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Ch 1.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY315H5
Professor
Cara Tsang
Semester
Winter

Description
Ch. 1: introduction to the study of language development Language and the scientific study of language development A definition of language -language is the systematic and conventional use of sounds (or signs or written symbols) for the purpose of communication or self-expression -language is complex and multifaceted -the child who learns a language achieves the ability to recognize and produce a set of sounds and learns how these sounds can and cannot be combined into possible words. Builds a vocabulary knowledge which includes knowledge of each words meaning and its possibilities for combination with other words. The child who learns a language also comes to know the multiple ways in which pieces of the language can and cannot by systematically combined to form words and sentences. Also learns how to combine sentences into larger units of discourse (to tell a story or have a conversation) -as they learn a language, children learn to use that language to communicate in socially appropriate ways (ex. Difference in communication with peers than with grandparents -in a literate society, children also learn to use language in its written form. They master both a complex set of correspondences between written symbols and meanings and a literate style of language use -the sounds and sound system of a language constitute a languages phonology -the words and associated knowledge are the lexicon -the system of combining units of meaning (words and parts of words such ed) is morphology -the system for combining words into sentences is syntax -the knowledge that underlies the use of language to serve communicative functions is knowledge of pragmatics -the knowledge that allows the social appropriate use knowledge is knowledge of sociolinguistics -knowledge of reading and writing is referred to as literacy -semantics: the study of meaning the study of meaning A Chronological overview of language development -understanding no words at birth to recognizing their names by 6 months and understanding a few other words by 8 to 10 months -on average, children begin to produce speech at about 1 year -During the children`s second year, the most obvious development is in the domain of vocabulary -children typically begin this year by producing their first word, and by the end of the year they have a productive vocabulary of 300 words and are producing words combinations -both articulation abilities and underlying phonological representations undergo changes during this second year. -both frequency and conversational relevance of their communicative acts increase -during the their year of life, the most obvious development is children increasing mastery of the grammar of their language -by the end of this year children are producing full sentences, including questions and negated forms with most grammatical devices in place -vocab continues to grow, articulation of sounds improves, and children begin to develop awareness of the phonological properties of their language -conversational skills increase, and they begin to produce short account of past events into their conversations -the period for 3-4 is largely one of refining an further developing skills that are already in place. -commonly said that language acquisition is completed during the first 4 years of life -language skills continue to grow in every domain after the age 4 Reasons for the scientific study of language development Language development as a basic research topic -if we understood how children acquire language we would know something substantial about how the human mind works. -modern field language development emerged in the 1950s -in the 1950s, two psychological theories were pitted against each other: behaviorism and cognitivism -behaviorism: change in the behavior occurs in response to the consequences of prior behavior -a central tenet of behaviorism is the belief that it is not necessary to discern what goes on in the mind of the rat in order to explain the changes in the rate behavior; behavior can be fully accounted for in terms of things external to the mind -cognitivism: the opposite. We cannot understand behavior without understanding what is going on inside the mind of the organism producing the behavior -1950s cognitive revolution led to a new interdisciplinary field called cognitive science. Led to cognitivism over taking behaviorism as -cognitive scientist now agree that it si necessary to understand how the mind works in order to explain human behavior, but they do not agree on how the mind works -study of language acquisition still plays a central role in the debate over how to characterize human cognition, for the same reason that language acquisition played a central role in the cognitive revolution. That is, it is so difficult to explain how language acquisition is possible that accounting for language acquisition is attest not likely to be passed by inaccurate cognitive theories Language development as an applied research topic -success in modernized society depends on having good verbal skills, and acquiring the verbal skills that society requires is problematic for some children -one area of research in language development focuses on understanding the nature of cultural differences in language sue and on how teaching practices can be designed to best serve children with a variety of style of language use Interesting questions about how children achieve competence in more than one language, and they pose challenges for school systems charged with educating children from such backgrounds -a substantial body of research focuses on trying to understand the nature of the problems that underlie such children`s difficulty and on finding techniques for helping these children acquire language skills -basic research on the process of normal language development is used to develop interventions to elp children who have difficulty acquiring language Sometimes work of language disorders also informs basic research The history of the study of language development -Although the modern study of language acquisition began in the 1960s Big questions and studies of special cases The language of the brain -the first recorded language acquisition experiment was conducted by the ancient Egyptian king Psammethicus and described by the Greek historian Herodotus in the 4 century BC -deaf children born to hearing parents invent signs (parents dont know any sign language) and combine them in two- and three- sign sequences, suggesting that putting symbols together to communicate is something that naturally emerges in the course of human development Wild Children and the nature of humankind -on one hand, there had been a long tradition of argument by philosophers such as Rene Descartes that human nature was an innate endowment-on the other hand, the philosopher John Locke argued that atbirth the human mind was like a sheet of blank paper and that humans become what they become as a result of societys influence -in 1800 a young boy had been living in the woods near Aveyron, France. Raised outside of society -capable of making sounds but no language -this case and others, suggest that language acquisition begun after childhood is never quite as successful as language acquisition begun earlier thus suggesting there may be a critical period for some aspects of language Baby Biographies -another approach to investigating the nature of humankind is simply to observe what emerges in the course of normal development -several investigators in the late 1800s and early 1900s kept diaries of their own childrens development -most famous was Charles Darwin of his son Normative Studies -1940s and 1950s, the goal of most research on language acquisition was to establish norms. -these older studies are still valuable as descriptions of normative development and as new instruments for assessing childrens language are developed, new normative studies continue to be conducted The Chomskyan revolution -in the 1960s, the study of childrens language development changed radically. -Chomsky revolutionized the field of linguistics -the new goal of linguistics raised a question about children -if adults have a mental grammar that explains what they do whe
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