SFL 210 Exam 3 Review Sheet
Chapter 9: Language Development
Definition of semantics and grammar
Semantics: second component of language. Involves vocabulary—the way underlying concepts are expressed
in words and word combinations.
Grammar: third component of language. Consists of two main parts: syntax and morphology. Syntax are rules
by which words are arranged into sentences and morphology is the use of grammatical markers indicating
number, tense, case, person, gender, active or passive voice, and other meanings (ex: the endings
2) Chomsky’s Language Acquisition Device
Language Acquisition Device (LAD):
In Chomsky’s theory, a biologically based, innate module for picking
up language that permits children, as soon as they have acquired sufficient vocabulary, to combine words into
grammatically consistent, novel utterances and to understand the meaning of sentences they hear. (p. 359)
3) Behaviorist perspective on language
Behaviorists believe that language, like any other behavior, is acquired through operant conditioning. Baby
makes sounds and parents reinforce those that sound most like words with smiles, hugs, and speech. They also
believe that children rely on imitation to acquire complex utterances, such as whole phrases and sentences.
However few advocate the behaviorist perspective today because they believe it can not account for language
development in young children, who, rather than acquiring specific sentences, develop a working knowledge of
language rules. Adults do influence children's development in language by interacting with them in particular
4) Joint attention and the importance of linguistic interaction during the first months of life
Joint Attention: When the adult follows the baby’s line of vision and comments on what the infant sees. (The
child attends to the same object or event as the caregiver, who labels and identifies the object or event.)
Infants and toddlers who experience this joint attention sustain their attention longer, comprehend more
language, produce meaningful gestures and words earlier, and show faster vocabulary development.
Between 4 and 6 months, interactions with the babies are give-and-take, as in pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo
games. By 12 months babies actively participate in trading roles with the caregiver, which helps them practice the
turn-taking pattern of human conversation.
Children with limited and less sensitive parental communication lag behind their age mates in achieving
verbal control over their behavior – in thinking before they act and in planning.
5) Effects learning a second language has on children
Children of bilingual parents who tech them both languages show no special problems with language