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A Topical Approach to LIFE-SPAN DEVELOPMENT. Chapter Nine: Language Development. John W. Santrock. What is Language?. Defining language Form of communication, whether spoken, written, or signed, based on system of symbols

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A topical approach to life span development

Chapter Nine:

Language Development

John W. Santrock

What is language
What is Language?

  • Defining language

    • Form of communication, whether spoken, written, or signed, based on system of symbols

      • Infinite generativity: ability to produce an endless number of meaningful sentences using a finite set of words and rules

    • Genie, Wild Boy of Aveyron: raise questions about determinants of language

How language develops
How Language Develops

  • Infancy

    • Babbling, gestures, and other vocalizations

      • Crying present at birth

      • Cooing: occurs at 2 to 4 months of age

      • Babbling: begins at about 6 months of age

      • Gestures: begin 8 to 12 months of age

How language develops1
How Language Develops

  • Infants recognizing language sounds

    • “Citizens of the world”

    • Newborns recognize sound changes

    • Recognize own language sounds at 6 months

  • First words

    • Receptive exceeds spoken vocabulary

    • Timing of first word, vocabulary spurt varies

How language develops2
How Language Develops

  • Infants recognizing language sounds

    • Asian child learns verbs earlier than child learning English

    • Referential and expressive styles

    • Overextension and underextension of words

    • Two-word utterances (18-24 months of age)

    • Telegraphic speech

How language develops3
How Language Develops

  • Early childhood

    • Complex sentences at 2 to 3 years of age

    • Become more sensitive to language sounds; morphology rules, some overgeneralizations

    • Learn and apply syntax rules; auxillary-inversion rule takes longer

How language develops4
How Language Develops

  • Early childhood

    • Vocabulary development is dramatic to age 6

    • Fast mapping

      • Many hypotheses why this occurs

        • Give novel labels to novel objects

        • Use of mutual exclusivity

        • Benefit from hearing mature speakers

How language develops5
How Language Develops

  • SES is linked to language development

    • Welfare parents talk less to their children

      • Provide less elaboration

      • Talk less about past events

    • Maternal language and literacy skills positively related to child’s vocabulary; not talkativeness

      • Frequent pointing, gestures

      • Use of diverse vocabulary

How language develops6
How Language Develops

  • Advances in pragmatics

    • 6-year-old is better conversationalist

    • Young children start using extended discourse

      • Learn cultural rules, politeness, and become sensitive to adapting their speech to the setting

    • Age 4 to 5: can change speech style at will

      • More polite, formal when with adults

How language develops7
How Language Develops

  • Middle and late childhood

    • New skills learned when entering school

      • Alphabetic principle

      • Learning diverse uses of language, sounds

    • Vocabulary and grammar

      • Process of categorizing becomes easier

      • From age 6 to 11 — 14,000 to 40,000 words

      • Improved logical reasoning, analytic skills

How language develops8
How Language Develops

  • Middle and late childhood

    • Development of metalingusitic awareness

      • Knowledge about language; improves considerably during elementary school years

    • In adolescence: most know rules for appropriate language use

    • Child with large vocabulary learns to read easier

    • Vocabulary development linked to comprehension

How language develops9
How Language Develops

  • Middle and late childhood

    • Whole language approach

      • Instruction to parallel child’s natural language

      • Learning; reading should be whole, meaningful

    • Basic-skills-and-phonics approach

      • Instruction should teach phonics and its basic rules

      • Reading should involve simplified materials

How language develops10
How Language Develops

  • Middle and late childhood

    • Writing

      • 2- to 3-year-olds emerge from scribbling to begin printing letters

      • Most 4-year-olds can print their names; most 5-year-olds can reproduce letters, words

        • Reversed letters are normal

        • Adults should encourage early writing

How language develops11
How Language Develops

  • Middle and late childhood

    • Years of practice needed for good writing

      • Linked to cognitive and language skills

    • Concerns about students’ writing competence

      • Grades 4 to 12: about 70% are low-achieving

      • High school grads: 50% not ready for college-level writing

      • Good writing results from good teaching efforts

How language develops12
How Language Develops

  • Bilingualism and second language learning

    • Sensitive periods vary across different language systems

      • Native-like accent best learned before age 12

      • Adults learn faster than children, attainment not as high as children’s

      • U.S. students lag behind students in developed countries in learning a second language

      • United States: many miss out on benefits of bilingualism

How language develops13
How Language Develops

  • Adolescence

    • Increased use and understanding of

      • Sophisticated words

      • Analysis and abstract thinking

      • Metaphors: implied comparison of unlike things

      • Satire: use of irony, derision, or wit to expose folly or wickedness

How language develops14
How Language Develops

  • Adolescence

    • Much better at organizing ideas and writing

      • Dialect: variety of language distinguished by vocabulary, grammar, or pronunciation

        • Adolescent dialect with peers often uses jargon or slang

        • Usually used to indicate group membership

How language develops15
How Language Develops

  • Adulthood and aging

    • Distinct personal linguistic style is part of identity

    • Vocabulary often continues to increase throughout adult years until late adulthood

      • Most common complaint: retrieving words, hard to hear in less than ideal listening conditions

      • Tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon

    • Non-language factors may be cause of decline in language skills in older adults

Biological and environmental influences
Biological and Environmental Influences

  • Biological influences

    • Evolution and the brain’s role in language

      • Human language acquired 100,000 years ago

      • Specific brain regions predisposed to language

      • Wernicke’s area: inbrain’s left hemisphere involved in language comprehension

Biological and environmental influences1
Biological and Environmental Influences

  • Biological influences

    • Broca’s area: in brain’s left frontal lobe involved in speech production

      • If damaged — fluent incomprehensible speech produced

    • Aphasia: language disorder resulting from

      brain damage; loss of ability to use words

Biological and environmental influences2
Biological and Environmental Influences

  • Chomsky

    • Humans biologically prewired for language

    • Language acquisition device (LAD): biological endowment to detect features, rules of language

    • Theoretical, not physical part of brain

    • Evidence of uniformity in language milestones across languages and cultures

Biological and environmental influences3
Biological and Environmental Influences

  • Environmental influences

    • Behavioral View

      • Language is reinforced chain of responses; a complex skill that is learned

    • Criticisms

      • Cannot explain creation of novel sentences

      • Children learn syntax of native language without reinforcement

    • No longer considered a viable explanation

Biological and environmental influences4
Biological and Environmental Influences

  • Environmental influences

    • Interaction view

      • Children interested in their social world

      • Child-directed speech: higher pitch for attention

      • Parents, older children modify their speech

      • Other strategies:

        • Recasting, Expanding, Labeling

Biological and environmental influences5
Biological and Environmental Influences

  • An interactionist view of language

    • Language has strong biological foundations

    • Acquisition influenced by experiences; enriched environments have more positive effect

    • Worldwide: language milestones reached about the same time

    • Children acquire native language without explicit teaching; some without encouragement

Biological and environmental influences6
Biological and Environmental Influences

  • An interactionist view of language

    • Bruner: stresses roles of parents and teachers help construct language acquisition support system (LASS)

      • Sociocultural context is extremely important in understanding children’s language development

      • Resembles Vygotsky’s ZPD