PSYA02H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Psychological Nativism, Function Word, Frontal Lobe

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Published on 22 Apr 2013
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UTSC
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYA02H3
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of 9
CHAPTER 9: LANGUAGE
PSYA02H3
2013
Language and Communication
- language is a system for communicating with others using signals combined according to rules f
grammar and convey meaning,
- grammar is a set of rules that specify how the units of language can be combined to produce
meaningful messages,
- language allows to exchange information about the world, coordinate group action, and form strong
social bonds
- complex structure of human language distinguishes it from simpler signaling systems
- humans use words to:
- refer to intangible things, like a UNICORN
- to name, categorize, describe things to ourselves when we think, which influences how
knowledge is organized in brain
Complex Structure of Human Language
- relatively recent evolution, emerging from no more than 1-3 million years ago
Basic Characteristics
- smallest units of sound that are recognizable as speech rather than as random noise are phonemes
- every language has phonological rules that indicate how phonemes can be combined to produce
speech sounds
- phonemes are combined to make morphemes, smallest meaningful units of language
- all languages have grammar rules that generally fall into two categories: rules of morphology and rules
of syntax
- morphological rules indicate how morphemes can be combined to form words,
- content morphemes refer to things and events (cat, dog, take)
- function morphemes serve grammatical functions, like tying sentences together, ( and, but)
- both can be combined and recombined to form an infinite number of sentences, which have to follow
syntax rules, which indicate how words can be combined to form phrases and sentences
- every sentence in english must contain one or more nouns, which can be combined with adjectives or
articles, is an example of a syntactical rule
Meaning: Deep Structure vs Surface Structure
- deep structure refers to meaning of a sentence
- surface structure refers to how a sentence is worded
Language Development
Distinguishing Speech Sounds
- at birth, infants can distinguish among all of the contrasting sounds that occur in all human languages,
- within first 6 months of life, they lose ability, and like parents, can only distinguish among contrasting
sounds in language they hear being spoken around them.
- infants can distinguish among speech sounds, but they cannot produce them reliably, relying mostly on
cooing, cries, laughs, and other vocalizations to communicate
Language Milestones
- 10 to 12 months, babies begin to utter their first words
CHAPTER 9: LANGUAGE
PSYA02H3
2013
- fast mapping occurs, which is when children can map a word onto an underlying concept after only a
single exposure,
- 24 months, children begin to use telegraphic speech, a devid of function morphemes and consist
mostly of content words
- like saying "more milk" \"throw ball" even though these sentences ae not functional, thet are still
grammatical, follow the syntactical rules
Language Milestone
Average Age Language MileStone
0-4 months can tell the difference between speech sounds, cooing, especially in response to
speech
4-6 months babbles consonants
6-10 months understands some words and simple requests
10-12 months begins to use single words
12-18 months vocabulary of 30-50 words (simple nouns, adjectives, action words)
18-24 months two words phrases ordered according to syntactic rules, vocab of 50-200 wods,
understand rules
24-36 months vocab of 1000 words, production of phrases and incomplete sentences
36-60 months vocab grows to more than 10,000 words, production of full sentences, mastery
of grammatical morphemes (such as -ed for past tense_ and function words ( the and but_ can form
questions and negations
The Emergence of Grammatical Rules
- very young children memorize the particular sounds, that express what they want to communicate, but
as children acquire grammatical rules of language, they went o over generalize, for instance, when
children say "runned" "ranned" instead of ran
- children learn grammatical rules by listening to the speech around hem and using the rules to create
verbal forms they've never heard
Language Development and Cognitive Development
- infants start with one word utterances before moving to telegraphic speech and then to simple
sentences that include function morphemes
CHAPTER 9: LANGUAGE
PSYA02H3
2013
Theories of Development
Behaviourist Explanations
- we learn to talk the same way we learn any other skill" reinforcemene, shaping, extinction and other
basic principles of operant conditioning
- as infants mature, they begin to vocalize,
- so when they say something like prah, parents dgaf, but when they mumble words close to da-da or
something, then parents get all cheery and happy about it
- this theory cannot account for many fundamental characteristics of language development
- parents don't spend much time teaching their children to speak grammatically
- children generate many more grammatical sentences than they ever hear
- errors children make when learning to speak tend to be overgeneralizations of grammatical
rules
Nativist Explanation
- linguist Noam Chomsky, language learning capacities are built into the brain which is specialized to
rapidly acquire language through simple exposure to speech
- humans have particular ability for language that is separate from general intelligence
- nativist theory says taht language development is best explained as innate, biological capacity
- LAD is a collection of processes that facilitate language learning
- people with normal or nearly normal intelligence can find certan aspects of human language difficult or
impossible to learn known as genetic dysphasia, a syndrome characterized by an inability to learn the
grammatical structure of language desire having otherwise normal intelligence, tends to run in families
- as predicted by nativist view, people with genetic dysphasia are normal children learn grammatical
rules of human language with ease in part because the are wired to do so
- if we learn language through imitaion, as behaviourists theorized, infants would only distinguish the
phonemes theyd actually heard
- nativist thepry also explains why deaf babies babble speech sounds they have nevr heard and why the
pattern of language development is similar in children throughout the world
- language can be acquired only during a restricted period of development, Genie is a good example of
this
- some cases report that after puberty, acquiring language becomes extremely difficult
Intertactionist Explanations
- nativist theories do not explain how language develops, only explains why
- interactionists point out that parents tailor their verbal interactions with children in ways that simplify
the language acquisition process,
- speak slowly, enunciate clearly, use simpler sentences than they do when speaking with adults
Language Development and the Brain
- language processing becomes more and more concentrated in two areas, Broca's area and Wernicke's
area
- as brain matures, those areas become increasingly specialized for language, so damage to them resukts
in serious condition called aphasia, difficulty in producing or comprehending language
- Broca's area
- left frontal cortex, production of the sequential patterns in vocal and sign languages

Document Summary

Refer to intangible things, like a unicorn. To name, categorize, describe things to ourselves when we think, which influences how. Language is a system for communicating with others using signals combined according to rules f grammar and convey meaning, Grammar is a set of rules that specify how the units of language can be combined to produce meaningful messages, Language allows to exchange information about the world, coordinate group action, and form strong social bonds. Complex structure of human language distinguishes it from simpler signaling systems. Humans use words to: knowledge is organized in brain. Relatively recent evolution, emerging from no more than 1-3 million years ago. Smallest units of sound that are recognizable as speech rather than as random noise are phonemes. Every language has phonological rules that indicate how phonemes can be combined to produce speech sounds. Phonemes are combined to make morphemes, smallest meaningful units of language.