Chapter 10
Development of Language and Communication
Skills
FIVE COMPONENTS OF LANGUAGE
• Phonology – knowledge of language’s sound
system (phonetics)
• Morphology – rules specifying how words are
formed from sounds
• Semantics – meanings expressed in words
– Free morphemes – stand alone words
– Bound morphemes – cannot stand alone,
change meaning of free morphemes when
added
FIVE COMPONENTS OF LANGUAGE
• Syntax – rules specifying how words are
combined to produce sentences
• Pragmatics – principles governing how
language is used in different social situations
• Also requires interpretation of nonverbal
signals
THEORIES OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
• The Learning (Empiricist) Perspective
– Imitation, reinforcement and correction are
responsible for learning language
– Evaluation of Learning Perspective
• Imitation and reinforcement are
important
• Syntax (grammatical correctness) not
reinforced
THEORIES OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
• The Nativist Perspective
– Humans are biologically programmed to
acquire language
• Language acquisition device – activated
by verbal input (Chomsky)
–Universal grammar – common set of
rules
• Language-Making Capacity (Slobin)
•
Figure 10.1 A model of language acquisition proposed by nativists.
THEORIES OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
– Support for the Nativist Perspective
• Presence of linguistic universals
• Language is species specific
• Brain Specialization and Language
–Broca’s area – speech production
–Wernicke’s area – speech
comprehension
• Sensitive-Period Hypothesis – language
most easily acquired - birth to puberty
•
Figure 10.2 As shown here, there is a clear relationship between the age at which immigrants
arrived in the United States and their eventual adult performance in English grammar. Those who
arrived early in childhood end up performing like native speakers of English, whereas those who
arrived as teenagers or adults perform much more poorly.
THEORIES OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
– Problems with the Nativist Approach
• Other species show auditory
discrimination early in life
• Doesn’t explain language development
• Overlooked the role of the environment
THEORIES OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
• The Interactionist Perspective
– Biological and Cognitive Contributors
• Biologically prepared to acquire
language
–Gradually maturing nervous system,
develop similar ideas at same age
–Biological maturation affects cognitive
development, affecting language
•
Figure 10.3 Grammatical complexity increases as a function of the size of children’s productive
vocabulary.
THEORIES OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
– Environmental Supports
• Language is a means of communicating
• Lessons from Joint Activities
–Conversations require taking turns
• Lessons from Child-Directed Speech
–Short, simple sentences (motherese)
–Becomes more complex with
language development
THEORIES OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
– Environmental Supports, continued
• Lessons from Negative Evidence
–Respond to ungrammatical speech
»Expansion – corrected and
enriched version
»Recast – new grammatical forms
• Importance of Conversation
–Must be involved in using language,
exposure to speech is not sufficient
•
Figure 10.4 An overview of the interactionist perspective on language development.
BEFORE LANGUAGE:
THE PRELINGUSITC PERIOD
• Early Reactions to Speech
– 3 days old, prefer mother’s voice
– Can distinguish phonemes adults cannot
– The Importance of Intonational Cues
• Sensitive to cues from birth
• 7 months sensitive to phrase units
BEFORE LANGUAGE:
THE PRELINGUSITC PERIOD
• Producing Sounds: Prelinguistic Vocalizations
– 2 months – cooing (vowel sounds)
– 4-6 months – babbling (vowel + consonant)
– 10-12 months – vocables – reserving
sounds for particular situations
BEFORE LANGUAGE:
THE PRELINGUSITC PERIOD
• What Do Prelinguistic Infants Know about
Language and Communication?
– 7-8 months, vocal turn taking
– Gestures and Nonverbal Communication
• 8-10 months
–Declarative – directing attention
–Imperative – alter others’ behavior
BEFORE LANGUAGE:
THE PRELINGUSITC PERIOD
– Do Preverbal Infants Understand the
Meaning of Words?
• 12-13 months – yes
• Receptive language (understanding)
develops earlier than productive
language (expression)
ONE WORD AT A TIME:
THE HOLOPHRASE PERIOD
• Holophrase – one word “sentences”
• Early Semantics: Building a Vocabulary
– Vocabulary grows one word at a time
– Naming explosion – 18-24 months
– Talk most about manipulable objects
– Multimodel motherese – exaggerated
sentences by an adult accompanied by an
action explaining the words
•
Table 10.1 Types of Words Used by Children with Productive Vocabularies of 50
Words. SOURCE: Adapted from Nelson, 1973.
ONE WORD AT A TIME:
THE HOLOPHRASE PERIOD
– Individual and Cultural Variations
• Referential style – word refer to people
or objects (Western cultures)
• Expressive style – personal/social words
(Eastern cultures)
• Birth order influences language style
ONE WORD AT A TIME:
THE HOLOPHRASE PERIOD
• Attaching Meaning to Words
– Fast-mapping – quickly acquiring a word
after hearing it applied a few times
– Good at 13-15 months, better for
understanding, difficult retrieving words
from memory
ONE WORD AT A TIME:
THE HOLOPHRASE PERIOD
– Common Errors in Word Use
• Overextension – overgeneralization
• Underextension – using word for small
range of objects
– Strategies for Inferring Word Meanings
• Use of social and contextual cues
• Processing constraints
–Object scope; Mutual exclusivity;
lexical constraint
•
Table 10.2 Some Processing Strategies, or Constraints, That Guide Young Children’s
Inferences about the Meaning of New Words.
ONE WORD AT A TIME:
THE HOLOPHRASE PERIOD
• Syntactical Clues to Word Meaning
–Syntactical bootstrapping – learning
meaning from sentence structure
»Noun – object
»Adjective – characteristic of object
»Causation – action word
THE TELEGRAHPIC PERIOD: FROM
HOLOPHRASES TO SIMPLE SENTENCES
• Telegraphic speech – 18-24 months
– Simple sentences, containing only critical
words (no grammatical markers)
– More common in languages where word
order is more important than grammatical
markers
– A Semantic Analysis of Telegraphic Speech
•
Table 10.3 Similarities in Children’s Spontaneous Two-Word Sentences in Four
Languages. SOURCE: Adapted from Slobin, 1979.
THE TELEGRAHPIC PERIOD: FROM
HOLOPHRASES TO SIMPLE SENTENCES
• A Semantic Analysis of Telegraphic Speech
– Follows some grammatical rules
– Context is also vital for understanding
meaning
• The Pragmatics of Early Speech
– 2 year olds – good at vocal turn-taking
– Prefer to talk about unshared information
– Monitor responses to clarify meaning
– Understanding need to be polite
LANGUAGE LEARNING DURING THE
PRESCHOOL PERIOD
• Preschool period (2 ½-5) sentences become
complex and adultlike
• Grammatical Development
– Development of Grammatical Morphemes
• Grammatical morphemes – modifiers
give more precise meaning to sentences
–‘s’ for plurality; ‘ed’ for past tense
–‘ing’ for present progressive
•
Table 10.4 Samples of One Boy’s Speech at Three Ages.
•
Table 10.5 Order of Acquisition of English Grammatical Morphemes.
•
Figure 10.5 A linguistic puzzle used to determine young children’s understanding of the rule for
forming plurals in English.
LANGUAGE LEARNING DURING THE
PRESCHOOL PERIOD
• Grammatical Morphemes - continued
–Acquired in a specific order
–Overregularization – overextend new
grammatical morphemes
»Relatively rare
LANGUAGE LEARNING DURING THE
PRESCHOOL PERIOD
– Mastering Transformational Rules
• Transformation grammar – rules for
creating variations of declarative
sentences
–Asking questions
»Yes/no – rising intonation
»Wh- questions (who, what, where,
when, why)
»Moving auxiliary verb
LANGUAGE LEARNING DURING THE
PRESCHOOL PERIOD
–Producing Negative Sentences
»Negative before sentence
»Move negative inside sentence
»Combine negative with auxiliary
verb
–Producing Complex Sentences
»Age 3 - clauses, conjunctions first,
embedded sentences next
»5-6 good grammar
LANGUAGE LEARNING DURING THE
PRESCHOOL PERIOD
• Semantic Development
– 2-5 understand and express relational
contrasts
• Big/little; tall/short; in/on; here/there
– Frequently misinterpret passives
LANGUAGE LEARNING DURING THE
PRESCHOOL PERIOD
• Development of Pragmatics and
Communication Skills
– 3 year olds – illocutionary intent – real
meaning may be different than literal
meaning of words
– 3-5 – must tailor messages to
communicate effectively
LANGUAGE LEARNING DURING THE
PRESCHOOL PERIOD
– Referential Communication
• Ability to detect ambiguities in others’
speech and ask for clarification
–Preschool – fail to detect linguistic
ambiguities
»Generally successfully guess
–Assume own uninformative
sentences are clear
–Better in natural environment than lab
LANGUAGE LEARNING DURING MIDDLE
CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE
• Later Syntactical Development
– Middle childhood – syntactical refinement
• Subtle rules, complex structures
• Semantic and Metalinguistic Awareness
– Rapid vocabulary growth –
• Morphological knowledge – meaning of
morphemes to determine new words
• Add abstract words
– 9 to 11 – recognize and make inferences
LANGUAGE LEARNING DURING THE
PRESCHOOL PERIOD
– Metalinguistic awareness
• Thinking about language and comment
on properties
–Grammatical awareness
–Phonological awareness – linked to
reading achievement
LANGUAGE LEARNING DURING THE
PRESCHOOL PERIOD
• Further Development of Communication
Skills
– Dramatic improvement in referential
communication skills by 6 or 7
• Less egocentric, more role-taking
• 9 - 10 years old – more clarification for
ambiguous information
•
Table 10.6 Typical Idiosyncratic Descriptions Offered by Preschool Children When Talking about
Unfamiliar Graphic Designs in the Krauss and Glucksberg Communication Game.
LANGUAGE LEARNING DURING THE
PRESCHOOL PERIOD
• What Role Do Siblings Play in the Growth of
Communication Skills?
– Promotes effective communication
• Siblings less likely to adjust speech, but
then more likely to monitor and fix
ambiguous messages
• Less likely to interpret ambiguous
message from younger sibling – forcing
them to adjust
•
Table 10.7 Important Milestones in Language Development.
Bilingualism: Challenges and Consequences of
Learning Two Languages
• Exposure to 2 languages prior to age 3,
proficient in both
• Preschool children, often learn second
language to proficiency in 1 year
• Cognitive advantages
– Score higher on IQ tests, metalinguistic
awareness, better selective attention
Bilingualism: Challenges and Consequences of
Learning Two Languages
• English-only instruction
– Causes LEP children to struggle
academically
– Do not acquire sufficient level of skill in
English
Bilingualism: Challenges and Consequences of
Learning Two Languages
• Two-way bilingual education
– Half day in English, half in second
language
– Beneficial for both students with limited
English proficiency and students fluent in
English
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Chapter 10 - Bakersfield College