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Psychology (1,899)
PSY274H5 (28)
Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Textbook Notes - How Do We Acquire Language?

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Craig Chambers

Notes From Reading: P ART 1: ANGUAGE : THE HUMAN A BILITY(PGS. 3-91) C HAPTER 1: HOW D O W EA CQUIRE L ANGUAGE ? (3-20) Chapter 1: How Do We Acquire Language? - Acquiring language beings in the womb for hearing fetuses (our accessible memories do not go back that far) - Acquiring language happens naturally – no one teaches us, brain does it on its own - Language acquisition proceeds normally o For example: In Samoa, adults do not view infants and small children as conversational partners, nor feel the responsibility to model their speed so children can learn easily. Yet, children acquire the language of the larger community at the same rate of other children around the world o Therefore, conscious language teaching is not necessary for first language acquisition - The idea of mimicking language is sufficient for language acquisition is also wrong o Example: The Wild Boy of Aveyron was found living in the woods of Aveyrn. All his habits indicate that wild animals have raised him. Doctor Jean-Marc Itard put years of working trying to teach him human language, but he never acquired more than small vocabs with no signs of system of rules o Example: Genie was also living in captive isolation that limited both her physical activity and her linguistic input. She could hardly walk and didn’t know what was speech. Researchers tried teaching her language for years, but she never progressed beyond an unsystematic stringing together of a few words. Eventually she stopped talking although, and she was removed from the study. - By studying a British family who exhibited an inherited rare language disorder, they also found another children (no related) with same disorder o Found that the gene, FOXP2 was directly involved in language ability - Various parts of the language mechanisms are located in separate spots in the brain, and they work together to produce comprehensive language ability o From the example of the Wild Boy of Aveyron and of Genie, we have evidence that the language mechanism somehow changes at an early age - Strokes can result in severe language loss in a person whose intelligence is otherwise left intact - Damage to the front part of the brain’s left hemisphere results in the los of the ability to use a coherent word order and general sentence structure o Broca’s Aphasia – Person produces short and choppy utterances and exhibits a general lack of fluency - Damage to the rear part of the brain’s left hemisphere results in the loss of the ability to use words appropriate to meaning, to interpret language, or both o Wernicke’s aphasia – Damage to the brain’s entire left hemisphere result in all these malfunctions and is known as global aphasia - Certain pathologies are linked to congenital problems o Example: Children born with spina bifida sometimes experience devastating retardation. They can articulately recount imagined events
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