Linguistics Chapter 1 Language Development Introduction Learning Outcomes Define The Term Language Describe How

Document Type
Homework Help
Book Title
Language Development From Theory to Practice 3rd Edition
Khara L. Pence Turnbull, Laura M. Justice
Chapter 1: Language Development: An Introduction
Learning Outcomes:
1. Define the term language.
3. Describe the major domains of language.
5. Discuss the distinction between language and language disorders.
I. Introduction
A. Language research informs everyday practices and activities of parents, teachers, and
other professionals.
B. The study of language development is constantly evolving and complex.
II. What is Language?
A. Language Defined
1. From the American-Speech-Language Hearing Association (1982): Language is a
2. Language is a System of Symbols
2. Morphemes are the smallest units of language that carry meaning; they are
combined to make words.
3. Single morpheme word: school
7. When we use the word happy to describe our feelings, we use the word to
translate our feelings.
9. The relationship between a word and its referent (the aspect of the world to
which the word refers) is arbitrary.
11. The code we use to organize words into sentences is not arbitrary; we must follow
specific rules.
3. The System of Language is Conventional
a. The term conventional means users of a language abide by accepted rules.
b. Example: English speakers agree to use the word dog to refer to that particular
f. Language communities emerge for geographic reasons (e.g., Ukranian is spoken
in the western region of the former Soviet Union), sociological reasons (e.g.,
4. The Language System is Dynamic
a. Language is in a state of activity and change.
b. This change occurs within an individual who is acquiring language and within a
community that uses a certain language.
5. Language is a Tool for Human Communication
a. Communication is the process of sharing information, such as thoughts, feelings,
and ideas, among two or more persons.
B. Language as a Module of Human Cognition
2. Includes symbolic representations of linguistic concepts (e.g., big, fly, crazy) and
3. So, language is a representational tool people use for thinking, and it is a tool that
permits people to communicate their thoughts to others.
5. Some suggest that language emerged because of increases in the size of human
communities and the consequent increases in the complexity of social dynamics.
7. The brain uses language as a representational tool to store information and to carry
8. When applied to mathematical and scientific tasks, these abilities might be called
9. Modularity is a cognitive science theory about how the human mind is organized
within the structures of the brain.
11. Modules are domain-specific, meaning they can process only very specific types of
information, such as depth perception within the visual system.
13. Questions about modularity concern whether the human brain contains modules or
14. Some language theorists argue that the human brain contains a large number of
15. Support for this theory comes, in part, from stroke research where damage to certain
parts of the left frontal lobe can impair grammatical ability.
17. Children with specific language impairment (SLI) also exhibit problems in very
precise aspects of grammar, such as verb tense.
18. Critics of the idea of language modularity argue that language emerges in response to
19. Even if language processes are modular, this does not mean language functions
specific to a given module (or area of the brain) cannot be subsumed by another area
of the brain when injury occurs.
III. How Does Language Relate to Speech, Hearing, and Communication?
A. Thoughts and ideas can be communicated to others using speech or a manual sign
B. Speech is the neuromuscular process by which humans turn language into a sound signal
C. Hearing is the sensory system that allows speech to enter into and be processed by the
D. Speech
2. When and how humans first began to use speech is the subject of considerable debate.
4. Model of Speech Production
a. A model is a way to represent an unknown event on the basis of the best current
evidence governing the event.
b. Fig. 1.2 shows a basic model of speech production with three stages.
c. The first stage is the perceptual event: The speech production process is initiated
with a mental, abstract representation of the speech stream to be produced; this
d. The second stage is the development of a motor schema to represent the
e. This plan is sent to the major muscle groups involved with speech production,
which stimulates the production of speech, or speech output in the third stage of
f. Ongoing feedback relays information about speech output back to the origination
of the perceptual target and motor schema.
5. Relationship of Speech to Language
a. Language does not depend on speech because people can share language by other
b. Speech depends wholly on language because speech would be a series of
c. Speech and language are largely independent processes.
d. In locked-in syndrome, individuals have intact language and cognitive skills, but
E. Hearing
1. Hearing is essential to both reception and comprehension of spoken language.
2. Hearing, or audition, is the perception of sound, and it includes both general auditory
perception and speech perception.
a. Sound Fundamentals
Acoustics is the study of sound.
The transmission and reception of speech involve four acoustic events.
Comprehension by the Brain: The auditory centers of the brain in the left
hemisphere translate the information sent through the ear. If it involves speech
b. Speech Perception
This appears to involve the infant’s use of statistical learning, in which the
infant assesses statistical regularities among the sounds they hear in the
speech stream and use these regularities to identify and learn the words of
their native language.
At the most basic level, speech perception involves processing phonemic
information, such as the four phonemes in the word coffee (/k/ /a/ /f/ /i/).
Speech perception does not involve the sequential one-on-one processing of
individual speech sounds; when humans produce phonemes, the phonemes
overlap with one another in a process called coarticulation.
The articulators coarticulate speech sounds because doing so is more efficient
F. Communication
1. Communication involves four basic processes: formulation, transmission, reception,
and comprehension
2. The sender formulates and then transmits the information he or she would like to
convey, and the receiver takes in and then comprehends the information.
4. Transmission is the process of conveying these ideas to another person.
6. Comprehension is the process of making sense of the message.
7. Symbolic communication, also called referential communication, occurs when an
9. Preintentional communication occurs when other people assume the relationship
10. Intentional communication is relatively precise in its intent and the relationship
between the communicative behavior and its referent is not arbitrary.
11. Some forms of intentional communication are very transparent (iconic
13. Infants do not need to use language to communicate these intentions.
15. The combination of speaking and listening is a common mode of communication
called oral communication.
16. Model of Communication
a. Figure 1.4 shows a model of communication that includes three essential
components: a sender to formulate and transmit a message, a receiver to receive
and comprehend the message, and a shared symbolic means for communication.
b. Feedback is another aspect of communication, and is what makes communication
active and dynamic.
f. The sender and the receiver use feedback to prevent communication
breakdowns from occurring; conversational repair is used to fix the breakdown.
17. Purpose of Communication
a. The primary purpose of communication is to provide and solicit information.
b. Table 1.1 provides one system of differentiating the major purposes of
communication (instrumental, regulatory, interactional, personal, heuristic,
imaginative, informative), each of which is important for developing and
maintaining social relationships, as well as meeting personal basic needs and
satisfying desires.
IV. What are the Major Domains of Language?
A. Form, Content, and Use
2. Content refers to the meaning of language the words used and the meaning behind
4. Language that focuses on the immediate context is contextualized.
6. Use pertains to how people draw on language functionally to meet personal and social
7. Examination of use also involves consideration of how well language achieves these
B. Components of Form, Content, and Use
1. Form, content, and use represent a three-domain system used to represent and
3. Semantics represents the domain of content.
5. Phonology refers to the rules of a language governing the sounds that make syllables
and words.
7. Allophones are the subtle variations of phonemes that occur as a result of contextual
8. Each language has rules governing how sounds are organized in words, called
9. Morphology pertains to the rules of language governing the internal organization of
11. Morphology allows us to add specificity to language and to expand vocabulary
12. Syntax refers to the rules of language governing the internal organization of
14. Semantics refers to the rules of language governing the meaning of individual words
and word combinations.
15. Semantics allows us to know the meanings of words, how many meanings a single
17. Three important aspects of the social use of language include using language for
18. Pragmatic rules govern linguistic, extralinguistic, and paralinguistic aspects of
communication, such as word choice, turn taking, posture, gestures, facial expression,
eye contact, proximity, pitch, loudness, and pauses.
V. What are Some Remarkable Features of Language?
A. Acquisition Rate
1. The sheer acquisition rate of language makes it difficult to study.
2. Although at birth children understand and use no words, within a year, they begin to
3. The years of early language acquisition, from birth to about puberty, are often called a
4. It also implies a period of time in which the environment has particularly important
impacts on language growth.
B. Universality
1. Universality, as it is applied to language, suggests all persons around the world apply
2. The way in which children learn language, and the time points at which they achieve
certain milestones appear to be fairly invariant among global language communities.
C. Species Specificity
2. Although animals can learn sequences of complex actions, the hierarchical
complexity of human language far exceeds the capabilities of the most sophisticated
nonhuman primates.
D. Semanticity
1. Human language allows people to represent events that are decontextualized, or
2. Semanticity allows people to represent the world to others, a remarkable capacity
shared by no other species.
E. Productivity
1. Productivity describes the principle of combination specifically, the combination
of a small number of discrete units into seemingly infinite novel creations.
3. This feature of language is unique to humans because the units of nonhuman
communication systems cannot be recombined to make new meanings.
VI. What are Language Differences and Language Disorders?
A. Language Differences
1. Language difference is a general term that describes the variability among language
2. They may differ in the number of words they understand, the length of their
3. Several major factors help explain differences among individuals specifically,
4. Dialect
a. Dialects are the natural variations of a language that evolve within specific
cultural or geographic boundaries.
5. Bilingualism
a. Although many children in the United States learn a single language
(monolingualism), others acquire two or more languages (bilingualism).
b. Today, about one-fifth of Americans speak a language other than English at
c. Children who are raised bilingually often show language differences not seen in
children who are raised monolingually, such as interchanges between the syntax
and the vocabulary of the two languages they are learning.
d. This is called code-switching.
e. With simultaneous bilingualism, children acquire their two languages
6. Gender
a. Girls have an advantage over boys in language development.
b. Girls usually begin talking earlier than boys do and develop their vocabulary at a
7. Genetic Predisposition
a. Twin studies are one method researchers use to estimate the contribution of
genetics to language development, as well as the heritability of language
b. The results of one study involving 787 pairs of twins revealed that about 16% of
the variability in language ability in 4-year-old children could be attributed to
8. Language-Learning Environment
a. Although children bring biologically endowed abilities and propensities to the
language-learning task, the neural architecture that supports language acquisition
is an “open genetic program.”
b. The neural architecture is calibrated on the basis of input from the environment,
or the “actual evidence” children receive from the environment, concerning the
form, content, and use of the language or languages to which they are exposed.
c. The environmental aspects that seem to figure most prominently in the young
child’s language development are the quantity and quality of language
d. Quantity refers to the sheer amount of language a child experiences.
e. Quality refers to the characteristics of the language spoken in the child’s
caregiving environment: the types of words, the construction of sentences, the
intention of sentences, and the organization and specificity of stories.
B. Language Disorders
1. Children with language impairments show significant difficulties in the development
2. Heritable Language Impairment
a. Children with a heritable language impairment exhibit depressed language
3. Developmental Disability
a. Language disorder is considered to be secondary because it results from a primary
b. Common causes of a secondary language impairment include intellectual
disability and autism spectrum disorder.
d. One cause of intellectual disability is Down syndrome.
e. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an umbrella term describing a variety of
developmental conditions characterized by significant difficulties in social
relationships and communication with others, and restricted and repetitive
f. Current estimates of prevalence for ASD are that 1 in 68 children have ASD.
g. Children with ASD usually exhibit mild to profound secondary language
impairment, and some children never develop productive use of language.
4. Brain Injury
a. Brain injuries can occur in utero and perinatally or can be acquired brain
injuries, which occur after birth.
b. Brain injury resulting from physical trauma, particularly blunt trauma to the head,
is referred to as traumatic brain injury (TBI).
c. Annually, about 500,000 children aged 0-14 years in the U.S. experience TBI.
d. Causes of TBI in children include abuse, intentional harm, accidental poisoning
Beyond the Book:
1. Search the Internet for a video of a toddler in a conversation with his or her parent.
Prepare a transcript of all utterances the toddler produces. Classify each utterance
according to its primary purpose (see Table 1.1). What purposes occur most often? Least
3. Watch a video or live feed of a person being interviewed by a popular television
personality. During the interview, assess the types of linguistic, nonlinguistic, and
paralinguistic feedback the person provides. What types of feedback seem to characterize
this person?
4. Language is a rule-governed system. Communicating with friends via text-based systems,
such as text messaging, seem to have their own set of rules. What are some of these
rules? How did these rules come about and how do they spread?
Discussion Points:
Too many people in the world are without food. We need a solution to the global food-
shortage problem. Try to reason through a solution to this problem without using
language. Is it possible? Can an individual engage in complex reasoning without
Speech and language are independent processes, as the case of locked-in syndrome
illustrates. Can you think of other illustrations of the independence of speech and
With iconic communication, the relationship between the symbol used for
In the example of Adelaide’s language (in the text), she said the word wonned. What are
some possible explanations for this error?
To what other areas of development other than language does the concept of critical
period apply?
What English dialect do you speak? What dialects do your friends speak? To what extent
do these differences affect your communication with one another?
Fewer children are raised bilingually in the United States than in a number of other
countries. Why? Why might this trend change in the future?

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