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- 1. Phonological
- 2. Semantic
- 3. Syntactical
- Importance of statistical learning
- Importance of social interaction
How was language studied before? What is special about language acquisition and its link to social cognition?
- It was studied distinc from other cognitive capacities
- Language has a symbolic function
- psychological tool for organising and changing our own cognitive experiences
- Words encode our experiences (Vygotsky)
Phonological development. Major points.
- 1. cog mechanisms like statistical learning (for perception) and imitation (for production) underlie this
- 2. Kuhl: Social interaction and face-to-face contingent interaction important
- Mandarin graduates and 9-month old ENglish infants - still can distinguish phonetic distinctions --> but infants who simply watched a video of play sessions did not retain Mandarin Chinese speech contrasts
- 3. Infant Directed speech (IDS)
- 4. Categorical perception - there is no period of ambiguity between the phonemes /b/ and /p/ in 'bat' and 'pat' - it is a sudden shift in perception for adults --> when do infants learn this?
- Study - Eimas et al: 1 month old infants could do exactly same! continuum of sound between /b/ and /p/ - adults' boundary between 20ms and 40ms onset sound (but 0ms -20ms perceived as same /b/ sound
- No dishabituation of sucking between other changes of equal stimulus magnitude (only 20-40ms)
- (NB - Similar but non-identical sounds that consistute the same phoneme is called an allophone)
- 5. Specialises - Less sensitive to other languages
- Werker and Tees: sensitivity to phoneme distinctions in other languages disappears after 1yr
- Perceptual 'magnets': sounds perceptally similar to prototype are grouped together --> which sounds are experienced as similar varies across languages (Khuls)
Give an example of a cultural difference in how we distinguish between phonemes.
- English: divide acoustic continuum from /d/ to /t/ into 2 phonemes
- Hindi: 3 phoneme divisions --> with 2 for the /t/ part
What could be an interessting addition to Werker and Tees's study?
- They looked at behvaioural differences to show that they start specialising at least by 1yo, but they have no brain-imaging study yet.
- Brain imaging could show whether perception is dead or just attention
Semantic development. Major points.
- 1.Joint Attention Triangle - non-verbal cues (eg gaze) conveys referential information
- 2. Importance of IDS
- Helps mapping
- Fernald: mothers unconsciously emphasise novel words when reading story
- 3. Overextension - use single word to refer to many different things ('ball' to describe fruits as well as ball)
- Semantically confused? No.
- Fremgen & Fay: only over-extend during language production, and never overextend during language comprehension (picture naming vs choose pic task)
- Simply using limited vocab to communicate as flexibly as possible
- Children of different cultures often have similar first words (that refer to salient things)
- 4. 'Fast mapping' - single experince of new word is sufficient for learning (eg. just by over-hearing adults)
- However, this is not a special in-built human language-learning device --> dogs have fast mapping (Rico the dog) --> a form of exclusion learning. Rico learnt 200+ words --> shows they can learn word-object pairings by quickly eliminating other possible meanings for that word.
Syntactical/grammatical development. Major points.
- 1. Syntax (how words are put together) and morphology (internal structures of words - eg burglary and stealery)
- 2. Morphology - affected by morphemes (walk +ed)
- inflectional morphology (timing)
- derivational morphology (create new word by adding suffix or affix (eg un+happy)
- 3. Old view: Language acquisition device Chomsky (1957) - nativist
- 4. Recent: 'Usage-based' connectionist theories (Tomasello, 2000)
- copy utterances they hear around them --> statistical mechanism
- 5. U-shaped learning --> imitate, then period of generalisations, then settle in. Can be explained by these learning theories.
- 6. Berko: can use rules on nonsense words too --> role of phonological influences on analogy
- Determines what kind of rules children will and will not apply on grammatical tests
- Importance of speech and phonology in the statistical regularities
- 7. Children's errors drop away even though nobody explicitly tells them it's wrong --> importance of turn-taking where adult reformulates sentecnes
- 8. Hart and Risley: enormous differences in exposure to speech between high SES and low SES families