Module 28 Page 1
Language and Thought
Language - our spoken written or signed words and the ways we combine them to
Phonemes - in a language, the smallest distinctive sound unit. Consonant phonemes carry
more information than do vowel phonemes. EX. Chat has 3 phonemes, ch, a & t. 869 in human
speech but no language uses them all. English uses about 40.
Morphemes - in a language, the smallest unit that carries meaning; may be a word or a part of
a word (such as a prefix). EX. I & a are also phonemes. But most combine 2 or more
Grammar - in a language, a system of rules that enables us to communicate with and
understand others. In a given language, semantics is the set of rules for deriving meaning from
sounds and syntax is the set of rules for combining words into grammatically sensible
sentences. Language is complexity built of simplicity.
"I know that you can know why I worry that you think this sentence is starting to get too
complex, but that complexity - and our capacity to communicate and comprehend it - is what
distinguishes human language capacity."
• By 4 months babies can recognize differences in speech sounds & can also read lips
• The ability to understand what is said to and about them.
• At 7 months babies can segment spoken sounds into individual words. Their adeptness
to this predicts their language abilities at 2-5.
• Ability to produce words matures after receptive language
• Babbling Stage - beginning at about 4 months, the stage of speech development in
which the infant spontaneously utters various sounds at first unrelated to the household
language. Usually consonant-vowel pairs formed by bunching the tongue at the front of
the mouth ex. ma-ma.
• Deaf infants babble more with their hands by watching their parents sign Module 28 Page 2
• By 10 months their babbling has changed to be able to identify the household language
• One-Word Stage - the stage in speech development, from 1-2 during which a child
speaks mostly in single words
• 18 months learning changes from one word per week to one per day
• Two-Word Stage - beginning about age 2, the stage in speech development during
which a child speaks mostly i