2 Stages of First Language Acquisition—12 months on Holophrastic stage — monthsidiomorphsmutual exclusivity and whole object biasovergeneralizations, undergeneralizationsreferential vs. expressive childrenTwo-word Stage — monthsSubject-verb ‘Mary go.’Verb-modifier ‘Push truck.’Possessor-possesed ‘Mommy sock’Content words, no function wordsTelegraphic Stage — months2-5 words with little extra morphologyMorphological overgeneralizationEasier, more productive morphemes first
3 Basic methods for studying children post linguistically ObservationsWug testsERPs (Event related potentials)Experimental trickery
4 1. Observations Many of these studies done in 1950’s – 70’s Usually linguists or psychologists would follow own children around with tape recorder and analyze their language development
5 1. Observations At 1 year; 1 month (babbling) (in IPA): Production Production/ava/ /baewa//aelu/ /daevu//aw/ /gigi//n/ /paba/At 1 year, 6 months:Gloss Production Gloss Productionbaby /bebi/ go /go/bear /baeu/ big /gIg/bib /bIb/ Brenda /pEnt/blue /pu/ walk /wak/
6 M: Did you tell Daddy what you had for tea? N: aga (eggs) and gagadoodoodoo (cockadoodledoo = cornflakes [because of the picture on the box] cockadoodledoo also means a weathervane on a church spire and so he remembers his walk as well) tika (sticks) too.M: You didn’t have cornflakes for tea! And you didn’t have sticks either!N: ho (holes) too. (laughing—thinking this is a joke)M: You didn’t have sticks and holes for tea!N: doba (toast) Go wakin’, dada. (“I went walking, daddy”)F: What did you see on your walk?N: see ka (“I saw a car”)F: Yes, you went for a ride in a car, didn’t you? What else did you see?N: piti dedi mamma on gara (“a pretty flower (daisy) for momma in the garden”). [The flower wasn’t a daisy, but he calls all flowers daisies](Parents get N. ready for bed)N: Help? Need help? (meaning “I need help).M: What is it you can’t find? Is it something under there?N, looking under couch: ba (“a ball”)(Later, looking at a book with his mother)N: ‘ats dat? (“What’s that?)M: That’s butter.N: (repeating) taba (butter) ‘ats dat? (“What’s that?”)M: Some ducks and a doggie.N: Sa kuks (“some ducks”) No goggie (but there isn’t a doggie)
7 1. Observations Basic findings: Growth of Mean Length of Utterance (MLU): number of morphemes used in a single utteranceBaby socksTalked todayWalks dogs
8 1. ObservationsBrown’s (1973) Stages Mean Length of Utterance is a good index of child’s language maturity. Stages indicate growth of language complexity.Stage to 26 months of age = MLU 1.00 to 2.00Stage to 30 months of age = MLU 2.00 to 2.50Stage to 34 months of age = MLU 2.50 to 3.00Stage to 40 months of age = MLU 3.00 to 3.75Stage to 46 months of age = MLU 3.75 to 4.50
9 1. Observations Corpora for children’s language acquisition Child Language Data Exchange System (CHILDES)
17 2. Wug Studies 14 months: What that? Who that? 15 months: all-gone milk? no-no dada, woof-woof doggy, go store, daddy go?21 months: Be quiet Shag. Baby cry. Baby crying.24 months: Why not here?Don’t no play outside.25 months: Where daddy go?I no go outside.I don’t can go outside.4 years: God won’t let you die, Mom, until your child knows how to cook,will he?5 years: Child: Was Daddy a Navy man?Mother: Yes.Child: Are they smart?Mother: YesChild: Was Daddy smart?Child: Why isn’t he anymore?
19 3. ERPs Attach hat to babies head Hat has electrodes that measure Electrical movement across theskullElectrical movement tells usWhat part of the brain is activatedWhen the brain reacts to the stimulus and how much it reacts
24 4. Experimental Trickery How would you test3-5 year olds’ comprehension of the passive24 month olds’ basic word learning (teaching words they’ve never encountered before)The influence of motherese on learning questions3 year olds’ production of embedded clauses (before you touch your nose touch your head)3 years olds’ understanding of pronoun use in storiesChildren’s progressive comprehension (over time) of the phrase “she’s easy to see”4 year old children’s ability to understand jokes or sarcasm3 year olds’ comprehension of embedded clauses (before you touch your nose touch your head)
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