LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
How do you pronounce: ghoti?
Pronounce gh
…as in enough
Pronounce o
…as in women
Pronounce ti
…as in emotion
Language:
Language Acquisition
B.F. Skinner
1904-1990
vs
Noam Chomsky
1928-
Skinner vs. Chomsky (1957)
Skinner’s position (behavorist/nurture)
-imitation
-reinforcement
Chomsky’s position (nativist)
-language acquisition device &
universal grammar
-critical period
-overgeneralization
Noam Chomsky (1928- )
• Argues that children have a predisposition to
learn language
• A person’s brain is hard wired to learn vocabulary
and the rules of grammar
• “universal grammar”—a basic understanding
of the common principles of language
organization
• At birth, infants can distinguish among the
speech sounds of all the world’s languages.
• By 10 months, they distinguish only the
speech sounds that are present in the
language to which they have been exposed.
Noam Chomsky Interview
• Insert “Chomsky’s View of Language
Development” Video #21 from Worth’s
Digital Media Archive for Psychology.
Click Here
to view
video in a
separate
window
B.F. Skinner and Language
• Skinner believed language was the
result of learning through:
– Association : linking certain sounds
with certain people
– Imitation
– Rewards or punishments
Language
• Play “Language and Culture” (4:42)
Segment #28 from The Mind:
Psychology Teaching Modules (2nd
edition).
Language:
Language Stages
Language Predisposition
• Play “Language Predisposition”
(3:44) Segment #24 from The Mind:
Psychology Teaching Modules (2nd
edition).
Encouraging language
development: Motherese
• People in every culture use a style of
speech called motherese, or infantdirected speech, with babies.
• Motherese is characterized by distinct
pronunciation, a simplified vocabulary,
short sentences, a high pitch, and
exaggerated intonation and expression.
Language Acquisition Stages
• In virtually every culture, infants follow
the same sequence of language
development, and at roughly similar
ages.
• Three-step process:
– Babbling
– One-Word Stage
– Two-Word Stage
Cooing and Babbling stage
• At about 3 months of age, the infant begins to
“coo.”
• At about 5 months of age, the infant begins to
babble.
• Infants all over the world use the same sounds
(phonemes) when they babble.
• At around nine months of age, babies begin to
babble more in the sounds specific to their
language.
• Will begin to babble only the phonemes of the child’s
native tongue at about 1 year of age
• Babbling seems to be a biologically programmed
stage of language development. Twin Babies Talk!
Babbling and Language
Development
• Play “Talkin’ Babies” (12:00)
Segment #18 from Scientific
American Frontiers: Video Collection
for Introductory Psychology (2nd
edition).
• Is Language Progression the same in
deaf children?
One-Word Stage
• Long before babies become accomplished talkers, they
understand much of what is said to them.
• Comprehension vocabulary (the words they understand) is
much larger than their production vocabulary (the words
they can say).
• Around their first birthday, infants produce their first real
words — usually referring to concrete objects or people
that are important to them
• Child uses one word to convey a complete thought or idea
• During the one-word stage, babies use a single word and
vocal intonation to stand for an entire sentence.
Two-Word Stage
• Around their second birthday, infants begin
putting words together to construct simple
“sentences.”
• Two word sentences showing an appreciation of the
rules of grammar
• Children move beyond the two-word stage at
around 2-1/2 years of age.
• Language production and comprehension
increase dramatically thereafter—children may
have a production vocabulary of over 10,000
words by school age.
Grammar Development
• Insert “Gleason’s Wug Test” Video
#22 from Worth’s Digital Media
Archive for Psychology.
Click here
to view in
a separate
window
Overgeneralization
• Child will generalize grammar rules
so they apply the rules too broadly.
• Example: “I dugged in the sandbox”
rather than “I dug in the sandbox”
Overgeneralization
Language Development
• Play “Born to Talk” (6:45) Segment
#21 from Scientific American
Frontiers: Video Collection for
Introductory Psychology (2nd edition).
• Watch how grammar rules get
overgeneralized.
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LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT