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Chapter 7

Developmental Psychology - Chapter 7.doc

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Diana Valencia

DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY __________ _________ _Chapter 7: LanguageandCommunication  language: a communication system in which words and their written symbols combine in various, regulated ways to produce an infinite number of messages  communicative competence: the ability to convey thoughts, feelings and intentions in an organized culturally patterned way that sustains and regulates human interactions  productive language: the production of speech  receptive language: understanding the speech of others The Components of Language: Phonology, Semantics, Grammar, and Pragmatics  children learn about sounds, meaning, structures and uses of lang at the same time  phonology: system of sounds that a particular language uses - includes lang basic units of sounds -> called phonemes (any of the basic units of lang's phonetic system; phonemes are the smallest sound units that affect meaning) - includes rules about how we put phonemes tgthr to form words and rules about proper intonation patterns for phrases and sentences  phonemes are considered basic units of sound bc they are the smallest sound units that affect meaning: changing a phoneme changes the meaning of the word - ex changing the initial phoneme in the word “bat” -> can change to “cat”  phonological rules are generative - they are applicable beyond the cases on which they are based - ex English speaker knows that kib is not an eng word but it is a possible sound pattern in the language VS bnik, which could not be possible  semantics: study of word meanings and word combinations - as children mature intellectually, their semantic knowledge continues to grow – same with adults  grammar: structure of a lang and consists of 2 major parts: morphology and syntax - morphology: focus on the smallest units of meaning in lang – ex prefixes (these units are called morphemes) - syntax: aspect of grammar that specifies how words are combined into sentences – rules of syntax allows us to vary word order so we are not limited to one way of saying what we mean  pragmatics: 4 component of lang – rules for the use of appropriate lang in particular context - directly concerns effective and appropriate communication - ex child learns that by saying “May I have one of your crayons?” rather than “gimme it” is more likely to lead to what they want - this is the part of lang that studies how children learn to take turns speaking, to remain silent while others speak, and to speak diff in diff settings Theories of Language Development  most theorists today hold an interactionist view, recognizing the role that bio and envir factors play in lang development The Learning View: Claims and Limitations  traditional learning explanations use principle of reinforcement to explain development  Skinner said that rents selectively reinforce each of the child's babbling sounds that is most like adult speech - giving attention to these sounds and showing approval of them , rents encourage the child to repeat them - by giving their greatest approval to infants closest approximation to adult speech sounds, rents shape their child's verbal beh into what increasingly resembles adult speech  some say that child learns through imitation or observational learning - child picks up words, phrases and sentences directly by imitating what they hear - through reinforcement and generalization, or applying what they learned to new sit, the child learns when its appropriate or not to use particular words and phrases  reasons why leaning theory accounts are not good individual explanations of lang acquisition 1) number of stimulus-response connections (specific linkages between babys vocalization and rent's reinforcing response) that would be needed to explain lang is so enormous that a child could not acquire all of them even in a lifetime, let along in few short years 2) naturalistic studies of rent-child interaction fail to support the learning theory accounts - ex mothers are just as likely to reward children for truthful but incorrect grammar statements as they are to reinforce childs grammatically correct utterances - hard to see how adult reinforcement alone might account for child's learning of grammar as rents are concerned to teach child acceptable beh as well as correct lang 3) cannot predict the majority of lang utterances from opportunities to observe specific utterances by others - lang has more creative responses that can be accounted for by a learning view 4) this has not explained the regular sequences that lang develop - children in NA– learn active constructions before passive 5) this explanation portrays child as playing a passive role in lang development , while the child actually plays an active and creative role  the alternative explanation – nativist view – suggest that lang acquisition unfolds as a result of the unique bio properties of human organism The Nativist View: Claims and Limitations  Chomsky was the most influential advocate of nativist position - proposed that children are born with an innate mental structure that guides their acquisition of lang and grammar = language acquisition device (LAD) - LAD: Chomsky's proposed mental structure in the human NS that incorporates an innate concept of lang  nativists argue that human child is bio predisposed to acquire human language  they contend that bc language ability is an inherited species specific characteristic, all lang of the species must display universal features - examine sounds , way words are organized in sentences and how meaning is determined in diff languages, they have concluded that a set of common principles underlie all human languages - ex speakers of all lang create a number of spoken words by combining small set of possible vocal sounds humans can make - all lang have grammar and these grammars share certain formal properties  in diff cultures, normal children acquire lang quickly and learn it well even when children receive fragmented and incomplete envir input – they can still learn lang  nativists argue that child must be bio prepared to acquire lang  support for nativist view = human beings learn lang far more easily during certain critical period of bio development  critical period: time during which a child is sensitive to a particular envir stimulus that doesnt have the same effect when encountered before or after this period - crit period for lang -> infancy to puberty - before puberty child ma achieve fluency of native speaker in lang without special training but after puberty, it is difficult to learn a first lang - ex have brain injury before puberty 0> recover lang fast and completely but if its after puberty, the prob of recovering lang is poorer  criticims - critical period hypothesis stats that there should be a decline in learning at the end of the critical period, which would be consistent with learning mechanism being “turned off” at a particu age and not with a decline after end of critical period that would be related to age - eng proficiency showed sharpest decline in lang skills with increasing age, -> inconsistent with critical lang hypothesis - advantages shown in children in sec lang learning could be dude to fact that children have a more nurturing envir, better edu opportunities and receive simplified input...  criticism concerning animals learning language - if define lang use of symbols as referents then sheepdog is able to learn lang > but still lacking crucial aspects of lang learning  limitations: 1) few agree about that nature of types of grammatical rules that children learn 2) language learning is a gradual process and is not completed as early as nativist accounts would predict 3) nativist perspective makes it very hard to account for many lang human beings speak 4) this view gives social context of lang little recognition - social influences play a larger role in process than proposed in a nativist view 5) theoretical assertion that lang milestones are acquired in a universal stage sequence is not supported by empirical research from interactionist approach - communicative context of lang develop , esp adult child comm, plays a signifi role in pacing of developmental process Are Creole Languages Evidence of a Universal First Grammar?  Bickerton: showed evidence that children may have innate /template for grammar - studied creole lang  creole lang arises in a context where ppl who speak diff lang are thrown tgthr in a single culture  children in these cultures, regardless of rents native lang used a lang derived from pidgin, called creole (single structure and lingu system)  pidgins lack grammatical complexity - individualistic – vary from speaker to speaker Facilitating Children's Language Development  Bruner was an advocate of social interaction view - proposed that envir provides alng learning chldren with a lang acquisition support system (LASS)  LASS: collection of strats and tactics that envir influences – initially a childs rents – provide the lang learning child - emphasizes rents role as facilitators of lang acquisition  techniques adult use to facilitate lang acquisition in children: non verbal games, using simplified speech , and elaborating on and rewording childrens own utterances to help them sharpen their communicative skills Playing Non Verbal Games  rents make first efforts to converse with children in lingu games  children learn structural features of spoken lang like turn taking , from these games  at first, babies are not able to initiate or respond in conversations - rents help them learn social skill by carrying on more than their share of early dialogue and by waiting for pauses in infants vocal or motor beh and then inserting appropriate response  supportive activity by rents may contribute to later give and take in convo and social turn taking in play and formal games Using Simplified Speech  infant directed speech/ child directed speech/motherese: speak in short simple sentences that refer to concrete obj and events and that often repeat imp words and phrases - talk slowly and in higher pitched - enunciate more clearly, exaggerate pitch contours and end sentences with rising intonation -> all this to help gain childs attention  simplified grammar and syntax may help children learn relations between words and obj and may give them an understanding of rules of segmentation (how speech is divided into words, phrases and sentences)  speaking in high pitch -> highlights imp words  newborns and 4 week olds prefer to listen to infant directed speech than adult directed and babies are equally responsive to this style of comm whether it is used by men or women  show preference to infant directed speech even when its in non native lang  changes in spech elicit more positive emos in babies and increase chances that they will understand the msg  some studies say this speech facilitate childrens lang learning - exaggerated pitch contours increased 6 – 7 month olds ability to discriminate diff vowel sounds  some studies dont think this speech fac lang learning - children who progressed beyond one word stage was more likely to respond appropriately to adult form of command than a simplified form  level of complexity that is ahead of children may maximize learning  rents adjust speech to childs level of lingu sophistication, using wider range of words and parts of speech as children mature Other Influence Techniques  expansion: adult imitates and expands or adds to child's statement - facilitates lang development including vocab - more likely to use this strat after child makes a gramm error - ex: Child: Daddy. Juice Mom: Daddy drinks Juice Child: give mama Mm: Give it to mama - following up on child's interest and attention is more supportive of learning than switching childs attention to another topic - 30% of the time, rents in mid class fam's speech to children is made of expansions but those of rents with lower income use this techn less  recast: adult listener renders the childs incomplete sentence in a more complex gramm form - ex when child says “kitty eat” , the adult may recast sentence as a question “What is the kitty eating” - correcting childs utterance and guiding them toward more appropriate gramm usage - some have shown that rents who do this have children who develop lingu at faster rate , use complex verb forms and questions at earlier age  children often imitate their rents expansions and recasts esp when childs utterances are incorrect - when child is correct = unlikely to imitate adult's speech In Social Interaction Crucial to Language Development  some say that expansion, recasting and imitation may not be needed - no universal pattern characterizes all rents within a cultural group - not all cultures use devices typical of the NAmid class  maternal responsiveness = any meaningful + change in mothers beh within 5 sec of a childs action The Antecedents of Language Development  pre lingu achievements are imp precursors of actual lang use Pre-Verbal Communication  smiles imp in helping infants learn how to coordinate vocalizations and to translate expressions into effective comm  pseudo convos/pseudo dialogues – bc adults alone is responsible for maintaining their flow  babies have limited control over timing of their responses so adults insert their beh into infants cycles of responsiveness and unresponsiveness  3-12 months, infants improve in their ability to use gestures to comm  3 or 4 months: adults offer and show things to baby and 6 month olds respond with smiles, gestures, movements and sounds  6 months: begin to use pointing gesture to guide others attention to others  12 months: can follow the point of another person - pointing = receive labels for obj in the distance that interest them and learn about word - some say pointing done to share their intentions with other person - this gesture helps set stage for learning about lang and comm process  proto declarative: action when a pre verbal infant uses a gesture to call an obj to someone's attention  proto imperative: when babies can also use gestures to get another person to do something for them - ex child may point to a teddy bear on a high shelf to get someone to give it to her  other common gestures exhibited by pre verbal children include reaching, grasping, and staring and some recent cross cultural work with Jap babies suggested that communicative gestures as such may be universal  joint visual attention: ability to follow another person's focus or gaze - forms of gesture and pointing are aspects of this general ability - major advance in infants' communicative abilities, imp for social interaction and referential comm between infants and their rents and possibly needed for growth of pointing and other manual abilities and precursor to lang acquisition  as they learn lang, combine words and gestures for more effective comm  ability to use and understand gestures may develop independent of verbal lang  3 year: recognize that gestures and lang can be part of same msg and they require an integrated response  as time passes, children reduce use of gestures and rely more on verbal skills Early Language Comprehension  before they learn to speak, babies can attend selectively to certain features of others' speech  newborns prefer listening to speech or to vocal music than instrumental music or other rhythmic sounds  2 day olds can distinguish their mothers voice from voice of unfamiliar woman  left side of brain = speech  right side of brain = music Categorical Speech Perception  categorical speech perception/phoneme boundary effect: tendency to perceive as the same a range of sounds belonging to the same phonemic group – ex /b/ and /p/ nothing in between  infants heart beat was marked when changed to new consonant sound – gah or bah -> evidence that they perceived the change  ability to discriminate speech sounds is evident as early as 1 month  by 2 months they can tell diff between /a/ and /i/  2-3 month olds can recognize the same vowel even when spoken by diff ppl and diff pitches  shows that infants are born with some innate mechanism for perceiving oral lang  some questioned universality of infant categorical perception - not all infants show phonetic boundaries - adults and infants are sensitive to within category variations in consonant sounds -> undermines cate perception - innate tendency is not unique to processing the sounds of speech or unique to humans -> ex chinchillas categorically perceived /b/ and /p/  categorical speech perception may be a property of mammal’s aural system that lang utilizes Beyond Categorical Perception  infants can identity key properties of their native lang rhythmic organization either prenatally or during the first few days of life  4 day old french babies increased their sucking rate when listening to French speech as opposed to Russian speech  as babies develop they lose their ability to distinguish the sounds of lang to which they have not been exposed - ex english learning 6-8 month olds could distinguish between both eng and hindi phonetic contrasts but 10-12 month olds failed to distinguish hindi contrasts - shows imp of innate and experimental factors in early recognition of speech sounds  takes babies time for them to learn to focus on imp sound distinctions in everyday speech  1 mont olds can detect diff between consonant sounds of bah and gah  2 and 3 month olds can recognize consistency of speech sound -> /i/ when pronounced by diff speakers  learning a lang requires learning which of the many discriminable diff in speech sounds actually signal diff in meaning  infants have capacity to make the kinds of distinctions that indicate word boundaries in the flow of speech and they use diff cues like strong syllables , pitch, stressed monosyllables, strong syllable followed by a weak one and rhythmic properties to help them define boundaries of words, including pitch and pauses  8 month olds can detect new words in unfam artificial lang even hen they have no idea what the words mean  infants paid more attention to novel non words (like dapiku)  infants use cues to segment sequences into words, like stat probabilities and speech cues like stress and co articulation Babbling and Other Early Sounds  production of sounds in first year of life follows a 4 stage sequence: 1) crying: begins at birth and are signals of distress - rudimentary means of communication 2) cooing: begins at 1 month and are Oo sounds that occur during social exchanges with caregiver - resemble sounds pigeons make 3) babbling: begins mid of first year and are strings of cons-vowel combinations 4) patterned speech: begins close to first year and are strings of pseudo words made up of phonemes in native lang and that sound like words - includes intonation  the four stages overlap and even patterned speech and true speech may occur tgthr  kinds of sounds made at each of the first 3 stages are similar across diff lang  even early babbling of deaf babies sound similar to babbling of babes who can hear - through deaf babies tend to start babbling later in first year  deaf infants born with deaf rents who sign babble with their hands and fingers at the same age as hearing children babble - movements show similar structure in terms of syllabic and phonetic patterning - similarities between manual and vocal babbling suggest “a unitary lang capacity that underlies human signed and spoken lang acquisition”  in mid of second half year, cultural diff in babbling emerges - even in multilingu homes, babbling begins to sound more like one lang than the other - starts to tune in to their lang envir  babies who are premature and thus exposed to lang earlier than full term babies begin complex babbling sooner  sounds infants make when babbling show some relation to action they are doing  childs early vocalization are orderly in their development and related to later speech Semantic Development: the Power of Words  childrens understanding of lang exceeds theircapacity to express themselves clearly  children dont develop vocab in linear fashion - vocab acquisition proceeds in bursts  naming explosion: rapid increase in vocab that most children show at 1 1/2 years -> know 50-100 words  first word = 10-15 months  2 years old: know approx 900 root words  6 years: knows 8000 r words  some shown a sput in vocab while others (most) add words gradually How childrenAcquire Words  association view Smith: word learning is based on associations combined with attention to perceptual similarity to overall obj shape - if see many tables that are
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