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First Language Acquisition

First Language Acquisition

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First Language Acquisition

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  1. First Language Acquisition Lecture #16

  2. First Language Acquisition • Why do we call it language acquisition? • Learning • Intentional process • Presupposes teaching • Teacher controls pace • Acquisition • Unconscious process • Does not presuppose teaching • Child controls pace

  3. First Language Acquisition • How do nurture and nature interact in FLA? • Nature • Must have LAD—poverty of stimulus too great to learn without “language instinct” • All children learn a language; have language capacity • Overgeneralizations demonstrate child is analyzing language • Nurture • Children cannot acquire language without interaction/scaffolding • Children learn the language of their environment; through parents who model social interaction • Memorization of chunks by rote demonstrates not all info is anlayzed fully

  4. Four Pillars of FLA • Ability • Physiological • Cognitive • Interaction • Scaffolding (Caretaker speech) • Motivation • Internal vs. External • Instrumental vs. Integrative • Data • Forms • Meaning • Function • Targeted/limited vocab • Exaggerated intonation • Repetition • Questioning

  5. Critical Period Hypothesis • There is an ideal window of opportunity within which we are primed to acquire language: birth - puberty • Evidence? • Adults struggle to learn a second language (to a greater or lesser degree) • The question is why? • We struggle with both the physiological and the cognitive ability.

  6. Stages of First Language Acquisition • Prelinguistic Sounds • 0-1 mo. Sleep, eat, cry • 1 mo. Intonational patterns • 2-5 mos. Cooing stage • 5-12 mos. Babbling stage • One-word Stage (holophrastic) • 1 yr. emergence of first word (controversial) • 1 yr., 6 mos. Holophrastic stage • intonation layers on meaning • ‘fis’ phenomenon

  7. Stages of First Language Acquisition • Two-word Stage • 2 yrs. Two words, three possible interpretations • Subject-verb ‘Mary go.’ • Verb-modifier ‘Push truck.’ • Possessor-possesed ‘Mommy sock’ • Content words, no function words • Telegraphic Stage • 2 yrs., 6 mos. telegraphic stage • 2-5 words with little extra morphology • Morphological overgeneralization • Easier, more productive morphemes first

  8. Stages of First Language Acquisition • Telegraphic Stage, cont. • 2-5 yrs. More elaborate syntax • Learning 20-30 words per day • Semantic overgeneralization/ undergeneralization • Fine-tuning • 5-10 yrs. Refining grammar, building vocabulary • How children learn vocabulary: • Assign word to a broad semantic category • Work out distinctions among words in that category

  9. Building Vocabulary • Traditional efforts: • Flash cards • Look it up in the dictionary— what is the problem here? • Better to learn vocab in context: • Reading • Conversation • Language learning software How can you help your children develop their language skills the most?