11.development

11.development - Week 10 & 12: Spring 2009 Development...

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Development Week 10 & 12: Spring 2009
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Language Development Surely the most impressive intellectual achievement of our lives and we do it early, and seemingly effortlessly.
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Language Development Surely the most impressive intellectual achievement of our lives and we do it early, and seemingly effortlessly. How? Is it just learning? or is there some innate abilities that bootstrap our learning?
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Language Development Think more about our biological capacity for language What is built into the learner? Something is innate: children learn languages quickly and proficiently given the same language environment, other species do not learn language
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The learner and the input One proposal (from Chomsky) adult linguistic competence ‘goes beyond’ linguistic input (i.e. we can’t learn everything we know about language) children are born with ‘Language Acquisition Device’ (LAD) containing innate ‘knowledge’ about human language All languages are variants of some form, children must learn how to set the parameters
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The learner and the input To evaluate this claim need to consider: what needs to be learned what evidence there is in the input Important: learners do not get explicit instruction and are not corrected (no negative feed back)
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What needs to be learned? the sound system the lexicon the grammar discourse
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Some learning even before birth… Sound travels through tissue and fluid Particularly low frequencies Babies identify certain aspects of their native language even immediately after birth
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Suprasegmental Perception At birth, infants can discriminate: mother’s voice from another woman Dr. Seuss story read during pregnancy from another Dr. Seuss story native language from another language
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Rhythmic classes 3 types of languages Stress-timed Syllable-timed Mora-timed English is stress-timed Regular rhythm for stressed syllables Unstressed syllables squished up between
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Acquisition of Rhythmic classes At birth or shortly after, babies can discriminate their own type of language from the others Babies discriminate English vs. French Though not their own specific language Can’t discriminate English vs. Dutch Based on rhythmic type, not the details By 5 months, can discriminate their own specific language Can discriminate English vs. Dutch
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Universal pattern of language development 1 word babble complex grammar 2 word 36 mo 6-10 mo 12 mo 18 mo Same pattern observed in every  culture… suggesting that the  unfolding of language is  acquired as a result of highly  specialized biologically  programmed mechanisms  operating on the linguistic input
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Milestones of Acquisition 0-1 month: Cooing 6 mos: Babbling 12 mos: First word 12-18 mos: One word speech 18-24 mos: Two word speech 2 - 4 years: More complex structures 4 - 5 years: Done
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Cooing Sounds made with open vocal tract No open/closed alternation
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11.development - Week 10 & 12: Spring 2009 Development...

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