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PSYC 1010 (6)
Chapter 8

Chapter 8- Language and Thought.docx

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PSYC 1010
Gerald Goldberg

Chapter 8- Language and Thought Cognition- mental processes involved in acquiring knowledge (involves thinking) Language- symbols that convey meaning + rules for combining symbols that is used to generate infinite variety of messages - Properties - Language is symbolic- allows us to refer objects that maybe in another place + events that happened at another time + different object can be called by same name - Semantic (meaningful)- no built in relationship exists btw the look or sound of words + objects they stand for - Generative- limited # of symbols can be combined in an infinite variety of ways to generate endless array of novel messages - Structured- sentences must be structured in limited number of ways (rules govern arrangement of words into phrases + sentences) Phonemes- smallest speech units in language that can be distinguished perceptually (100 basic sounds we can hear) - English language: 40 phonemes - Letter in alphabet can represent more than one phoneme if it has more than one pronunciation - Some are represented by combination of letters (ex: ch, th) Morphemes- smallest units of meaning in language (approx. 50,000 in English language- includes words, prefix, suffix) - Each morphemes contributes to meaning of entire word Semantics- area of language concerned w/understanding the meaning of words + word combination - Denotation- dictionary definition - Connotation- emotional overtones + secondary implications Syntax- system of rules that specify how words can be arranged into sentences (simple rule: sentences need subject + verb) - Underline all languages 3 month old- distinguish phonemes from all of world’s language (including ones they don’t hear in environment) - Ability gradually disappears between 4-12 months of age - Progress toward recognizing whole words occur during the first year - Human infants are well prepared to learn language + that babies have perceptual biases that facilitate + guide “acquisition of phonology” - Thru first year of life, language acquisition system of infant become tuned to speech properties of their native language - During first 6 months of life, vocalization dominated by crying, cooing, laughter (limited value as meaning of communication) - Babbling- becomes more complex + increasingly resembles the language spoken by parents + others in the child’s environment (lasts until 18 months, continuing even after uttering first words) - Babbling- universal stage in language acquisition - Byproduct of development of the brain + its control over motor operations - Allows infant to acquire basic of language Around 10-13 months of age, most child begin to utter sounds that correspond to words st - 1 words are similar in phonetic form + meaning (even in different language) - Initial word resemble the syllables that infants most often bable spontaneously (ex: mama, papa) - Toddlers- btw 3-50 words by 18 months (receptive vocab larger than their productive vocab) - Can understand 50 words months before they can say them - Early words- often objects + secondarily to social actions - Nouns before verb b/c meanings of nouns (distinct, concrete objects) tend to be easier to encode than verbs  May not apply to all languages - Vocabulary spurt- begins at around 18-24 months - Maybe attributable to children’s articulation skills, understanding of syntax, underlying cognitive development Fast mapping- process by which children map a word onto an underlying concept after only one exposure Overextension- child incorrectly uses a word to describe a wider set of objects or actions than its meant to - Occurs starting from age 1-2½ + typical overextensions last upto several months Underextension- child incorrectly uses word to describe a narrower set of objects or action than it’s meant to be Children typically begin to combine words into sentences near end of their second year Telegraphic speech- consists mainly of content words (articles, preposition, and other less critical words are omitted) - Ex: “give doll” rather than “please give me the doll” By end of third year- can express complex ideas such as plural or past tense Overregularizations- grammatical rules are incorrectly generalized to irregular cases where they don’t apply - Appear after children begin to learn grammatical rules (occurs in all languages) Largest strides in language development- first 4-5 years Metalinguisticawareness- ability to reflect on the use of language - Children begin to make more frequent + sophisticated use of metaphors - Between 6-8 years old, begin to appreciate irony + sarcasm Bilingualism- acquisition of 2 languages that use different speech sounds, vocab, and grammatical rules - One assumption is that it hampers language development + has negative impact on youngster’s educational progress - Evidence suggests that bilingual + monolingual kids are largely similar in course + rate of their language development - Bilingual are better language learners- enhance learning of another language Bilingual subjects who’re fluent in both languages tend to score somewhat higher than monolingual on measures of cognitive flexibility, analytical reasoning, selective attention, metalinaguistic awareness (so there’s so cognitive advantages for kids + old) - Bilingual should develop control over executive processes earlier (related to ability to control attention) - This should give advantages in cognitive task implication executive processing - Executive processes- one of first cognitive ability to decline w/age (bilingual should be able to delay decline relatively to mono because of their “continued reliance” on executive processes for dealing with their 2 languages - Advantage in metalinguistic awareness, but not phonemic awareness - Positive affect on brain 1.Language learning unfolds more effectively when initiated prior to age 7 + younger con’t to be better up thru age 15 2.Acculturation- degree to which person is socially + psychologically integrated into a new culture - 3. Learners motivation and attitude towards other group that uses language to be learned - Language aptitude + integrative motivation (willing to be like valued members of language community) Chimpanzee simply didn’t have appropriate vocal apparatus to acquire human speech - Showed little evidence of mastering rules of language - Sentences- products of imitation + operant conditioning, rather than spontaneous generations based on linguistic rules - Broca’s area- in left hemisphere and crucial to language production - Chimps have analogous area in left hemisphere (neurological substrates underlying language may also be present) - Reasonable to assert that ability to use language may not be entirely unique to humans Universal nature of language suggests that it’s an innate human characteristic - Special talent for language is a species specific trait that’s is the product of natural selection - Valuable means of communication that has adaptive values - Many genes for language Behaviorist theories (Skinner) - Children learn language the same way they learn everything else (ex: imitation, reinforcement, conditioning) - By controlling reinforcement, parents encourage their children to learn the correct meaning + pronunciation of words - Imitation used by kids to construct sentences (so as syntax)- reinforcement as well Nativist theories (Chomsky) - Children learn language by imitation b/c there are infinite # of sentences in a language - Children learn rules of language, not specific verbal response - Native is a variation on the word nature - Language acquisition device (LAD)- innate mechanism or process that facilitate the learning of language - Language development is determined by biological maturation more than personal experience (has innate capacity) Interactionist theories (both important) - Bio (biological predisposition) + experience (environment) both make contributions to development of language - Cognitive theories- language development is important aspect of more general cognitive development (which depends on maturation and experience) - Social communication theories- emphasize the functional value of interpersonal communication + social context in which language evolves - Emergentist theories- neural circuits supporting language aren’t prewired but emerge gradually in response to language learning experience Linguistic relativity- hypothesis th
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