Author: Dr. Al White Texas Woman’s University Date submitted to deafed.net – September 22, 2006 To contact the author for permission to use this PowerPoint, please e-mail: AWhite@mail.twu.edu To use this PowerPoint presentation in its entirety, please give credit to the author. Developing Basic Sentence Patterns in the Home from the Limited Conceptualization Possibilities Available to Humans Alfred H. White, Jr., Ph.D. Texas Woman’s University Purposes To promote a better understanding of the fact that while the task of teaching/learning English is big, it can be manageable and there can be a logical beginning. To promote an understanding that while our brains have the capacity to think an infinite number of ideas, there are a finite (limited) number of “thought blocks” that we use for expressing those ideas. CRITICAL CONCEPTS Thinking involves two major groups of words. I will liken the first group of words to the “ACTORS and PROPS ON THE STAGE OF OUR MIND”. The second group of words I will liken to the ACTIONS PERFORMED ON THE STAGE OF OUR MIND by the actors and/or props. CRITICAL CONCEPTS Without “Actors and Props”, there can be no drama on stage, and… If one has Actors and Props, there may be something to see, but, again without “Action” there can be no drama on the stage of our mind. CRITICAL CONCEPTS LIKEWISE, without NOUNS and VERBS there would be no way to express thoughts. Nouns are the ACTORS and PROPS, and Verbs are the ACTIONS carried out by the actors. We can talk about the Actors and the Actions of Actors as if they were separate, but in fact they really constitute a “unity”. CRITICAL CONCEPTS It is possible for a playwrite to go to a stage and “conceptualize” an entire play, but IF the concepts in the playwriter’s mind are to ever be shared with another person, then ACTORS, PROPS AND ACTIONS MUST BE PUT ON STAGE ALONG WITH A SCRIPT to be followed. When those things are in place we can enjoy a play, and discover what is in the mind of the writer. COGNITION & LANGUAGE Just as a playwrite needs ACTORS, AND PROPS AND ACTIONS AND SCRIP to express his ideas, So also, every person who wants to express a thought, must rely upon symbols and gestures to communicate. Nouns are like Actors and Props; Verbs are like Actions, and grammar/word-order is the script. CRITICAL CONCEPT There is a limited set of ways that nouns can relate to verbs (WAYS OF THINKING). If it were not so, then the opposite would hold true; there would be an infinite number of ways of relating nouns to verbs, and if that were so, then, Person-A would be capable of relating nouns to verbs in ways that are not known to Person-B and thus communication would not be possible. CRITICAL CONCEPT SAID DIFFERENTLY: If a stage were infinite in size and it were being used, then we could never see the whole play. LIKEWISE, if there were an infinite number of ways of arranging words, we would never have all “arrangements” in common, which means there could never be a full measure of communication. Understanding What Professionals mean by the Term “Language” Language is the code system used to represent our thoughts, attitudes, feelings, etc. Critical Aspects of Any Language #1 Languages are composed of words: Nouns, Verbs (cow, run) Adjectives,Adverbs (big,well) Structure words (to,and,the..) Critical Aspects of Language -Continued#2 Rules exist in languages to prescribe how the words are to be ordered or arranged. #3 The rules mentioned in #2 are not known, they are TACIT— no one can list them. Critical Aspects of Language -continued There are many more interesting aspects of languages, but suffice it to say that languages exist to allow speakers to communicate their thoughts, intentions, and… Critical Aspects of Language -continued ….and feelings, etc. to others. And, languages are highly structured systems which few, if any people fully understand. (Not even teachers) (Not even professors) **Demonstration Time** To illustrate the nature of language in physical terms, let me demonstrate. Who has a “wallet” that I can throw behind my back? (In class demonstration) What knowledge did it take to throw a wallet of unknown weight, at an unknown angle and an unknown distance? What is the ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE within a person? Our THOUGHTS are the origin of language. “Thoughts” are what we think and want to express! HOW DO OUR CHILDREN LEARN LANGUAGE? Brains must work. Meaningful Experiences MUST be provided. Language (words/sentences) must be used and paired with a variety of meaningful experiences. HOW DO OUR CHILDREN LEARN? EXPERIENCE! All experiences have value. Experiences are limitless. But the number of ways we can share experiences using language is not limitless---it is really quite small. HOW MANY GRAMMATICAL RELATIONSHIPS ? BETWEEN 8 and 13 DEPENDING on HOW YOU WANT TO COUNT. I will speak of 10 relationships and in so doing will include some redundancy by collapsing 13 to 10. GATE KEEPER CONCEPT I am trying to help you as parents and educators understand some very complex concepts: Please, stay with me… COGNITIVE CONSTRAINTS Maybe it would be easier to understand if I said that VERBS ARE GATE KEEPERS; every idea we want to express must come through a “verb-gate”, and there are only three (3) gates. These GATES are cognitive gates; the “verb gates” reflect cognitive limitations in how we can relate verbs to nouns. We might also say that verbs carry with them COGNITIVE CONSTRAINTS. MAJOR CONSTRAINTS OF THE MIND ACTION VERBS (verbs of action are called Intransitive Verbs) VERBS THAT SHOW NOUNS ARE ACTED UPON. (verbs that take a direct object are called Transitive Verbs.) STATE OF BEING VERBS (verbs that define a state of being are called Be Verbs, or Linking Verbs.) MAJOR VERB CLASSES AND SUBCLASSES OF VERBS The group of verbs called “Transitive Verbs” has more constraints or limitations. In other words, when you go through the “Transitive Gate” to express a thought, there are more gates to choose from--- 8 more “cognitive gates” exist. Likewise for BE verbs: There are 3 subsets or “cognitive gates” to go through, but in this discussion the BE verbs will be considered as 1. VERBS BEST REPRESENT THE POSSIBLE CONCEPTUALIZATIONS Verb Gate #1 = Sleep Nouns can act or do. (Jose left.) VERBS BEST REPRESENT THE POSSIBLE CONCEPTUALIZATIONS Verb Gate #2 = Read Nouns can act upon understood nouns. (Jose ate.) (It is understood that he ate some food without saying anything) (Note ‘read’ is really a subset of ‘drop’--there is redundancy between ‘read’ and ‘drop.’ VERBS BEST REPRESENT THE POSSIBLE CONCEPTUALIZATIONS Verb Gate #3 = Drop Nouns can act upon nouns that must be explicitly stated. (Maria dropped her purse.) VERBS BEST REPRESENT THE POSSIBLE CONCEPTUALIZATIONS Verb Gate #4 = Give Nouns can give and take nouns from other nouns. (Jim gave Sara flowers.) VERBS BEST REPRESENT THE POSSIBLE CONCEPTUALIZATIONS Verb Gate #5 = Put Nouns can position nouns in various locations. (Bob put the book on the table.) VERBS BEST REPRESENT THE POSSIBLE CONCEPTUALIZATIONS Verb Gate # 6 = Have Nouns can possess nouns. (Mary has her bottle.) (Note there is redundancy between ‘have’ and ‘drop’. VERBS BEST REPRESENT THE POSSIBLE CONCEPTUALIZATIONS Verb Gate # 7 = Made Nouns can alter the state of being* or actions** of other nouns (*Mama made Bobby sad.) (**Mama made Bobby leave.) VERBS BEST REPRESENT THE POSSIBLE CONCEPTUALIZATIONS Verb Gate #8 = Try Nouns can attempt actions without knowing the outcome. (Billy tried to catch the fly.) VERBS BEST REPRESENT THE POSSIBLE CONCEPTUALIZATIONS Verb Gate # 9 = Think Conceptualizations can be incorporated or treated as nouns—that is, whole concepts can function as nouns. (Daddy thinks the baby is cute.) VERBS BEST REPRESENT THE POSSIBLE CONCEPTUALIZATIONS Verb Gate #10 = BE Nouns can be described, renamed and they can have location. Be + Adjective (He is big) Be + Noun (He is my brother) Be + Where (John is home.) CRITICAL IMPLICATION Each of us have just these few ways of relating various nouns and actions to one another. We must provide experiences to young children so they can develop the capacity to express these relationships. HOW IS THIS DONE ? Demonstration Time In the ‘Tupperware slide” to follow, ‘Tupperware’ balls represent the ‘language ability’ of two people and the 10 geometric holes represent the ‘gates’ through which concepts must past if they are to be shared. An adult who knows language can express an infinite number of concepts only through the limited number of KTV “gates” which are represented by geometric shapes. In the next slide the geometric shapes for the ‘baby’ are not yet open, which means the message cannot be received. Let the ‘ball’ on the right be the adult, and the ‘ball’ on the left be a deaf child and let the triangle and circle represent two distinct conceptualizations the adult wants to share. For the child/infant to be able to comprehend the message of the adult, he/she must be presented with enough quality-quantity input to ‘punch-out’ the blockage as represented in the Tupperware so that his/her brain can receive and comprehend the messages. IMPLICATIONS FOR PARENTS Make sure that the child is given many experiences that require use of the language expressed within the ten language frames just discussed. Target for Parents of Preschool Children “My child can use and understand the ten language frames using simple vocabulary before he/she enters school.” IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHERS Make sure that the child is given many experiences that require the language expressed within the ten language frames just discussed. Target for Teachers “Each child can use the ten language frames (10 Key Trigger Verbs)”. CONCLUSION REMEMBER--- ELEPHANTS CAN BE EATEN ONLY ONE BITE AT A TIME. Expand verbs in two ways: (1) develop more verbs within a KTV subset, and (2) teach additional meaning of verbs already being used (i.e., She runs fast. She can run the computer.) In your home, you can provide your child with a “sentence frame” for expressing every possible way of expressing cognitive relationships. See sentences to follow: TABLE TALK -It can all be done around the table-John, (you) sit. John, (you) eat. John, (you) get the milk. John, (you) give mom the butter. John (you) put the plates on the table. John, (you) have some bread. **John, (you) clean up the dishes. TABLE TALK CONTINUED Mom, you made the gravy thick. John, (you) try to drink your milk. Mom, I think the cake is wonderful. Mom, the ice-cream is good. Yum! This is ice-cream. The jam is in the frig. THESE ARE THE FRAMES FOR EXPRESSING ALL CONCEPTUAL RELATIONSHIPS POWERFULSUGGESTION: MAKE LANGUAGE BOOKS MAKE SECTIONS FOR THE 10 KEY TRIGGER VERBS. MULTIPLE PICTURES REPRESENTING EACH VERB—SAME VERB (How many pictures could be used to represent ‘work’. USE DIFFERENT VERBS IN SAME SUBSET REMEMBER TOO… Teaching language means that we must feed the brain language. ‘Feeding the brain” means using language with the language-learner (the child) in functional and meaningful ways. And we must do it modeling language properly (Quality) and we must do it hundreds if not thousands of times (Quantity. THE END QUESTIONS ?