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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
A Topical Approach toLIFE-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
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