Lecture 6: Language Development Flashcards Preview

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1

Theories of language development: behaviourist approach

• Acquired through operant conditioning (e.g. Skinner)
• Reinforcement & imitation
• Does not account for infants creation of novel utterances, & huge vocabulary in early childhood
• Language is acquires through reinforced imitation, increasing process of being reinforced for saying the right word
• Doesn’t fit with some of ways child don’t know right way come up qith creative way
• Theory struggles to explain spurt in early childhood munber of words you are learning

2

Theories of language development: Nativist approach

• Noam Chomsky (1957) -Language Acquisition Device
• Innate system that is uniquely human
• Universal grammar - rules can apply to all language forms
• Biological time frame for language development: had to get input at certain time to have typical language development
• Language so extraordinary, develops so quickly, thought uniquely human
• Something about human brain innate developed in brains innant for LAD that accounts for how extraordinary our lang development is

3

Evaluation of Nativist view

• Deaf children develop novel language: spontaneously created own sign language
• Animals unable to develop complex language: chips can sign single words, some evidence can put 2 words together using sign although some people disagree that they are joining two words as humans would so
• Specific areas of the brain linked to language: if there is LAD where is it? 1. Broca’s area : damage=struggle to get words out 2. Wernicke’s area: damage can talk about but jibberish
• But is less localised than initially thought
• Sensitive period for language development
E.g., Genie, never heard any language, did develop language but was never fluent, not had inpit at right time \never able to speak it fluently



Limitations
• Difficulty in specifying universal grammar
• Grammatical development is gradual and extends into middle childhood
• Fails to account for pragmatics
• Bit simplistic in terms of LAD

4

Theories of language development: Interactionist approach

• Interaction between innate abilities & environment
• Information processing
-Connectionist or neural network simulations
-Make sense of language using general cognitive abilities
-Brain skilled at detecting pattern
Damage to left hemisphere causes language problems, but also difficulty with other ‘patterns’, e.g., music

• Social Interaction
-Innate desire to understand and be understood
-Stimulating language environment important

5

Stages of language development

• Prenatal – speech can be heard in utero
• Birth – Perception of phonemes
• 2-3 months – cooing
• 4-6 months – babbling
• 9-18 months – first words
• 18-24 months – telegraphic speech (two-words)
• Early childhood
o huge increase in vocab (~10,000 by 6 years)
• Middle childhood
o Vocab expands to ~40,000 words by age 11 years

6

Pragmatic development

• How it is acceptable to communicate
• Social rules governing conversation
-Turnabout (early childhood) (take turns talking)
-Shading (from ~5 years)

7

Illocutionary intent

indirect requests, ‘I need a crayon’: understanding needs of listener, understanding that means there’s crayons near you pass them to me
-Basic understanding by age 3, develops into middle childhood

8

Referential communication skills

-got to take into account the listener to make your communication understandable
-Clarity of communication
-Take listeners’ needs into account
E.g., using gestures on the telephone
-Improves over pre-school and middle school years