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Terms in this set (57)
• Is a claim or hypothesis that us repeatedly tested with an array of scientific methods; when the accumulate evidence consistently supports a given theory throughout time.
• In the area of language development, theories provide explanations for how and why children develop their capacity for language across the different domains.
o Science is the process of generating and testing theories
• Researchers who study language development use the scientific method to examine the adequacy of theories on the "now" and "why" of language development and to generate new theories.
o Therefore, theories provide the foundation for scientific studies, and the outcomes of scientific studies help experts refine and even replace their theories with time
Who studies language development and why?
• In the 21st century
o Researchers are from many disciplines, including psychology, linguistics, psycholinguistics, anthropology, speech language pathology, education, and sociology.
• It focuses primarily on generating and refining the existing knowledge base.
• Advance fundamental understanding of human learning and development
• Experts develop test, and refine theories about language development. When the outcome of basic research consistently confirm a theory, which becomes an accepted explanatory principle.
• Saylor and Sabbagh (2004)
o How children learn new words
• Building connections between theory and practice called use-inspired basic research addresses useful application of research findings.
• Charity, Scarborough, and Griffin (2004)
o Studied the language skills of African American children ages 5-8 and considered how children's familiarity with the English dialect used in their school
o Children who were familiar with School English performed better on measures of reading achievement than children who were less familiar with school English.
• Civil rights issues and sociolinguistics concerns differential treatment of personas because of their language or dialect.
• Purrel, Idsardi, and Baugh (1999)
o Speech characteristics and housing discrimination.
• People typically conduct applied research to test different approaches and practices that pertain to real-world settings.
• Contrivutes to specific societal needs by testing the viability of certain practices and approaches (Stokes, 1997)
• It typically involves using experimental research designs to examine the casual the relationship between a specific approach program, or practice and a specific language outcome.
• Three main contexts:
Home, school, clinic
these researchers examine the effectiveness of specific practices of approaches parents; can use to help their children develop language during home activities
o Clinical Settings
applied researchers examine the effectiveness of different approaches that clinical professionals, such as speech-language pathologists and clinical psychologists, may use with specific populations of patients
applied researchers examine the effectiveness of different approaches that educators may use in the classroom to build children's language skills.
Goals of speech perception studies
• Speech perception studies help researchers learn about the kinds of language abilities infants have when they are born and how children use their speech perception to learn a language
Methods for Studying Speech Perception
• Decades as a result of a range of technological advances, one of which is digitization.
o Researchers who study speech perception typically present auditory stimuli to participants and measure their response to the stimuli.
o With digital technologies, researchers have an important tool for preserving media, for ensuring high quality presentations of auditory stimuli, and for allowing fine manipulation of the stimuli.
• While infants are still in the womb, scientists can measure their heart rates and kicking rates as a response to different auditory stimuli and examine
o e.g. the extent to which infants differentiate speech sounds from nonspeech sounds
o Head-turn Preference Procedure
• Speech perception researchers have also long relied on behavioral testing, in which children or adults respond by speaking, pointing, or pressing buttons in response to different speech stimuli.
o An important complement to behavior testing is newer brain-imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Language and thought
• Language production
studies help informs practitioners of children ability to use language expressively.
o Researchers examine children's emergent form, content, and use capabilities
• Normative research
which experts compile data from individuals on a certain aspect of language development and from these data determine and chart the ages (or grades) by which children typically meet certain milestones.
• Observational studies
Researchers examine a children's language use in naturalistic or semi structured contexts, usually by using a tape recorder or another audio recording device to capture children's language for a certain period.
o Naturalistic settings-
• The researcher does not manipulate the context.
o Semistructured settings
• Researchers manipulate in some way the environment in which they are observing children's language form, content, and use.
• Experimental studies
differ from observational studies in that the researchers actively manipulates variables of interest.
o Experimental studies of language production vary widely and are used to examine many aspects of production, including vocabulary, morphology, syntax, phonology, and pragmatics.
o Pseudowords (nonsense words)
o Repeat sentences
o Researchers may also ask children to correct erroneous sentences as another way to gauge their ability to produce more complex grammatical structures.
• Language comprehension
studies specifically tap into what children understand about language, and with the assistance of some creative research paradigms, experts can measure children's language comprehension even before the children speak their first word.
Questions that should be answered by language theories
• How children go about learning their native language
• Researchers are interested in theories to build on knowledge about language development as a uniquely human phenomenon that is remarkable for various reasons.
o Practitioners are interested in language development to better help children and adults who may have difficulties with such development.
• Some theories address specific language accomplishments, such as word learning or question formation
o Focus on language development at particular ages or in the context of specific disabilities
o General to provide an explanation on language development is an important consideration.
• We consider an adequate theory to provide some type of explanation for each question:
1. What do infants bring to the task of language learning?
2. What mechanisms drive language acquisition?
3. What types of input support the language- learning system?
What do infants bring to the Task of Language Learning?
• Some theorists propose that infants arrive in the world essentially preprogrammed to acquire language.
• Infants learn language through their experience and that they are not born with innate language capabilities.
• Nature versus nurture debate
• Nativist empiricist debate
What mechanisms drive language acquisition?
• Processes people use to learn language are domain specific, or dedicated solely to the tasks of comprehending and producing language.
• People use processes for learning language that are domain general, or the same as those used in other situations, such as solving problems and perceiving objects and events in the environment.
What types of Input Support the Language-learning System?
• Some theorists suggest that increasing knowledge of social conventions and a child's desire to interact with others are the most important supports for language development.
• When children simply hear more and more language, they use this "positive evidence" that other people provide to make assumptions about the structure of their native language.
• Nurture-inspired theories (empiricts theories)-
o They rest on the notion that humans gain all knowledge through experience.
o Infant arrives in the world as a "blank state" with no innate language abilities
• Nature-inspired theories (nativist theories)
Generally hold that much knowledge is innate
Genetically transmitted rather than learned by experience.
Nurture Inspired Theories
Skinner Behaviorist theory, Vygotsky's Social-Interactionist Theory, Piaget's Cognitive Theory
Skinner Behaviorist theory (1957) (1904-1990)
• Operant conditioning
o Behaviors that are reinforced become strengthened, and behaviors that are punished become suppressed.
• Focuses on observable and measureable aspects of language (the behavior) children produce as they interact with the environment
• Without innate knowledge.
• Environmental stimuli elicit verbal responses, or language, from children. Children then learn language as adults reinforce their verbalizations, as in the following example.
Applied behavior analysis
• Principles of operant conditioning-stimulus, response, and reinforcement.
• ABA interventions can be intensive and time consuming, sometimes-requiring training in ABA and several to many hours per week of one-on-one therapy.
• Discrete trial training (DTT)
o Series of distinct trials that the adult or therapists repeats until the child masters the target skill.
Vygotsky's Social-Interactionist Theory (1978) (1863- 1934)
• Social interaction fro children's language development
• All knowledge exists first on social plane and then psychological plane
o Age 2, these two processes begin to develop as separate capabilities
• Zone of proximal development- which is the difference between a child's actual development level as determined by independent problem solving, and his or her level of potential development, as determined through problem solving in collaboration with a more competent adult or peer.
• Examining what children can do with mediated assistance from others is necessary for identification of maturing capabilities.
• Children learn language through social interaction; their general cognitive abilities are subsequently propelled forward.
Piaget's Cognitive Theory (1923)
• Genetic epistemology
o Study of the development of knowledge
o Children experience and Emphasized that achievements in one stage must occur before a child can move on to the next stage
• Language: Domain-general ability that closely follows children's development.
• "Cognition hypothesis" certain cognitive achievements need to be in place for language achievements to emerge
• Children as active agents in constructing their understanding of language
• Egocentric: developmentally predisposed to view the world only from their perspective
• True dialogue once children are able to take the perspective of others
Stages of Cognitive
Sensorimotor 0-2 years, Preoperational 2-7 years, Concrete Operational 7-11 years
Sensorimotor 0-2 years
• Object permanence
• Solving problem (Means end)
• Cause and effect toys
• Imitation of others (object use
Preoperational 2-7 years
• Acquire language
• Use symbols like words or pictures
• Thinking is still egocentric (assume everyone see everything from the same point of view as they do)
• Understand concepts of counting (like quantity)
• Barely starting to understand figurative language
• Conservation (what has more water, volume, size, mass)
Concrete Operational 7-11 years
• Pre adolescent years
• Thought processes become more mature like adults
• Abstract and hypothetical thinking is not formed yet
• Learn conservation
• Inductive reasoning
• Might struggle with deductive reasoning
• Logic and reversibility
• Less egocentric
• They can categorize
• Learn more about common sense
• An action can be reversed
• Assimilation and Accommodation
Formal operational 11+yrs
• Abstract thinking
• Propositional thinking
Intentionally Model of language Acquisition
• Children's abilities in language, emotional, expression, cognition, social interaction, and object play a develop in tandem
• Child is responsible for driving language learning forward
• Children learn language when what they have in mind differs from what others around them have in mind, because they must express themselves in order to share that information.
• Children must be intentional, they must take strides to engage in social interactions and they must put forth effort to construct linguistic representations for the ideas they want to express and then act to express these ideas.
• Describes specific mechanisms through which children acquire the acceptable morphological, phonological, and syntactic, and lexical forms that compose their native language.
• Language development draws heavily on the input one hear.
• Multiple language forms compete with one another until the input strengthens the correct representation and the child no longer produces the incorrect form
• Overgeneralization- taking one thought and putting it for everything
• Accounts for second language learning
• Children learn language because they have reason to talk
• Emergence of intentionally during the first year of life
• Intention reading: child ability's to recognize the intentions and mental states of others
o Corresponding to the increasing capacity of the infant to engage communicatively with others
Fodor's Modularity Theory,
Fodor's Modularity Theory (1983)
• Organization of the brains cognitive infrastructure as comprising a series of highly specified modules, including modules for various aspects of language processing
• Innate capacity that is localized to domain specific processor that are encapsulates in their function from other processors.
• Language development in different areas is driven forwards by different types of input.
Universal Grammar: Noam Chomsky (1965)
• Popularized the term universal grammar (UG), which describes the system of grammatical rules and constraints that are consistent in all world languages
• Acquisition depends on an innate, species-specific module dedicated to language and not to other forms of learning.
• Language acquisition device
• Linguistic Competence
• UG posits that children are born with linguistic competence and that mistake and omission in their speech indicate performance difficulties and not lack of competence.
• Syntactic Bootstrapping:
o The process by which children use the syntactic frames surrounding unknown verbs to successfully constrain the possible interpretations of the verbs.
o It proposes that children arrive at the task of language learning with knowledge of syntactic categories and use this knowledge of syntactic categories and use this knowledge to understand the meanings of words that fill various positions in sentences.
• Sematic Bootstrapping:
o Illustrate how children acquire particular linguistic concepts with minimal outside assistance
o Children deduced grammatical structures using word meaning that they acquire but observing events around them.
o Focused specifically on syntactic development.
o Acquire a large, diverse lexicon from their observations of objects and events in the world, they use correspondence between semantics and syntax to determine the syntactic category to which each word belongs.
• Prosodic Bootstrapping:
o Suggests that infants use their sentivity to the acoustic properties of speech
• Pitch, rhythm, pauses, and stress
o To make inference about units of language, including clauses, phrase, and words.
• Attempt to visually approximate the inner working of the brains, and model and simulate the mechanism responsible for language growth in relationship to input
• Models: simulations that are composed of 2 important elements within a larger network: nodes and connections
o Nodes: simple processing units that are likened to neurons in the brain
Linking theory to Practice
• It is important to determine:
o Whether a theory offers ample support to guide practices in question
o Whether there is a disconnect between a theory and practice
o Whether someone is enacting a particular practice through simple trial and error
• Principle of instruction:
Cognitive principles, Affective principles, Linguistic principles
o Cognitive principles
ideas governing language processing and automaticity and the role of tangible ad intangible rewards that the speaker gains through language
o Affective principles
related to the individuals confidence with language learning and his or her propensity to take risks with respect to language
o Linguistic principles
the role of a persons native language in simultaneously facilitating and interfering with second language acquisition
o Rote, habitual responses to language forms
o Generate hypothesis about language rules, apply them, and discoverer them
inhibit language difficulties from emerging and reduce the need to resolve such difficulties later in life
o Fostering phonological awareness in young children
• Phonological awareness-
ability to focus on the sounds that make up syllables and words, and well developed phonological awareness can help children succeed in later reading instruction
• Intervention and remediation
: programs or strategies used to help individuals who exhibit difficulties with some aspect of language
Practices Informed by Theories of Language Cont.
• Enrichment: process through which teachers, clinicians, and other adults provide children with an enhanced language learning environment that both builds upon existing skills and promotes the development of new and more advanced language abilities
o Learning Language and Loving it- The Hanen Program for Early Childhood teachers and Educators
Evidence Based practice
o Discuss some examples or way in which a clinician can be engaged in research or integrate current research into his/her practice.
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