theories and models of language
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Theories and Models of Language. Oral Language and Written Language. “Reading seems to depend on a set of language processes that are common to both reading and listening.” (Daneman, 1991, p.56)” …internally reading and auding are the same language (Sticht & James, 1984, p. 303).

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oral language and written language
Oral Language and Written Language
  • “Reading seems to depend on a set of language processes that are common to both reading and listening.” (Daneman, 1991, p.56)”
  • …internally reading and auding are the same language (Sticht & James, 1984, p. 303).
definition of oral language
Definition of Oral Language
  • Primary means of human communication
  • A system for representing human thought
  • Use of abstract symbols (sounds) to represent concepts
  • Use of a finite number of sounds to create an infinite number of words
  • Involves genetic and environmental bases
  • Acquired through active participation: listening, speaking, evaluating responses
language and thought possibilities
Language and Thought: Possibilities
  • Thought depends on language
  • Language depends on thought
  • Language and thought are interactive
components of language
Components of Language
  • Phonology
  • Morphology
  • Syntax
  • Semantics
  • Pragmatics
the sounds of language phonology
The Sounds of Language: Phonology
  • The English language has 44 sounds represented in writing by only 26 letters: cough, tough, bough, through, though
  • Linguists categorize sounds by the place and manner of articulation.
speech production
Speech Production
  • We push air from the lungs up through the vocal tract and manipulate:
      • Vibration of vocal cords
      • Raising the velum (air is forced through the mouth) and lowering the velum (some air escapes through the nose)
      • Stopping or impeding the air flow
      • /p/ /t/ /k/ /m/
  • Morphemes are units of meaning.
  • A word may contain one or more morphemes: hunt; hunts; hunted; hunter; hunters.
  • Morphemes can be free (cat) or bound (s, ing, ed).
  • The same morpheme can carry multiple meanings in English: cats, wants.
  • Syntax refers to sentence construction.
  • The vyakum flannered down the quettiful voth with maggle tome. Despite zathers, Cneb ackered the sestuaga and planella. He iffered and hathered for bromes and bromes.
  • Word Meaning: Fat, rich, soft, suet, weighty
  • Word Choice: Fat, plump, overweight, chunky, chubby, stout, obese
  • Word Combinations: fat cat, fat of the land, chew the fat; fat farm; fat chance; fat wallet; fat lip
  • “For pity’s sake, will you shut up so I can get a word in edgewise?”
  • “Excuse me for interrupting but I really need to offer a comment.”
  • “Stuff it!”
units of language
Units of Language
  • Phoneme
  • Syllable
  • Morpheme
  • Word
  • Phrase
  • Clause
  • Sentence
  • Genre or discourse
communicative competence
Communicative Competence
  • Grammatical competence: Word formation; word meaning; pronunciation; sentence formation
  • Pragmatic or sociolinguistic competence: Producing and understanding language in different contexts; considering factors as participants, purposes and conventions of the interaction
communicative competence1
Communicative Competence
  • Discourse Competence: Combining linguistic units into meaningful wholes
  • Strategic Competence: manipulating language to achieve goals; use of gestures and voice tone
language functions
Language Functions
  • Instrumental
  • Regulatory
  • Interactional
  • Personal
  • Imaginative
  • Heuristic
  • Informative
  • Metalinguistic
how children learn language skinner
How Children Learn LanguageSkinner
  • Language is a set of associations learned through relating a stimulus to a response
  • Language is learned through imitation, practice and reinforcement
  • Criticized because of low rate of parental reinforcement; attention to accuracy as opposed to grammatical correctness and low use of imitation in children
how children learn language chomsky
How Children Learn Language Chomsky
  • Language is innate and part of biological makeup: LAD
  • Each language has a limited set of basic sentence structures and transformations of these structures
  • Speed of language development would be impossible without innate structures
how children learn language phonology
How Children Learn Language: Phonology
  • Emerges without teaching
  • Learning to make sounds occurs before learning to make words
    • Sounds are learned in a pattern
  • The first stage in babbling or spontaneous vocalizing
how children learn language morphology
How Children Learn Language: Morphology
  • Learn irregular forms: came, men, mice,feet
  • Overgeneralize to other words: camed, mens, mices, feets
  • Learn rules and relearn exceptions
how children learn syntax
How Children Learn Syntax
  • One word stage
  • Two word stage
  • Telegraphic stage
how children learn vocabulary
How Children Learn Vocabulary
  • Overextension and underextension
  • Age I year, 8 months: 50 words
  • Age 5: 15/20 words per day
  • Age 8: 18,000 basic words
language myths
Language Myths
  • Some languages are simpler and easier to learn
  • Some languages are primitive
  • Some dialects are better than others
  • Some languages are superior to others
language myths1
Language Myths
  • Other people have accents
  • Language should be correct
  • Children learn languages more easily than adults
  • English spelling is irregular and idiosyncratic ghoti = fish
two theoretical perspectives
Two Theoretical Perspectives
  • Cognitive Science Perspective
  • Sociocultural Perspective
cognitive science perspective
Cognitive Science Perspective
  • An empirically based effort to answer questions concerned with the nature of knowledge, its components, its development and its use.
  • The individual is regarded as a processor of environmental input.
cognitive science perspective1
Cognitive Science Perspective
  • There is little innate higher knowledge.
  • Lower level learning mechanisms lead to higher level concepts and behavior.
  • Cognitive science focuses on the processes individuals use to make sense of and integrate information.
sociocultural perspective
Sociocultural Perspective
  • Human knowledge is embedded in social and physical contexts and cannot be examined in decontextualized manner.
  • Social experience plays a critical role in the development of language and literacy.
contrasting perspectives
Contrasting Perspectives

Cognitive Science

  • Learning: acquisition
  • Capability: skill
  • Mind: rational
  • Unit of Analysis: the individual


  • Learning: participation
  • Capability: practice
  • Mind: evaluative
  • Unit of Analysis: social participation in context
contrasting perspectives language
Contrasting Perspectives Language

Cognitive Science

  • Interest in grammar
  • Stress on complex rule systems and cognitive constraints
  • Word meaning analyzed as components features


  • Interest in meaning and pragmatics
  • Stress on social dynamics
  • Context analyzed in determining meaning
contrasting perspectives language1
Contrasting Perspectives Language

Cognitive Science

  • Language is a knowledge system that must be acquired by means of a processing system.


  • Language is a system of social and cultural practices into which a child must be socialized.
study team digestion time
Study Team Digestion Time
  • What were the most important new concepts that you learned?
  • What did you find interesting, controversial, confusing, alarming, comforting, etc.?
  • Be prepared to share with the class.