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Language Acquisition


Structure of Language Phonemes, Morphemes, Grammar, Syntax, Semantics
Phoneme Smallest unit of speech that can be discerned auditorially. Ex: "b" and "p"
Morpheme Smallest unit of meaning in a language: suffixes and prefixes
Grammar Parts of speech
Syntax Arranging the words in the correct order to be understood in your language
Semantics Meaning of words
Steps to producing words Crying, Cooing, Babbling, Word
Crying Babies have different cries for different needs and communicate those needs to us
Cooing Shows contentment--vowel sounds usually beginning with "ahhhh" and eventually leading to "ohhhhhh"
Babbling Consonant and vowel like "dadadada"
Conversational babbling Toddlers babble as if in conversation, moving their body parts and using inflection
Words We give meaning to a child's babble for their first words. Ex: dada becomes daddy
Receptive Vocabulary (understanding) Left Temporal Wernicke's Area--this skill begins before actual speech.
Productive Vocabulary (producing speech) Left Frontal Broca's Area--speaking follows comprehension
Fast Mapping How quickly can a child use a new word correctly?
Over-extension (also known as over-regularization) Child applies the word too generally. All fruits are applies. All men dressed like daddy are dadas.
Under-extension (also known as under-regularization) Child applies the word too narrowly. Only I have a dog. You can't have a dog!
Bilingual Research Bilingualism means thinking in both languages, not translating from one to the other.
Does bilingualism cause small vocabularies? Bilingual children tend to have slightly smaller vocabs, but use more superior words
Does bilingualism interfere with the child's cognition No. Bilingual children tend to score slightly higher in selective attention and analytical reasoning
Johnson & Newport (1989) Study Mapped immigrants' level of English language to when they mastered English.
J&N Results We can acquire a second language--the earlier the better. Between ages of 3-7 easily acquired as well as the native language. From 8-39, a steady decline and then levels off
J&N Results Acculturation plays an important role. Socially and psychologically we may acquire the second language faster because we must.
Washoe and Kanzi Chimps who were able to learn approx. 160-200 words via reward and correction, but could not generate language creatively. Toddlers outstrip the chimps because of the language acquisition device
Stephen Pinker Linguistic Theorist: Language is not only communicative, it is adaptive. Arab Spring example
Behaviorist: Skinner Children "learn" language via reward and correction (although parents do not correct toddlers who begin to speak)
Naturist: Noam Chomsky Children acquire language via the LAD, Language Acquisition Device. that prompts them to use the correct phonemes, morphemes, grammar, syntax and meaning.
Chomsky Research 3 month old infants can distinguish different phonemes of every world language. However, between 8-12 months, they lose that ability if they don't hear the sound daily. "Use it or lose it."
Interactionists Children must hear language spoken in their environment to prompt the LAD to begin working.
Benjamin Whorf Linguistic Relativity: One's culture determines one's language. Example of the Eskimos having over 20 words for snow.
Created by: lmckay
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