Psychology 2040A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 11: Baby Talk, Elizabeth Bates, Dan Slobin

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Published on 18 Apr 2013
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Chapter 11: Development of Language and Communication Skills
- Language: small number of individually meaningless symbols (sounds, letters,
!! gestures) that can be combined according to agreed-on rules to
!! produce an infinite number of messages
- Communicate: process where one transmits info to and influences another
- Human languages are flexible and productive
- Vocables: unique patterns of sound that prelinguistic infant uses to represent
!! objects, actions, or events
The 5 Components of Language
- Psycholinguistics: those studying structure and development of kid’s language
- 5 kinds of knowledge underlie the growth of linguistic proficiency
Phonology, morphology, semantics, syntax, pragmatics
Phonology
- Phonology: sound system of a language and the rules for combining these
!!!sounds to produce meaningful units of speech
No 2 languages have the same phonology
Ex. Discriminating sounds and combining “t” and “h”
- Phonemes: the basic units of sound that are used in a spoken language
Morphology
- Morphology: rules governing the formation of meaningful words from sounds
Ex. Rules for adding “ed” or “s”
Semantics
- Semantics: the expressed meaning of words and sentences
- Morphemes: smallest meaningful language units
- Free morphemes: morphemes that can stand alone as a word
Ex. Cat, go
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- Bound morphemes: morphemes that cannot stand alone but that modify the
!!!! meaning of free morphemes
Ex. Adding “ed” or “s”
Syntax
- Syntax: structure of language; the rules specifying how words and grammatical
!! markers are to be combined to produce meaningful sentences
Pragmatics
- Pragmatics: principles that underlie the effective and appropriate use of
!!!language in social contexts (communicating effectively
- Sociolinguistic knowledge: culturally specific rules specifying how language
!!!!should be structured and used in particular social contexts
Ex. “May I have a cookie?” vs. “Give me a cookie”
- Effective communicator requires knowledge of the 5 aspects of language and
the ability to properly interpret and use nonverbal signals
Theories of Language Development
- Learning theorists represent the empiricist point of view
Language is leaned
- Linguistic universal: aspect of language development that all children share
- Nativists say language acquisition is a biologically programmed activity
- Interactionists believe that language acquisition is both biological and
environmentally influenced
The Learning (Empiricist) Perspective
- Leaning theorists emphasize imitation and reinforcement
- Skinner argued that children learn to speak appropriately because they are
reinforced for grammatical speech and adults “teach” language by modeling
and reinforcing grammatical speech
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Evaluation of the Learning Perspective
- Young kids are quicker to acquire and use the proper names for novel toys
when reinforced for doing so by receiving the toys with which they wants to play
- Parents who frequently encourage conversations and who produce many novel
and sophisticated words have kids who are more advanced in their language
development than those who use less diverse vocab
- Learning theorists have little success accounting for the development of syntax
- Mothers approval or disapproval depends far more on the truth value
(semantics) than grammatical correctness
Ex. If child sees a cow and says “him cow,” mother will say “that’s right!”
yet if he says “There’s a dog” his mother would say “no, that’s a cow”
- There is not much evidence that children acquire grammatical rules by imitating
adult speech
Ex. Kids say “allgone cookie” which is not imitated from parents
Nativist Perspective
- Chomsky argued that the structure of even the simplest of languages is
incredibly elaborate to be taught by parents or discovered
- Language acquisition device (LAD): Chomsky’s term for the innate knowledge
!!!!of grammar that humans were said to possess, which might
!!!!enable young kids to infer the rules governing others‘
!!!!speech and to use these rules to produce language
- LAD contains a universal grammar
- Universal grammar: basic rules of grammar that characterize all language
- Slobin thinks kids have an inborn language-making capacity
- Language-making capacity (LMC): hypothesized set of specialized linguistic
!!!!processing skills that enable kids to analyze speech and to
!!!!detect phonological, semantic, and syntactical relationships
- For nativists, language acquisition is natural and almost automatic, as long as
kids have linguistic input to process
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Document Summary

Chapter 11: development of language and communication skills gestures) that can be combined according to agreed-on rules to produce an in nite number of messages. Language: small number of individually meaningless symbols (sounds, letters, Communicate: process where one transmits info to and in uences another. Vocables: unique patterns of sound that prelinguistic infant uses to represent objects, actions, or events. Psycholinguistics: those studying structure and development of kid"s language. 5 kinds of knowledge underlie the growth of linguistic pro ciency: phonology, morphology, semantics, syntax, pragmatics. Phonology: sound system of a language and the rules for combining these sounds to produce meaningful units of speech: no 2 languages have the same phonology, ex. Phonemes: the basic units of sound that are used in a spoken language. Morphology: rules governing the formation of meaningful words from sounds: ex. Semantics: the expressed meaning of words and sentences. Free morphemes: morphemes that can stand alone as a word: ex.

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