood seems to represent a critical (or sensitive) period for mastering certain aspects of language before the
language-learning window closes. The window on language learning closes gradually early in childhood. Later-
than-usual exposure to language (at age 2 or 3) unleashes the idle language capacity of a child’s brain, producing a
rush of language. But by about age 7, those who have not been exposed to either a spoken or a signed language
gradually lose their ability to master any language.
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Document Summary

Textbook: psychology tenth edition in modules authored by david g. myers. Language transmits knowledge whether spoken, written, or signed, language the original wireless communication enables mind-to-mind information transfer, and with it the transmission of civilization"s accumulated knowledge across generations. Language is so fundamental to our experience, so deeply a part of being human, that it"s hard to imagine life without it. Grammar system of rules that enables us to communicate. Two morphemes cat and s", and four phonemes c, a, t, and s. What are the milestones in language development? ability to understand what is said to and about them. Receptive language: by 4 months can recognize differences in speech sounds. Productive language: ability to produce words; babbling stage spontaneously uttered sounds are consonant-vowel pairs; age 10 months babbling changed so train ear can identify the house language. At 18 months two-word stage or telegraphic speech.

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