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Chapter 8

PS102 - Chapter 8 Textbook Notes.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Eileen Wood

PS102 – Chapter 8 Notes Language and Thought • Cognition: refers to the mental processes involved in acquiring knowledge What is language? • Language: consist of symbols that convey meaning, plus rules for combining those symbols, that can be used to generate an infinite variety of messages • It is symbolic, semantic, generative and structured • Symbolic o We use words and sounds to represent objects, actions, events and ideas o Allows us to refer to other things and events • Semantic o The symbols used in language are meaningful • Generative o Limited number of symbols can be combined in an infinite variety of ways to generate an endless array of novel messages • Structured o Words into phrases or sentences The Structure of Language • Phonemas: smallest speech units in a language that can be distinguished perceptually o Humans are capable of recognizing 100 basic sounds o English uses about 40 phonemas • Morphemes & Semantics o Morphemes: smallest unit of meaning in a language  Approximately 50000 English morphemes including root words, prefixes and suffixes  Examples: fire, guard, friend; all have one morpheme  Example: unfriendly  3 morphemes (un: prefix, friend: root, ly: suffix) o Semantics: area of language concerned with understanding the meaning of words and word combinations  Word’s meaning consists of denotation (dictionary definition) as well as connotation (emotional overtones and secondary implications) PS102 – Chapter 8 Notes • Syntax: system that specify how words can be arranged into sentences o Rule: a sentence must have a subject and a verb o Children’s acquisition of syntax seems to progress at a rapid rate Milestones in Language Development Age General Characteristics 1-5 Months Reflexive communication: vocalizes randomly, coos, laughs, engages in vocal play, discriminates language from non-language sounds 6-18 Months Babbling: Verbalizes in response to the speech of others; responses increasingly approximate human speech patterns 10-13 Months First Words: Uses words, typically refer to objects 12-18 Months One-word sentence stage: Vocabulary grows slowly; uses nouns primarily; overextensions begin 18-24 Months Vocabulary spurt: fast mapping facilitates rapid acquisition of new words 2 Years Two-word sentence stage: uses telegraphic speech; uses more pronouns and verbs 2.5 Years Three-Word sentence stage: modifies speech to take listener into account; over regularizations begin 3 Years Uses complete simple active sentence structure; uses sentence to tell stories that are understood by others; uses plurals 3.5 Years Expanded grammatical forms: expresses concepts with words; uses four word sentences 4 Years Uses five-word sentences 5 Years Well-developed and complex syntax: uses more complex syntax; uses more complex forms to tell stories 6 Years Displays metalinguistic awareness • First 6 months of life  crying, cooing, laughter • Infant  babbling (last about 18 months): combining consonant-vowel combinations o Babbling  by product of development of the brain • Fast mapping: process by which children map a word onto an underlying concept after only one exposure o Children add words like tank, board, tape to their vocabularies after their first encounter with objects to illustrate these concepts • Overextension: occurs when a child incorrectly uses a word to describe a wider set of objects or actions than it is meant to PS102 – Chapter 8 Notes o Example: child may use word ball to describe other things that are round such as an orange, the moon etc. o Usually appear between ages 1-2 years old • Underextension: occurs when a child incorrectly uses a word to describe a narrower set of objects or actions than it’s meant to o Example: child may use the word doll to refer to only a single, favourite doll o Usually in toddlers • Telegraphic Speech: consists mainly of content words; articles, prepositions, and other less critical words are omitted o Child may say “give doll” instead of “Please give me the doll” • Overregularizations: occur when grammatical rules are incorrectly generalized to irregular cases where they don’t apply o Child may say, “the girl goed home” or “I hitted the ball” • Metalinguistic awareness: ability to reflect on the use of language o Playing with the language  puns, jokes etc. • Between age 6-8, most children appreciate irony and sarcasm Bilingualism • Bilingualism: acquisition of two languages that use different speech sounds, vocabulary and grammatical rules • Some studies showed that bilingual children have smaller vocabularies in each of their languages than monolingual children have in their one language • Children seem adept at differentiating between the two languages before their first words appear • For some tasks, bilinguals may have a slight disadvantage  raw language-processing speed • Bilinguals have somewhat of a higher score than monolingual on measures of cognitive flexibility, analytical reasoning, selective attention, and metalinguistic awareness • Bilingual develop control over executive processes earlier than monolingual • Advantage for metalinguistic awareness, but not phonemic awareness Factors influencing the acquisition of a second language • Age  significant correlate of how effectively people can acquire a second language PS102 – Chapter 8 Notes • Acculturation: the degree to which a person is socially and psychologically integrated into a new culture • Learners motivation and attitude toward the other group that uses the language to be learned Animals Can Develop Language • Tried to teach chimps to speak o No vocal apparatus to acquire human speech • Tried to teach chimps to use American Sign Language (ASL) o First with Washoe  Acquired a sign vocabulary of 160 words o Kanzi  Carried out 72% of 660 sentences Theories of Language Acquistion • Behaviourist Theories o Language was first outlined by Skinner o Children learn language the same way as everything else is learned  Imitations, reinforcement, established principles of conditioning o Behaviourists use principle of imitation and reinforcement to explain how children learn syntax • Nativist Theories o Noam Chomsky o Infinite number of sentences and unreasonable to expect that children learn through imitation o Alternative theory that humans have an inborn propensity to develop lang
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