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Chapter Six- PSY312

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Hywel Morgan

Chapter Six Language DevelopmentKey Properties of Language Developmentcommunicate meaningstatements are cryptic children include only the essentials omit prepositions articles adverbslanguage is internally motivated children attend to meanings both the meanings they wish to convey and the meanings other people are trying to get acrossemphasizing meaning is an intelligent approach to language acquisition language is a tool for adpating to the social world other people promote learning language the way they talk to children use objects in the present etclanguages were constructed by human beings and have evolved so that children can learn them Phonology concerns the structure and sequencing of speech soundsMeaning emphasizes the correspondences between particular words and phrases and particular objects properties of objects events and ideas Grammar focuses on the system of rules through which people from sentencesCommunication involves the ways that phonology syntax and semantics are used to convey messages to other peopleWe are able to comprehend language and produce itcomprehension precedes production for all aspects of language and often by a substantial marginKnowledge of phonology begins to develop soon after birth as infants become increasingly able to recognize and produce the sounds characteristic of their languageMeaning becomes an important issue later in the first year by age 6 understands few simple words produce first words by their birthdayDuring the second year grammar becomes an important focus By the middle of the second year most children demonstrate some understanding of the diffs among various syntactic constructions Soon after this age most children being to string together phrases of two or more wordsCommunication is complexly related to all the other aspects of language and it could reasonably be placed at any point in the orderingGENERAL ISSUES REGARDING LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT Is Language SpecialWhy are kids able to learn language so fastNoam Chomsky claimed that ppl possess a language organ that allows them to acquire language esp easily without the organ it would be impossible for children to learn a system as complex as language on the basis of the language input they receive because the rules of grammar are too complicated and the input too inconsistent believed that would be impossible for general learning mechanisms imitation and reinforcement to yield knowledge about language language organ embodied innate knowledge of aspects of grammar that apply across the world would allow child to recognize which relates to their native languageOther researchers do not agreeMacWhinney capacity of learning language has evolved over 6 million years evolved in brain structures but also more general cognitive capacities and in the social structure of primate groups which led to a need for more refined systems of communicationlanguage learning is special because language learning emerges from a unique and complex interplay of neural cognitive and social factors that have gradually evolved over historical time Language learning is special1 Language acquisition is special in its universalityoccurs quickly2 Language acquisition is self motivating properties desire to communicate humans seem to be the only animals who are interested in communicating info that is of no direct importance for survivalwe also try to speak grammatically even when ungrammatical statements would communicate just as well Where you going3 A third way in which language is special is evident in its relation to disorders that affect thinking in generalDown Syndrome Williams Syndromelower IQlanguage skills of those with Williams S are much better than DSSome speak well enough as adults to be mistaken for typical adults while language and thought are complexly interdependent the patterns of performance of children with these syndromes suggest that they also are distinct although many lines of evidence support Chomskys view that language learning is special in certain ways his specific claim that children have innate knowledge of a universal grammar has fared less well language learning seems to require both general learning abilities and abilities specific to language acquisition What is the Biological Basis of Languagelocalization idea that the brain activity that underlies a specific cognitive function is concentrated in a particular part of the brainplasticity the idea that brain functioning changes in response to experience language has an anatomical basedominant area in language processing is in the middle of the left hemisphere of the brain
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