Textbook Notes (363,074)
Canada (158,173)
Psychology (9,565)
PSYB32H3 (1,174)
Chapter 7


8 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto Scarborough
Mark Schmuckler

CHAPTER 7 LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION -language: system of communication in which words and their written symbols combine in rule- governed ways that enable speakers to produce an infinite number of messages -communication competence: ability to convey thoughts, feelings, intentions; important part of language learning is the development of this -communication is a two-way process -using productive language: produce communications -using receptive language: receive communications from others COMPONENTS OF LANGUAGE: PHONOLOGY, SEMANTICS, GRAMMAR, AND PRAGMATICS -phonology: system of sounds that a particular language uses, includes Phonemes: basic unit of a languages phonetic system (smallest sound units that affect meaning) -phoneme example: changing cat to bat (initial phoneme) or bat to bit (middle phoneme) -phonological rules are generative: applicable beyond the cases on which they are based -for example, bnik is not a possible English word -semantics: study of word meanings and word combinations -as children mature intellectually, their semantic knowledge continues to grow -grammar: structure of a language, consists of two major parts listed below -morphology: study of a languages smallest units of meaning, or morphemes; like prefixes, suffixes, root words, etc -syntax: specifies how words are combined into sentences; allows you to change up word orders to make up new meanings of sentences -pragmatics: rules that specifies appropriate language for particular social contexts; for example, asking nicely for something instead of asking rudely THEORIES OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT The Learning Theory: Claims and Limitations -based on the principles of reinforcement to explain language development -B.F Skinner said that parents selectively reinforce each of the childs babbling sounds that is most like adult speech; parent gives more attention when baby is trying to talk; encourages child to try to talk more -therefore, by giving their greatest approval to the infants closest approximations to adult speech sounds, parents shape their childs verbal behaviour into what increasingly resembles adult speech -five criticisms of learning theory, summarized below: 1) the number of stimulus- response connections (specific linkages between a babys vocalization and a parents reinforcing response) that would be needed to explain language is so enormous that the child could not acquire all of them in even a lifetime (not to mention a few short years) 2) naturalistic studies of parent- child interaction fail to support the learning theory account; parents will reinforce for grammatically incorrect utterances as well 3) we cannot predict the vast majority of language utterances from opportunities to observe specific utterances by others; language is typically more creative than what the language theory can entail 4) learning theory accounts have not explained the regular sequence in which language develops; children form active constructions before passive constructions; etc 5) the learning theory portrays the child as a passive learner in this instance; however, the child is in fact a very active learner * -because of these reasons, learning theory is not viable The Nativist View: Claims and Limitations -Noam Chomsky proposed that children are born with an innate mental structure that guides their acquisition of language and grammar: Language- Acquisition Device LAD -nativists argue that the human child is biologically predisposed to acquire human language; must share certain features because language is an inherited species- specific characteristic -nativists claim that grammars share certain formal properties -argue that children are biologically prepared to acquire language because even when they receive poor & fragmented environmental input, a child can learn a language -Derek Bickerton: studied the language pidgin, lacked grammatical structure; younger children learned better (biologically programmed to learn language young?) -critical period: child is more sensitive to a particular environmental stimulus; critical period for language stretches from infancy to puberty -after puberty, difficult to learn a language -evidence for this: brain damage that disrupts speech in young children can often recover their language capacity rapidly and completely -criticisms about critical period hypothesis: -learning mechanism after critical period should be turned off, not gradually decline like it does; they instead propose that the advantage typically shown by children in secondary- language learning could be due to the fact that children have a more nurturing environment, better educational opportunities, etc -the ability of animals to learn language; conclusions are mixed; language abilities could be up to the level of a 2 year old -five criticisms for the nativist view: 1) explanation of language development is poor; few theorists agree on the exact nature of the 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; develops beyond school years 3) nativist approach makes it difficult to account for the many languages humans speak around the world; enormous variety 4) this view gives the social context of language little recognition; social influences play a way bigger role than is given in the nativist approach 5) assumption that there are milestones is not supported; family and parent roles plays large varying roles here in the pacing of this process The Interactionist View -recognizes that language is learned in the context of spoken language but assuming as well that humans are in some way biologically prepared to speak -concerned with the interplay between biological and environmental factors; see language learning as the integration of learning in multiple domains-the childs own active role in language development complements the role played by socializing agents like parents -children form, test, and evaluate hypotheses concerning the rules of their language -language development occurs in a rich behavioural and developmental context in which children try to accomplish meaningful goals and engage in relationships with others -in this view, normal language develops as a result of a delicate balance between parent and child understanding -if parents want to increase their childs chances of comprehending novel messages, they should talk to the child in the ways they already know and understand FACILITATING CHILDRENS LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT -Jerome Bruner & language- acquisition support system LASS -this view emphasizes that parents or primary caregivers role as facilitators of language acquisition -for example, parents facilitate by giving the child new objects to play with and try to name; also by commenting on novel behaviours by the child, etc -techniques that parents use to facilitate language in young children: listed below Playing Non-Verbal Games -like peekaboo or pattycake -children learn some structural features of spoken language here, like taking turns, give and take Using Simplified Speech -infant or child directed speech: speaking in short, simple sentences t
More Less

Related notes for PSYB32H3

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.