830:331:01 Infant and Child Development
Spring 2003, Hudson

Language and Symbol Development, 2

III. Telegraphic Speech: Simple Word Combinations (Begins at 18 to 24 months)

Syntax of first word combinations
Use standard S-V-O order

Can express many kinds of relationships

Syntactic understanding still limited
 comprehension studies:
IV. Preschool Years

A. Semantic Development

Large increase in vocabulary

How do children acquire new words so rapidly -- fast mapping?

Rules for learning new words

Where do these rules come from?
Core domain knowledge

Learned from pragmatic experience

B. Syntactic Development
Able to produce grammatically more complex constructions

Acquisition of morphemes

Two important characteristics of syntactic development

1. Regular ordering of acquisition

2. Children are using rules, not just repeating what they have heard

C. Pragmatic Development
Able to carry on conversations with adults and peers
Adjust speech style to different listeners
Difficulty in assessing listenerís background knowledge

Develop narrative skills

How Does Language Develop?

I. History of the Controversy:

II. Evidence for the Nativist Position

1. Biological features

2. Critical period for language acquisition

3.  Universal stages of language development

4. Language is a uniquely human ability

5. The environment does not provide enough information for learning

III. Interactionist Position

Social environment provides a support system for language learning

Bruner: language acquisition support system (LASS)
1.  Children hear language in a structured social context

2. Infant directed speech (IDS, motherese, baby talk) helps children learn language

Characteristics of IDS:
3.  Evidence of Fine-Tuning

4.  Parents provide indirect feedback to children about grammatical errors

IV. Connectionist Approaches

Language develops from strengthening neural connections



Understanding Symbols

I. Dual Representation

Understanding that a symbol is a thing in itself and a symbol for something else

Object retrieval task

Achieved around 2.5 years

II. Pretend Play

Piaget-- Evidence of symbol use

Emerges at about 18 months.

Become highly complex and sophisticated


Note: Due to time constraints, lecture may not cover all this material