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PSY 369: Psycholinguistics

PSY 369: Psycholinguistics

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PSY 369: Psycholinguistics

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  1. PSY 369: Psycholinguistics Language Acquisition

  2. Acquiring language • Student in my psycholinguistics course Dr. Cutting, language sure is complicated. How do you expect us to learn all this stuff?

  3. Acquiring language • Student in my psycholinguistics course Whadda’ ya mean, mommy. I can talk. I can understand what you say. What’s so hard? • 2 year old

  4. Acquiring language • Student in my psycholinguistics course • How do we (humans) do it? How do we learn to use this complex behavior? • 2 year old

  5. Overview • Some of the major issues • Imitation vs Innateness • Born to walk • Born to talk? • How much explicit teaching do we get? • Commonalities across languages and cultures • Language is complex everywhere • Sounds, words, syntax, and more • No primitive (simple) languages • Language development is similar everywhere • Similar stages

  6. Typical language development 6 Months • Responds to his name • Responds to human voices without visual cues by turning his head and eyes • Responds appropriately to friendly and angry tones

  7. Typical language development 12 Months • Uses one or more words with meaning (this may be a fragment of a word) • Understands simple instructions, especially if vocal or physical cues are given • Practices inflection • Is aware of the social value of speech

  8. Typical language development 18 Months • Has vocabulary of approximately 5-20 words • Vocabulary made up chiefly of nouns • Some echolalia (repeating a word or phrase over and over) • Is able to follow simple commands

  9. Typical language development 24 Months • Can name a number of objects common to his surroundings • Is able to use at least two prepositions • Combines words into a short sentence • Vocabulary of approximately 150-300 words • Volume and pitch of voice not yet well-controlled

  10. Typical language development 36 Months • Use pronouns I, you, me correctly • Is using some plurals and past tenses • Knows at least three prepositions • Handles three word sentences easily • Has in the neighborhood of 900-1000 words • About 90% of what child says should be intelligible • Verbs begin to predominate

  11. and the womb In the beginning… • Prelinguistic communication • We experience language before we’re even born What was that? You’re mumbling. • Normal human language uses sounds between 100 and 4000 Hz • Sound travels through skin and fluids too • In the womb, sounds up to 1000 Hz • Can’t hear individual words • But can hear: • Intonation, durations, rhythm, stress

  12. and the womb In the beginning… • Prelinguistic communication • We experience language before we’re even born • Mahler (mid 80’s, in France) • 4 day old babies • Nonnutritive sucking method • Played French or Russian • Sucking pattern changed if language was switched • Sucking pattern didn’t change if language wasn’t switched • Babies knew (something about) the languages

  13. Fetal heart monitor and the womb In the beginning… • Prelinguistic communication • We experience language before we’re even born • DeCasper, et al (1994)

  14. and the womb In the beginning… • Prelinguistic communication • We experience language before we’re even born • DeCasper, et al (1994) Fetal heart monitor • Had mothers read stories everyday to fetuses during 34-38 weeks of pregnancy • After 38th week, two stories were played to the fetuses (but mom couldn’t hear it) • Same story • Different story

  15. and the womb In the beginning… • Prelinguistic communication • We experience language before we’re even born • DeCasper, et al (1994) Fetal heart monitor • Had mothers read stories everyday to fetuses during 34-38 weeks of pregnancy • After 38th week, two stories were played to the fetuses (but mom couldn’t hear it) • Same story • Different story

  16. and the womb In the beginning… • Prelinguistic communication • We experience language before we’re even born • DeCasper, et al (1994) • Had mothers read stories everyday to fetuses during 34-38 weeks of pregnancy • After 38th week, two stories were played to the fetuses (but mom couldn’t hear it) Fetal heart monitor Decreased fetal heart-rate • Same story • Different story • Baby learned something about the story

  17. The early days • After birth • Prelinguistic communication • Child-directed speech (motherese) • Phonological differences are key • Higher in pitch • More variable in pitch • More exaggerated intonation • All may help to orient and maintain attention of infant • May help “bootstrap” later learning

  18. The early days • After birth • Prelinguistic communication • Early “conversations” • Turn taking behaviors • From the movie - breast feeding “conversations” • Parents interpret infant’s vocalizations as having meaning (also from the movie, Snow’s work)

  19. 100 % /ba/ 0 1 ... 3 … 5 … 7 The early days: phonology • Eimas et al, (1971) • Categorical perception in infants (1 month olds) Sharp phoneme boundary Young infants can distinguish different phonemes

  20. The early days: phonology • A number of studies suggest that very young infants can perceive between a number of phonemic distinctions (e.g., Kuhl & Meltzhoff, 1997) • Not limited to their language context • However, as they age/experience their context language the ability to perceive some of these distinctions are lost (~10 to 12 months) • Categorical perception in infants • Nature/nurture debate: • Are humans “pre-programmed” to distinguish speech sounds?

  21. We’re listening 1 ... 3 … 5 … 7 The early days: phonology • Eimas et al, (1971) • Categorical perception in infants (1 month olds) 100 Sharp phoneme boundary Chinchillas do it too! Kuhl and Miller (1975) % /ba/ Are they “pre-programmed to perceive human speech? 0

  22. Prelinguistic communication • Prelinguistic gestures (around 8 months) • Demonstration that the infant is trying to communicate in some way • e.g., pointing behaviors • Criteria • Waiting • Persistence • Development of alternative plans

  23. Early speech production • Vocal track differences Infant Adult • Infants vocal tracts are smaller, and initially shaped differently • The infant’s tongue fills the entire mouth, reducing the range of movement • As the facial skeleton grows, the range for movement increases (which probably contributes to the increased variety of sounds infants start to produce) • May be (in part) why production lags behind comprehension

  24. Early speech production • The progression of cooing and babbling follows a universal pattern. • Role of both nature and nurture • Nature/Biology plays an important role in theemergence of cooing & babbling. • The form of the child’s vocalization is also affected by the linguistic environment.

  25. Early speech production • 6 - 8 weeks: cooing • 4 - 6 months: babbling • The progression of cooing and babbling follows a universal pattern. • Babies, until around 6 months old, can produce sounds/phonemes that their parents cannot produce or distinguish • Clear consonants and vowels are produced • “da”, “gi”

  26. Early speech production • 6 - 8 weeks: cooing • 4 - 6 months: babbling • The progression of cooing and babbling follows a universal pattern. • Babies, until around 6 months old, can produce sounds/phonemes that their parents cannot produce or distinguish • 6 - 7 months: Reduplicated babbling • “dada”, “gigi”

  27. Early speech production • 6 - 8 weeks: cooing • 4 - 6 months: babbling • The progression of cooing and babbling follows a universal pattern. • Babies, until around 6 months old, can produce sounds/phonemes that their parents cannot produce or distinguish • 6 - 7 months: Reduplicated babbling • 8 - 9 months: CVC clusters may appear • “bod”, “tat”

  28. Early speech production • The progression of cooing and babbling follows a universal pattern. • Babies, until around 6 months old, can produce sounds/phonemes that their parents cannot produce or distinguish • 10 or 11 months: Variegated babbling • Combining “incomprehensible words” • “dab gogotah” • Intonation patterns • May reflect phonological rules of spoken language context • By 12 to 14 months some evidence of language specific phonological rules

  29. Early speech production Of course he said “arf.” What else did you expect his first word to be?

  30. 12 ms first words 2 yrs 200 words 3 yrs 1,000 words 6 yrs 15,000 words Language Sponges • Learning words • About 3,000 new words per year, especially in the primary grades • As many as 8 new words per day • Production typically lags behind comprehension

  31. Language Sponges • Lots of individual differences • But there is also a consistent pattern

  32. Vocabulary growth • Methods used to study this • Observational data (60s to present) • Diary studies • Parents record their kids language development • Taped language samples (Roger Brown) • Small numbers of children (Eve, Adam, Sarah) • Went to home every month made tape recordings • Extensive study needed • Hard to kids to “say all the words you know” or “say a question” • Early phonological production isn’t like adult production, often need to take great care deciding what the child meant • Large database CHILDES • Many kids, many languages, including children with language difficulties

  33. Early speech production • Transition to speech No. … my fis. No. My fis! This is your fis? Yes, my fis. Your fis? Oh, your fish.

  34. Early speech production • Transition to speech This is your fis? No, … my fis. • Can’t hear the difference? • Rejects adult saying fis • Can’t produce the correct sounds? • Sometimes, but evidence suggests not always the case • More general process of simplification • “frees up” resources for concentrating on other aspects of language learning Your fis. No, my fis. Oh, your fish. Yes, my fis.

  35. Early speech production • Transition to speech • Early words • Common Phonological processes • Reduction • Delete sounds from words • Coalescence • Combine different syllables into one syllable • Assimilation • Change one sound into a similar sound within the word • Reduplication • One syllable from a multi-syllabic word is repeated

  36. Early speech production • Developed in systematic ways • Sometimes simplifications of adult speech • Or relate to sounds of the objects • Demonstrate • Creative, not simply imitation • Learned importance of consistency of names • First words • Around 10-15 months (lots of individual differences) • Emergence of systematic, repeated productions of phonologically consistent forms • Idiomorphs - personalized words