Chapter 11 - development of language and communication skills language - a 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. Communication - the process by which one organism transmits information to and influences another. Vocables - unique patterns of sound that a prelinguistic infant uses to represent objects, actions, or events. Psycholinguists - those who study the structure and development of children"s language. Sociolinguistic knowledge - culturally specific rules of specifying how language should be structured and used in particular social contexts. 1. phonology - a knowledge of the language"s sound system + rules for combining sounds to produce meaningful units of speech: phonemes - basic units of sound that are used in a spoken language. 2. morphology - rules specifying how words are formed from sounds; governing the formation of meaningful words from sounds.