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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 7: Language, Thought and Intelligence Language- a system for communicating with others using signals that convey meaning and are combined according to rules of grammar. Complex Structure of Human Language 1. The complex structure of human language distinguishes itself from simpler systems 2. Humans use words to refer to intangible things 3. We use language to categorize, name, and describe things to ourselves when we think; consciously thinking to ourselves Phoneme- smallest unit of sound that is recognizable as speech rather than a random noise; building blocks for spoken language o EX. b and p o Japanese children can hear the difference between the phoneme l and r Morphemes- phonemes are combined to make morphemes, the smallest meaningful unit of sound; they can be complete words or elements that can be combined in order to make full words. o EX. pat, eat, -ing, -ed Grammar- a set of rules that specify how the units of language can be combined to produce meaningful messages; fall into two subjects: 1. Rules of morphology indicate how morphemes can be combined to form words (eat + ing = eating) 2. Rules of syntax indicate how words can be combined to form phrases and sentences Deep surface- refers to the meaning of a sentence Surface structure- refers to how a sentence is worded o When generating a sentence, you think from deep to surface structure, when decoding a sentence, you go from surface to deep structure. Language Development First, a child learns the language at a very fast rate Second, children make few errors while learning to speak, and the errors they do make usually are grammatical Third, at every stage of development, a childs passive mastery of language (their ability to understand) develops faster then their active mastery (their ability to speak) Milestones Between ages 4 and 6 months, children babble speech sounds Delayed babbling or the cessation of babbling merits testing for possible hearing difficulties At about 10 to 12 months babies begin to utter (or sign) their first words By 18 months, they can say about 50 words and understand several times more than that Fast Mapping- the fact that children can map a word into an underlying concept after only a single exposure At 24 months, children learn telegraphic speech, or two-word sentences and phrases that tend to consist of nouns and verbs, without the other elements, such as prepositions or articles that we normally use to link speech. Emergence of Grammar Children memorize sounds (words) As children acquire more grammatical rules, they tend to overgeneralize, for example the rule of past tense (ran instead of runned) Theories of Language Development 1. Behaviorists Explanations Children acquire language through simple principles of operant conditioning Vocalizations that are not reinforced gradually diminish, and those that are reinforced stay in the developing childs repertoire. reinforced stay in the developing childs repertoire....
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- Spring '06