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our spoken, written, or signed words and the ways we combine them to communicate meaning. (p. 302)
# of words learned from birth-hs-graduation
speak at a rate of 3 words a second
- Infants start without language (in fantis means “not speaking”). Yet by 4 months of age, babies can discriminate speech sounds They can also read lips:
- At seven months and beyond, babies segment spoken sounds into individual words.
beginning at about 4 months, the stage of speech development in which the infant spontaneously utters various sounds at first unrelated to the household language. (p. 303)
the stage in speech development, from about age 1 to 2, during which a child speaks mostly in single words. (p. 303)
two word stage age 2
speaks about 2 word satements
early speech stage in which a child speaks like a telegram—“go car”—using mostly nouns and verbs. (p. 303)
Behaviorist B. F. Skinner (1957)
- association-of the sights of things with the sounds of words
- imitation-of the words and syntax modeled by others
- reinforcement-with smiles and hugs when the child says something right.
Linguist Noam Chomsky (1959, 1987)
- rejected Skinner’s ideas, arguing that children acquire untaught words and grammar at a rate too extraordinary to be explained solely by learning principles
- its inborn
- Childhood seems to represent a critical (or “sensitive”) period for mastering certain aspects of language
- When a young brain does not learn any language, its language-learning capacity never fully develops.
- better to learn before 7 or 9 for sign language
late-learners show less brain activity in right hemisphere regions that are active as native signers read sign language
- Whorf’s hypothesis that language determines the way we think. (p. 306)
- “Language itself shapes a man’s basic ideas.”
Michael Ross, Elaine Xun, and Anne Wilson (2002)
- demonstrated this by inviting China-born, bilingual University of Waterloo students to describe themselves in English or Chinese
- Chinese: Their language use seemed to shape how they thought of themselves.
language influence on thinking
- So our words may not determine what we think, but they do influence our thinking
- Words also influence our thinking about colors
- we see colors much the same, but we use our native language to classify and remember colors
- young children’s thinking develops hand in hand with their language
Bilingual children, who learn to inhibit one language while using the other, are also better able to inhibit their attention to irrelevant information
thinking in images
Imagining a physical activity triggers action in the same brain areas that are triggered when actually performing that activity
- mental practice = better performance in real life
- Mental rehearsal can also help you achieve an academic goal
why children learn their household’s language.
Skinner’s view that we learn language the same way we learn other behaviors—through association, imitation, and reinforcement—is most helpful in explaining
According to Chomsky, children are born with a readiness to learn the grammatical rules of language, and all they need to acquire language is
exposure to some language in early childhood.
Our language influences the way we perceive and think about the world. This idea, adapted from Whorf’s hypothesis, helps explain why
a person who learns a second language thinks differently in that language.
What Do Animals Think?
- aminmals are smarter than we think.
- they can distinguish different sounds as well
Wolfgang Köhler (1925)
- experiment with Sultan, a chimpanzee
- it was able to figure a way to get up to the fruit
- later research, apes have even exhibited foresight, by storing a tool that they can use to retrieve food the next day
Some animals also display a surprising numerical ability
example the parrot- could count to 6 and know which number was greater
Ai-champanzee can beat a human in memorizing #'s
Like humans, chimpanzees are shaped by reinforcement when they solve problems. Forest-dwelling chimpanzees have become natural tool users
Do Animals Exhibit Language?
- -makes different noices to call their peers - i.e. noices for warning from other predators
chimps and language
apes gain their limited vocabularies only with great difficulty. Saying that apes can learn language because they can sign words is like saying humans can fly because they can jump.
Chimpanzees can make signs or push buttons in sequence to get a reward, but pigeons, too, can peck a sequence of keys to get grain
The chimpanzees even proved to be modestly bilingual, translating spoken English words into signs (Shaw, 1989–1990).
Kanzi, a pygmy chimpanzee
with the seeming grammatical abilities of a human 2-year-old, happened onto language while observing his adoptive mother during language training
apes= capable of language
If we mean, more simply, an ability to communicate through a meaningful sequence of symbols, then apes are indeed capable of language.
have shown us that primates exhibit insight, show family loyalty, communicate with one another, display altruism, transmit cultural patterns across generations, and comprehend the syntax of human speech