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Semantics

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Semantics

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  1. Semantics Semantic Feature IS Categorization = CHUNKING = Cognitive Ability • Definition • Semantic/Cognitive Theories • Semantic Progression • Assessment • Word Classes Semantic Knowledge = WORLD & WORD KNOWLEDGE

  2. Semantics' origin • Etymology: Greek “semaino, ” to signify or mean • World knowledge refers to an individual’s autobiographical and experiential understanding and memory of particular events • Word knowledge contains word and symbol definitions

  3. First Word Characteristics • Progression: • Preverbal • PCF (phonetically Consistent Forms • Holophrases • Syllable Shape • one or two syllables • Syllable construction: CV, CVCV (reduplicated), CVCV, some VC constructions (up, eat) • Most frequent words name animals foods and toys • First word usually marks a specific object or event • Initial lexical growth is slow • Child may appear to plateau for short periods • At center of child’s lexical core is a small core of high-usage words

  4. Characteristics of First 50 wordsHolophrases- one word utterances • Nelson’s research • Grammatical Classification • Nominals 65%, • General 51% milk, car, dog • Specific 14% mima, “Tiger” • Action Words 14% give, do, up • Modifiers 9% , mine, no, dirty • Personal-Social 9%, no, please, more • Functional 4%, this, for

  5. Features f Adult Speech influencing A child’s Semantic development • When Western, middle class children are noticed attempting to say a word, parents engage them in naming games • parent points to and names specific object for child and then helps child say them • Names parents provide are typically superordinate categorical names • EXAMPLE:item: nickel- parent names it: money • names chosen follow basic level categories • similarities within categories are emphasized • most general level at which objects are similar because of form, function, or motion

  6. A Child’s Semantic StrategiesBootstrapping, Scaffolding, and Mapping EXPLAINS EXPONENTIAL INCREASES IN CHILD’S VOCABULARY • 1. Bootstrapping • definition: process of learning language in which the child uses what is known to decode more mature language • semantic bootstrapping-the analysis of syntax based on semantic structures previously acquired • Example: persons and things= nouns, actions=verbs, attributives=adjectives • syntactic bootstrapping-the use of syntactic structures to deduce word meaning • Both are complementary processes

  7. 2. Scaffolding • Scaffolding • definition: a supportive linguistic/communicative context supplied by a more mature language user to younger children • more mature language user MODELS and structures child’s learning experience to acquire new cognitive or linguistic skill/s • similar to Vygotsky’s Zone Of Proximal Development • based on Vygotsky’s language as social interaction

  8. 3. Mapping • Fast Mapping • definition: the child’s ability to form an initial hypothesis about a word’s meaning quickly, after hearing the word once or twice. • Child uses bootstrapping strategies • Child uses scaffolding strategies • helps explain why children exposed to larger amounts of adult input develop larger, richer vocabularies than children exposed to more limited input

  9. Semantics/Cognitive Theories • 1. Initial Lexicon Acquisition • 1. Prototypic • 2. Functional Core • 3. Semantic Feature • 2. Lexical Use • 1. Underextension • 2. Overextension • 3. Isomorphic

  10. Prototypic • Who: Bowerman • What: underlying concept includes a central reference. Highly specific • ‘Best Fit’ Criterion • Tenants: • 1. initial protoypes vary across children, reflecting different experiences • 2 concepts are modified as a result of experience, • Adaptation? • 3. Word’s referent is grouped with other referents having similar features • 4“Holistic inclusion” • Pro/Con • 2. Functional Core

  11. Functional Core • Who:Nelson • What:Concept formation begins with the formation of a functional-core meaning • Tenants • Child begins to name objects that embody a high degree of movement or that can be manipulated • Corresponds to Piaget’s notion of ‘learning through exploration’ • Describes entities use in relation to other entities • Uses dynamic perceptual features and logical features/acts • Pro/Con

  12. Semantic Feature • Who: Eve Clark • What: all referents can be defined by a universal set of semantic features • Tenants: • definable features are the attributes of the referent: size, shape, movement, color, taste, smell, hearing, etc. • shape is the most salient of the perceptual features • color is not particularly important to young children • Pro/Con: • Con • fails to explain the holistic nature of meaning • fails to discriminate between features to determine the most relevant • can’t explain non-object concepts such as more, all gone, up • Pro • strategies more mature language learners utilize • assessment item: categories

  13. Cogntive/Semantic Issues • Conceptual Schemata • Overextenions • Underextension • Isomorphic- invented words

  14. Semantic Class Distinctions • Substantive and Relational Words • Substantive • refer to specific entities or classes of entities that have shared perceptual or functional features • typically agents (people) objects (things) • Relational Words

  15. Substantive and Relational Words, R1 • Relational Words • Definition: refers to the relations that an entity shares with itself or with other entities • makes reference across entities • Types • Reflexive Relational Words-mark existence, nonexistence, disappearance, recurrence • this, here, gone, another, more • Action Relational Words -ways in which different objects from the different concepts relate to one another through movement or actions • protoverbs; first action type words or words used on an action-like context

  16. Relational Terms #2 • Location Relation Terms:describe the directional or spatial relationship of two objects • Types: • existence: ex. This , that • nonexistence: no, gone • disappearance: gone, all gone, away • recurrence: more, again, another • Possession Relational Words: recognize an object is associated with a particular person • initially marks alienable possessions: food, clothing, and toys • Attribution Relational Words: mark attributes, characteristics or differences • usually adjectives

  17. Acquisition Progression • Progression both Receptive and Expressive • Label (lexicon) • Function (what it does, do with a .....) • Attributes/Definition (Semantic Feature) • Categories (Schemes for ‘big people’) • Superordinate/Subordinate • Inclusion/Exclusion

  18. Order of Acquisition • 1. Initial words may be PURE PERFORMATIVES-word itself performs the act • 2. Followed by • nomination of substantive words • existence • nonexistence disappearance • recurrence • negation • 3. Followed by the Action Function coincident with the Agent, Object functions for substantive words

  19. Semantic Assessment • Possible to Assess both Formally or Descriptively • 1. Formal • Receptive • Format: objects or pictures (color or line drawings) • Point to by label or function • Expressive • Name • Function: Tell me you do with a car? • Describe: Tell me all you can about a bird • Categorize: “Tell me as many _______as you can

  20. Semantic Assessment continued • Descriptive Assessment • Language Sample • Type/Token Ratio= % of occurrence for a class • Nouns 51% • Verbs 40% • Class Analysis • Analysis of Adjectives by type: quantity/quality

  21. Word Class Analysis • Word Classes • Nouns • proper/common • single, plurals, mass • Verbs • transitive/transitive • Adjectives • quality/quantity • Adverbs • Conjunctions • intent: causal, conditional, disjunctive, temporal • Pronouns • Other

  22. 6 Types of Pronouns • Personal • Subjective: I, we, they, it, that • Objective: me, us, them, it, that • Negative • no one, no body, • Deictic • this, that, these, those, it • Reflexive • himself, herself, themselves • Possessives • mine, yours, ours • Relative Pronouns • The girl who kicked all the goals, is my friend.

  23. Pronoun ‘linguistic’ facts • 1.General Sequence Acquisition • Subjective -Objective-Possessive-Reflexive-Negative-Relative • In general, for personal pronoun acquisition: subjective before objective • 2. Learning Strategies from Haas and Owens • when in doubt, use a noun • look for regularity-explains child’s rules • her/hers--him/hims • simplify complex pronominal forms • reflexives: yourself-(becomes) you • use previously learned pronominal forms to aid in production of unlearned forms • 3. By age 5, most children have mastered all pronouns except reflexives

  24. Adjectives • Organized by • Quantity • more,some • Ordinal Numbers 1,2,3, • Cardinal Numbers First, Second, • Quality • Color • Size • Shape • Texture • Taste • Length

  25. Teaching Adjectives • Teach the Positive term first • more-less • big-little • tall-short • Child does not need to know the opposite to learn the ‘positive’ term • Adjective (modifier) use begins at telegraphic level • There is an arbitrary word order for strings of adjectives • different classes of adjectives have different position based on a complex rule system • words are: the………monster wasn’t chasing me! scary, big, muddy

  26. Questions • 1. How do you define semantics? • 2. What are the 3 theories attempting to explain initial semantic development? Which one appeals to you? • 3. What is the difference between substantive and relational words? • 4. What are the different types of pronouns? Which is the ‘hardest to teach? • 5. How are adjectives divided? Is this division beneficial for writing IEP’s • 6. What are the types of conjunctions? • 7. What are the measurements used in a Descriptive Semantic Assessment? • 8. What is the semantic acquisition progression? Why is this critical knowledge in language therapy? • 9. What is an example of superordinate and subordinate categories? • 10 What is an example of inclusion/exclusion?

  27. End of Notes