Psychology

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LECTURE 7



A system of communication  Words and written symbols  A two-way process  Productive, complex, infinite  Functions 1. Influences behaviors 2. Escapes reality with imagination 3. Communicates info and emotions

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1. 2. 3.


Phonology – knowledge of language’s sound system (phonetics) Morphology – rules specifying how words are formed from sounds Semantics – meanings expressed in words 

Free morphemes – stand alone words Bound morphemes – cannot stand alone, change meaning of free morphemes when added

Syntax – rules specifying how words are combined to produce sentences 5. Pragmatics – principles governing how language is used in different social situations  Also requires interpretation of nonverbal signals 4.

PA10203 Lect 7 3/31/2013

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 Broca’s


area: Portion of the cerebral cortex that controls expressive language. Left frontal region

 Expressive

aphasia: Loss of the ability to speak fluently.  Wernicke’s area: Portion of the cerebral cortex that controls language comprehension 

Left temporal region

 Receptive

aphasia: Loss of the ability to comprehend speech
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Motor cortex

Broca's area Primary auditory area

Wernicke's area

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 The


Learning (Empiricist) Perspective

Imitation, reinforcement and correction are responsible for learning language Evaluation of Learning Perspective  



Imitation and reinforcement are important Syntax (grammatical correctness) not reinforced

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 The


Nativist Perspective

Humans are biologically programmed to acquire language




Language acquisition device (LAD) – activated by verbal input (Chomsky)  Universal grammar – common set of rules Language-Making Capacity (Slobin)

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Figure 10.1 A model of language acquisition proposed by nativists. PA10203 Lect 7 3/31/2013

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Support for the Nativist Perspective
  



Presence of linguistic universals Language is species specific Brain Specialization and Language  Broca’s area – speech production  Wernicke’s area – speech comprehension Sensitive-Period Hypothesis – language most easily acquired - birth to puberty

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Figure 10.2 As shown here, there is a clear relationship between the age at which immigrants arrived in the United States and their eventual adult performance in English grammar. Those who arrived early in childhood end up performing like native speakers of English, whereas those who arrived as teenagers or adults perform much more poorly. PA10203 Lect 7 3/31/2013

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A Critical Period and Language Acquisition
280 276

270
260 250 240 230 220

210

Native 3-7 8-10 11-15 speakers Immigrants: Age (in years) on arrival in U.S.

17-39

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Problems with the Nativist Approach
  

Other species show auditory discrimination early in life Doesn’t explain language development Overlooked the role of the environment

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 The



Interactionist Perspective

Biological and Cognitive Contributors
Biologically prepared to acquire language  Gradually maturing nervous system, develop similar ideas at same age  Biological maturation affects cognitive development, affecting language

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Figure 10.3 Grammatical complexity increases as a function of the size of children’s productive vocabulary. PA10203 Lect 7 3/31/2013

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Environmental Supports
 



Language is a means of communicating Lessons from Joint Activities  Conversations require taking turns Lessons from Child-Directed Speech  Short, simple sentences (motherese)  Becomes more complex with language development Lessons from Negative Evidence ...
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