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Chapter 7

Chapter 7

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Craig Chambers

PSY315 CHAPTER 7 – COMMUNICATIVE DEVELOPMENT: LEARNING TO USE LANGUAGE Linguistic competence: ability to produce and understand well-formed, meaningful sentences Communicative competence: ability to use those sentences appropriately in communicative interaction - Communicative competence studied by several overlapping fields, primarily the fields of pragmatics, discourse processes, and sociolinguistics o Pragmatics: concerns the purposes to which language is put (to request, command, justify) o Discourse: language in units larger than a sentence o Discourse skill: ability to manage such longer stretches of talk – conversations and narratives o Sociolinguistics: how language use varies as a function of sociological variables (ex. Status/culture/gender) Components of Adults’ Communicative Competence Pragmatics - Speaking is “doing things with words” - Each sentence a speaker utters is a speech act o Speech act: utterance as behaviour; the notion that talking is “doing things with words”  Speech act has three components • Its intended function (its illuctionary force) o Ex. Request, query, promise • Its linguistic form (its locution) o Ex. Declarative, imperative • Its effect on the listener (its perlocution) o Ex. Obtaining requested object, transmitting information - Intentionality o Intentionality: the characteristic of having a purpose or goal (in speaking) o Forms and effects – the intentions that underlie communication are the most difficult to specify  Nonverbal communication – messages that are often unintended o Focus on what is inside the mind of the communicator makes intentionality a crucial part of the definition of communication o Distinction between the intention to achieve a goal and the intention to meet another mind – important in describing the development of communication in children o True communicative points emerge later when children start to point to things merely to convey information to another - Form-Function Mappings and the Role of Context o Intended function of an utterance may be different from its form and its literal meaning - Discourse o Connected discourse: stretches of speech that are much longer than a single sentence o Conversations: when they involve two or more people talking o Narratives: forms of extended monologues  One speaker talks at length like in a lecture, sermon, or a narrative o Communicative competence includes knowing how to participate in conversations and how to produce monologues such as narratives o Basic rules to conversation:  Take turns PSY315 CHAPTER 7 – COMMUNICATIVE DEVELOPMENT: LEARNING TO USE LANGUAGE  Cooperative • Quantity: make sure your contribution as informative as is required; provide neither too much nor too little information • Quality: try to make your contribution one that is true; do not say what you believe to be false or that for which you lack adequate evidence • Relation: be relevant • Manner of conversational contributions: be perspicuous (i.e. be clear – brief, orderly, unambiguous) o Children’s development as conversationalists – learn to take turns, become able to provide the right amount of relevant information in a clear manner (basically following the rules)  Children must also acquire skills in order to produce text, or stretches of speech on their own o Beginnings of narrative development can be found in spontaneous descriptions of past events children produce in conversation, starting before the age of 3 Sociolinguistics - Registers o Registers: styles of language use associated with particular social settings - Cultural Variation in Language Use o Children learn as they acquire communicative competence to use language in the particular way their social group uses language o Language socialization: process of learning to use language in a manner consistent with the norms of your social group Pragmatic Development Pragmatic development: development of the use of language to serve communicative functions  Birth: children do not have language, don’t display any sign of having communicative intentions  Infants: emit behaviours (crying, fussing, smiling), caregivers use behaviours as clues to infants’ internal states, BUT no reason to think that infants’ early expressions are anything other than automatic responses to internal states (like sneezing/coughing) - Absence of intentional control distinguishes reflexive behaviour from true communication The Development of Speech Acts - First, perlocutionary phase of communicative development o Children have effects on their listeners  Signals that have effects are not produced with the intention of communicating to a listener - Second, illocutionary phase o Children become aware that their behaviour can be used to communicate with others o Around 10 months of age  Children come to understand that other people can be helpful in satisfying one’s goals and that it is possible to elicit this help by communicating with them • Communicative behaviours as protoimperatives o Behaviours serve the function of imperatives (commands)  Both the illocutionary force and perlocutionary effect of imperatives – all they lack is the locutionary content o Protodeclarative  Use objects to direct adult attention PSY315 CHAPTER 7 – COMMUNICATIVE DEVELOPMENT: LEARNING TO USE LANGUAGE  Before using a pointing gesture to direct adults’ attention, children point to things when they are unaware of being observed, and they point to things without any effort to obtain adult attention - Third, locutionary phrase o When children’s communicative behaviour includes using language to refer o Degrees within the locutionary stage  Sounds may first be used consistently in certain contexts but in somewhat idiosyncratic ways • Describe one child using the sound “Mm” with a pointing gesture to indicate a request • More advanced, but not referential, is using a word such as bam when knocking over constructions made out of blocks o “bam” is part of the activity of knocking down blocks, not a symbol that stands for and can be used to refer to the activity of knocking down blocks  Gradually, children learn to use language referentially Phase 1: Perlocutionary Birth – 10 months Behaviour has consequences but is not produced with communicative intent Phase 2: Illocutionary 10 – 12 months Behaviour has communicative goals but does not use the forms of the target language Phase 3: Locutionary 12 months Behaviour has communicative intentions and adult- onwards like forms The Expanding Range of the Communicative Functions of Speech First Functions of Language FUNCTION DEFINITION Instrumental Satisfying the child’s needs Regulatory Directing others’ behaviours Interactional Interacting with others, ex. Greetings Personal Expression of personal feelings Heuristic Requesting information Imaginative Pretending Informative Conveying information Primitive Speech Acts at the One-Word Stage SPEECH ACT DEFINITION EXAMPLE Labeling Use word while attending to object or event. Does Child touches doll’s eyes and not address adult or wait for response says “eyes” Repeating Repeats part or all of prior adult utterance. Does Child overhears mother’s not wait for a response utterance of “doctor” and says “doctor” Answering Answers adult’s questions. Addresses adult Mother points to a picture of a dog and asks “What’s that?” Child answers “bow-wow” Requesting Word or vocalization often accompanied by Child, unable to push a peg action gesture signaling demand. Addresses adult and through hole, utters “uh uh uh” awaits response while looking at mother Requesting Asks questions with a word, sometimes Child picks up book, looks at accompanying gesture. Addresses adult and mother, and says “book?” with awaits response rising intonation. Mother PSY315 CHAPTER 7 – COMMUNICATIVE DEVELOPMENT: LEARNING TO USE LANGUAGE answers “Right, it’s a book” Calling Calls adult’s name loudly and awaits response Child shouts “mama” to his mother across the room Greeting Greets adult or object upon its appearance Child says, “hi” when teacher enters room Protesting Resists adult’s action with word or cry. Addresses Child, when mother attempts to adult put on his shoe, utters an extended scream while resisting her Practicing Use of word or prosodic pattern in absence of any Child utters “Daddy” when he is specific object or event. Does not address adult. not present Does await response - Because children’s linguistic means limited at one-word stage, used other, extra-linguistic means to indicate illocutionary force - Intonation is one such means o Mama with a falling intonation contour to label o Mama with a rising intonation to question o Mama with an abrupt rising-falling contour to call the mother when they were at a distance - Second year of life o Children are more interested in communicating o Communicate a greater range of intentions, and use a greater number of linguistic forms to realize each intention o 16 and 18 months  Repeating and answering questions o “The reach of speech”  Changes in what children used their speech to talk about  18 – 30 months  18 months: children’s talk is primarily about the here-and-now • Talk is increasingly about other places, other times, and internal states  By 24 months: children start to refer to absent objects and events and to use language imaginatively, as in pretend play  First references to past events are the beginning of narrative development The Development of Conversational Skill Piaget’s Description of the Egocentric Child - Piaget o Preschool children’s speech is not really communicative o Although children may take turns talking, each speaker’s turn has little to do with the previous speaker’s turn o Each child is producing their own monologue, albeit with interruptions for the other child’s monologue  Collective monologues: a type of pseudo conversation engaged in by preschool children. The children take turns speaking, but each speaker’s contribution to the conversation has little to do with the content of what other speakers are saying o Child doesn’t participate in true dialogue because the child is unable to place themselves at the point of view of their hearer, and has no desire to influence the hearer or tell them anything PSY315 CHAPTER 7 – COMMUNICATIVE DEVELOPMENT: LEARNING TO USE LANGUAGE o Two explanations for why preschool children do not engage in true dialogue  Skill - Children lack the requisite cognitive ability • Egocentric: a characteristic of pre-school children, according to the developmental theory of Jean Piaget, that makes them unable to consider what a situation is like from the point of view of another person  Will - Preschool children are not trying to engage in dialogue Private Speech - Private speech: speech produced for one’s self (as opposed to for another listener) - Solitary Monologues o Children use monologues for language exploration and practice o Substitution Exercise  Child was practicing language  Notion that children practice language in their pre-sleep soliloquies o Language play: children are practicing or exploring language doesn’t mean that this activity is work for them  Ability to play with language is itself a skill that is manifest in forms as varied as puns and poetry  Tendency to engage in spontaneous language play may be related to skill at language play - Vygotsky’s Theory of the Function of Private Speech o Primary function of private speech is behavioural self-guidance  Derives from theory that individual’s cognitive skills develop first in social interaction and then later are internalized o Private speech is in an intermediary stage during which the child is overtly producing the self-talk that will eventually be internalized  Not apply to pre-sleep soliloquies but to situations in which children produce private speech as they are acting on objects o Kind of talk adults provide children does improve the children’s task performance and that the private speech children produce during a task predicts their later performance on the same task o If children are engaged in a task while simultaneously engaged in conversation, the private speech they produce for self-guidance will intrude into the conversation - Piaget view: child lacks the requisite ability and interest to be truly conversational - Vygotsky view: child is
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