Linguistics Chapter 5 Infancy Let The Language Achievements Begin Learning Outcomes Identify Major Languagedevelopment

Document Type
Homework Help
Book Title
Language Development From Theory to Practice 3rd Edition
Khara L. Pence Turnbull, Laura M. Justice
Chapter 5: Infancy Let the Language Achievements Begin
Learning Outcomes:
1. Identify major language-development milestones that occur in infancy.
3. Describe major achievements in language form, content, and use that characterize
5. Describe how researchers and clinicians measure language development in infancy.
I. What Major Language-Development Milestones Occur in Infancy?
A. Infant Speech Perception
1. Infants’ speech perception ability their ability to devote attention to the prosodic
2. Attention to Prosodic Regularities
a. The prosodic characteristics of speech include the frequency, or pitch, of sounds;
the duration, or length of sounds; and the intensity, or loudness of sounds.
b. Combinations of these prosodic characteristics produce distinguishable stress and
3. Attention to Phonetic Regularities
a. The phonetic details of speech include phonemes, or speech sounds, and
combinations of phonemes.
b. As infants receive more and more exposure to the phonemes of their native
language, they develop categorical perception abilities that are crucial for speech
4. Categorical Perception of Speech
a. As language users, our perception of speech is categorical, which means we
categorize input in ways that highlight differences in meaning.
b. Variations of sounds in the same category are called allophones of the same
c. Voice onset time is the interval between the release of a stop consonant and the
onset of vocal cord vibrations.
B. Awareness of Actions and Intentions
1. By age 4 months, infants can distinguish between purposeful and accidental actions,
2. Over the first year, infants learn to view human actions as goal-directed, meaning
3. Infants’ awareness of movement and understanding of the goals underlying actions
C. Category Formation
1. The ability of infants ages 3-9 months to form categories predicts both their general
2. Hierarchical Structure of Categories
a. Research results support the idea that object category formation is hierarchical
and includes three levels: superordinate, subordinate, and basic.
b. The superordinate level is the uppermost level in a category hierarchy.
3. Basic Categories at Each Hierarchical Level
a. Perceptual Categories
Infants form perceptual categories on the basis of similar-appearing features,
including color, shape, texture, size, and so forth.
D. Early Vocalizations
1. By 5 months of age, infants learn that their noncry vocalizations elicit reactions from
2. Infants follow a fairly predictable pattern in their early use of vocalizations.
3. Researchers who study early vocalizations often classify these sounds according to a
4. One such stage model is the Stark Assessment of Early Vocal Development
5. The SAEVD-R includes 23 types of vocalizations grouped into five distinct
developmental levels.
a. Reflexive (0-2 months)
Reflexive sounds include sounds of discomfort and distress (crying, fussing)
and vegetative sounds such as burping, coughing, and sneezing.
sounds such as nasalized sounds as well as “raspberries,” trills, and clicks.
c. Expansion (3-8 months)
Infants gain more control over the articulators and begin to produce isolated
vowel sounds, as well as vowel glides (e.g., “eeeey”).
d. Basic canonical syllables (5-10 months)
In this stage, infants begin to produce single consonant-vowel syllables.
Canonical babbling also emerges at this stage, and it differs from earlier
vocalizations in that the infant produces more than two C-V syllables in a
e. Advanced forms (9-18 months)
In the more advanced stage of early vocalizations, infants begin to produce
diphthongs, which are combinations of two vowel sounds within the same
E. Additional Milestones
1. Milestones involve a series of incremental developments in the first year rather than
all-or-nothing capabilities.
II. What Are Some of the Early Foundations For Language Development?
A. During infancy, the quality and quantity of the input infants receive, as well as the types
of social interactions in which they engage, form important early foundations for
language development.
B. Infant-Directed Speech
2. IDS falls within the broader umbrella of child-directed speech (CDS).
4. Paralinguistic features of IDS, or those that describe the manner of speech outside
5. Syntactic characteristics of IDS include a shorter mean length of utterance (MLU),
fewer subordinate clauses, and more content words versus function words.
7. IDS appears to serve a host of special purposes.
9. IDS also aids in communicating emotion and speakers’ communicative intent.
11. IDS also highlights content words, articles, and places these words on exaggerated
pitch peaks at the ends of utterances, where infants are likely to remember them.
13. The rhythm of IDS is marked by the presence of reliable acoustic correlates of both
C. Joint Reference and Attention
1. Adamson and Chance (1998) proposed that infancy comprises three major
developmental phases with respect to joint reference and attention.
3. Adults support infants’ expressions in each phase until infants can independently
master components of the social exchange.
4. Phase 1: Attendance to Social Partners (Birth to Age 6 Months)
a. In these early months of life, infants value and participate in interpersonal
interactions, learning how to maintain attention and be “organized” within
5. Phase 2: Emergence and Coordination of Joint Attention (Age 6 Months to 1 Year)
a. In the second phase, infants begin to take more interest in looking at and
manipulating the objects around them.
b. Joint attention is the simultaneous engagement of two or more individuals in
mental focus on a single external object of attention.
e. The extent to which mothers use strategies to redirect their infant’s attention is
negatively related to an infant’s ability to engage in sustained attention.
f. In the absence of joint attention, infants may miss out on word-learning
opportunities as their parents and caregivers label objects and events for them.
g. Before infants can use cues to infer another person’s intentions, they must possess
intersubjective awareness, or the recognition of when one person shares a
mental focus on some external object or action with another person.
h. Intentional communication refers to infants’ attempts to deliberately communicate
with other people.
i. Indicators of intentionality include the following: The infant alternates eye gaze
between an object and a communicative partner; the infant uses ritualized
gestures, such as pointing; and the infant persists toward goals by repeating or
modifying his or her gestures when communicative attempts fail.
j. Intentional communication begins to emerge around age 8-10 months.
6. Phase 3: Transition to Language (Age 1 Year and Beyond)
a. In the third phase children begin to incorporate language into their communicative
interactions with other people.
D. Daily Routines of Infancy
1. Routines, such as feeding, bathing, dressing, and diaper changing, provide many
parents feed them.
3. By hearing words and phrases repeatedly, infants become attuned to where pauses
5. Routines also allow opportunities to engage in episodes of joint attention with their
E. Caregiver Responsiveness
1. Caregiver responsiveness describes caregivers’ attention and sensitivity to infants’
vocalizations and communicative attempts.
2. Caregivers who provide consistent, contingent, and appropriate responses to their
3. More responsive maternal language input is linked even more so than infants’ own
5. Waiting and listening
7. Joining in and playing
9. Using a variety of questions and labels
11. Expanding and extending
III. What Major Achievements in Language Form, Content, and Use Characterize Infancy?
A. Language Form
1. With regard to phonology, infants begin to produce sounds as soon as they are born.
3. Infants rapidly move to produce other nonspeech reflexive sounds, such as coughing,
followed by speech-like vocalizations, over the first year.
4. With regard to morphology and syntax, because infants to not produce their first word
6. However, they can typically understand some multiword utterances by age 1 year,
particularly those they have heard many times.
B. Language Content
1. On average, infants produce their first true word around age 12 months.
3. Researchers consider an infant’s vocalization to be a true word if it meets three
important criteria.
5. Second, infants must produce true words with recognizable pronunciation that
C. Language Use
2. Attention seeking to self
4. Requesting objects
6. Requesting information
8. Transferring
10. Responding or acknowledging
11. Informing
IV. What Factors Contribute to Infants’ Individual Achievements in Language?
A. Intraindividual Differences
2. Three factors account for the fact that language comprehension most often precedes
language production.
3. First, whereas language comprehension requires that people retrieve words from their
5. However, language production requires the speaker to search for words, organize
them, and place stress where it is required.
7. However, in terms of production, children must construct a match between the
intended referent and language to express meaning.
B. Interindividual Differences
1. Some children develop language more quickly than others.
3. Certain children fall at either end of the continuum for language development and are
late talkers or early talkers.
4. Variation in Language-Development Rate
5. Variation in Language-Learning Styles
a. Expressive language learners use language primarily for social exchanges.
6. Variation at the Extremes of the Typical Range for Language Development
a. Late Talkers
Late talkers are children who exhibit early delays in their expressive language
One common definition considers children to be late talkers if they produce
fewer than 50 words by age 2.
About 13.4% of the general population are late talkers.
Males are about three times more likely to be late talkers than females, and
infants who are born earlier than 37 weeks’ gestation, or who are less than
b. Early Talkers
Early talkers are children who are ahead of their peers in expressive language
Early talkers are children between ages 11 and 21 months who score in the top
V. How Do Researchers and Clinicians Measure Language Development in Infancy?
A. Researchers
2. Habituation-Dishabituation Tasks
a. Habituation of an infant consists of presenting the same stimulus repeatedly until
his or her attention to the stimulus decreases by a predetermined amount.
3. Switch Task
a. The switch task is a technique used in conjunction with habituation.
b. During the habituation phase, infants see numerous pairings of different stimuli
until their looking time decreases by a predetermined amount.
4. Intermodal Preferential Looking Paradigm
a. In the intermodal preferential looking paradigm (IPLP), an infant sits on a
blindfolded parent’s lap approximately 3 feet from a television screen.
b. The infant watches a split-screen presentation in which one stimulus is on the left
5. Naturalistic Observation
a. Naturalistic observation involves systematically observing and analyzing an
6. Neuroimaging Technologies
a. First are methods that measure changes in the brain’s electrical activity, such as
event-related potential (ERP) and magnetoencephalography (MEG).
b. Second are methods that measure changes in the brain’s blood flow
B. Clinicians
1. In some instances, clinicians do examine infants’ language skills.
2. Such examinations may be necessary for infants born with developmental disabilities
3. Informal Language Screens
4. Parent-Report Measures
a. Not only is having parents report directly on their infant’s development a quick
Beyond the Book:
1. Take a look at an alphabet book for young children and classify the pictures
corresponding to each letter (e.g., A=apple, B=ball) as referring to either a superordinate-
level term, a basic-level term, or a subordinate-level term. What type of category has the
largest representation in the alphabet book? Is this consistent with the types of words
infants generally learn first?
2. Using the Web, search for a video of an infant vocalizing. Analyze the vocalizations
3. Compile a list of your own first words (with help from your parents or caregivers) as well
4. Using the CHILDES Web site, listen to an adult interacting with an infant and document
the paralinguistic, syntactic, and discourse features of infant-directed speech you hear.
5. Search for one video of an infant using declarative pointing and another video of an
infant using imperative pointing. How can you tell the difference between the two forms
Discussion Points:
What regularities in language might you rely on when studying a foreign language (as an
adult) to isolate meaningful units from continuous speech?
Consider the verbs to chase and to flee. How might an understanding of the goals
underlying the actions help an infant distinguish between the two?
Besides age, SES, and the quantity of adult talk, what other factors do you think might
predict some of the remaining variance among infants in the number of words they
produce or in the number they comprehend?
The high-amplitude nonnutritive sucking procedure relies on behaviorist principles
(which are empiricist, or nurture-inspired), yet researchers argue that children
demonstrate innate (or nature-inspired) language abilities during such experiments. How
do you explain this relationship or discrepancy?

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