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Aspects of Language Development Syntax/Morphology Semantics Phonology Pragmatics

Phonology of Language

The child's first way to express meaning/intention Begins with the cry and experimentation Depends upon

­ all sounds possible for the human being ­ the sounds of the native language ­ the vocal structures inherited and habits of use formed early in life ­

Phonology: Meaning Carried in Sounds The prosody (melody) of language Understanding how to carry meaning with sounds begins very early in life

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cooing babbling jargoning

Phonology: Prosodic Difficulties General articulation and voice disorders Hearing Impairment Autism Nonspecific mental retardation Sequelae of tracheotomy and injury Syntax and Noam Chomsky Study of the grammatical/structural aspects of language: where things go in the sentence Study of the individual parts of the language, the phonemes and morphemes of language Noam Chomsky is primarily responsible for the recognition that structure of language can carry meaning and that humans naturally create these structures within the LAD Syntax: Phonemes and Morphemes Phonemes: the individual sounds of the language Morphemes: the minimal units that carry meaning. For example, chair = 2 phonemes and 1 morpheme A morpheme is a t least 1 phoneme, but not all phonemes are morphemes. For example, "I" = 1 phoneme and 1 morpheme; "a" = 1 phoneme and 1 morpheme Syntax: Morphemes Continued A morpheme is at least one syllable, but not all syllables are morphemes. Examples:


"this" = 1 syllable and 1 morpheme; "catching" = 2 syllables and 2 morphemes; "envelope" = 3 syllables and 1 morpheme Syntax: Morphemes Continued

A word is at least one morpheme but not all morphemes are words. Examples:

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"ball" = 1 word and 1 morpheme; "opening" = 1 word, 2 morphemes'


"ing" = 0 word, 1 morpheme

The Importance of Syntax/Grammar We must combine words to express complex ideas and relationships. We cannot stay at the morpheme level. Sentence types: declarative, interrogative, negative, passive, imperative A hierarchical structure exists in every sentence Syntax: Hierarchical Structures of Sentences Levels of hierarchy

­ Sentence ­ Main Noun Phrases ­ Main Verb Phrases » Subordinate noun and verb phrases

»Each carries units of meaning called the proposition

Semantics: Meaning and Relationships in Language Word Meaning:

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Vocabulary: the collection of words a person knows Lexicon: all morphemes, including words and word parts, that a person knows

Semantics Word Relationships


Words have semantic features » There are changing sets of meanings a word may have depending on context and speaker/listener » There are multiple meanings for most words and multiple words for general meanings that must be chosen based upon situation/context and shade of meaning » choosing the correct word demands that the speaker understand subtle features of words

Semantics: Relationships of Words Words relate to each other in a variety of ways:

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Selection restriction: combining words in unexpected ways; for example, pet rock Antonyms: words that share the same features, but are opposite; for example, live/dead (no middle ground); warm/cool (points on a continuum)

Word Relationships continued

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Synonyms: different words that carry similar meanings. For example, large and big. These cannot always be used interchangeable Hyponymy: Words that relate in superordinate order. For example furniture and couch

Semantic Relations The role each noun in a sentence has in relation to the verb in the sentence. For example, what roles do Daddy and ball have in these sentences Daddy hit the ball. The ball hit Daddy. The ball was hit by Daddy.

Pragmatics: Language as a Social Tool Is this statement correct? "Language does not exist outside of social interaction." Most Important Rule of Social Language Use... Form Follows Function The Fundamentals of Social Language Use Consist Of... Our Intentions: the reasons we speak The Contexts: the situations in which we speak The Alternations: the different ways in which we speak depending on the circumstances Intentions This includes a wide, almost unlimited, variety: requesting, labeling, answering, asking, repeating, practicing, negating, refusing, commanding, joking, commenting the meaning of any utterance is validated by its effect on the listener. This is the only way we can determine meaning Alternations Using different words or sentence forms to achieve the same result ­ social context may govern this, i.e., formality, informality, age, gender, race, ethnicity of listener or speaker ­ Linguistic or need to know context may govern. For example, how much information must be included or is appropriate to include in a question or answer. ­ Direct and indirect speech acts are part of alternation Contexts Children must be able to define/recognize a context before they speak Acceptable ways of speaking depend upon social context

When we speak to influence someone else's behavior we are performing a

speech act


Aspects of Language Development

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