Presentation on theme: "Language and the mind. Prof. R. Hickey. WS 2007/08"— Presentation transcript:
1 Language and the mind. Prof. R. Hickey. WS 2007/08 Language and the mind Prof. R. Hickey WS 2007/ First Language AcquisitionKatharina Auerswald (LN, Grundstudium) Daniela Neeven (TN, Hauptstudium) Sabrina Hoffmann (TN, Grundstudium)
2 Language and the mind. Prof. R. Hickey. WS 2007/08 Language and the mind Prof. R. Hickey WS 2007/ Language Acquisition and MaturationAnn-Katrin Grendreizig und Lena Jägen LN und TN Hauptstudium or Grundstudium
3 Language acquisition Def.: First language acquisition refers to the acquisition of one’s mother tongue during the first 6 to 7 years of one's life (from birth to the time when children start school).
4 Language acquisition for children consists of achieving control in four main areas: A set of syntactic rules determining how phrases are formed out of words and sentences out of phrases.2) A set of morphological rules determining how words are built up out of morphemes.3) A set of phonological rules determining how words are pronounced.4) A set of semantic rules determining the meaning of words, phrases and sentences.
5 Maturation no evidence for any conscious and systematic teaching of languageenvironment changes, because the child's behaviourchangesmost important differences between pre- andpostlanguage phases originate in the individual> maturational processesdiffer in each individual so that it is very difficult toexplore
6 Hallmarks for maturationally controlled emergence of behaviour regularity in the sequence of appearance of given milestonesopportunity for environmental stimulation remains relatively constant, each infant makes different use of these opportunitiesemergence of behaviour before it is of immediate use to the individualclumsy beginnings are not signs of goal-directed practice
7 Emergence of Speech and Language onset of speech > gradual unfolding of capacitiesspeech milestones and motor-developmentalmilestones occur together but it is no logical necessityindependent from articulatory skillscan babble but cannot form simple utterances>psychological retarding factor in language acquisition, not a physical one
8 Emergence of Speech and Language at the age of three speech skills are fully developed,other mechanical skills notlanguage comprehension comes before the language production
9 Emergence of Speech and Language 12 weeks > cooing: squealing-gurgling sounds,vowel- like in character6 months > cooing changes into babbling,on-syllable utterances like ma, mu or da12 months > signs of understanding, identical soundsequences are replicated, mamma or dadda18 months > definite repertoire of words, more than3, less than 50, no attempt to communicate, nofrustration for not being understood, no spontaneoustwo-item phrases
10 Emergence of Speech and Language 24 months > more than 50 words, spontaneous two-item phrases, own creations, interest in language30 months > new vocabulary every day,communicative intent, frustrated if not understood,rarely verbatim repetitions, understand everything,intelligibility not good yet3 years > 1000 words, intelligible even to strangers,grammatical complexity similar to colloquial adultlanguage4 years > language well-established
11 Acquisition of morphemes: Research of uncontrolled spontaneous speech has shown that:The developmental order of the morphemes (in, on,third person regular/irregular articles a.s.o.) is quiteconstant > the same is true of grammatical devices ingeneralBUTThe rate of development varies greatly betweendifferent children
12 Communication Pressure Is there a pressure in communication that forceschildren to replace ill-formed utterances by well-formedutterances?investigation with questions, negatives and tagsshowed that there is no communication pressureill-formed utterances were understood perfectly well,meaning became clear
13 Contingent approvalthe approval or disapproval has no influence on the syntax, it depends on the truth value of utterances
14 Conclusion no conscious or systematic teaching of language independent from mechanical skills of the childno communication pressure or contingent approval
15 Division between First and Second Language Acquisition: The ability to acquire a language with the competence of a native speaker diminishes around puberty due togeneral inflexibility of the brain caused by fixing ofvarious functions of parts of the brain2. hormonal changes during puberty having the sameeffect
16 Language and the mind Prof. R. Hickey WS 2007/08 Steffi Dickmans und Hannah Neugebauer TN Grundstudium
17 B.F. Skinner American psychologist (1904-1990) amongst others he wrote a book on verbal behaviourin 1957his thesis is that external factors such as presentstimulation and reinforcement are crucial for the FirstLanguage Acquisition of a child
18 B.F. Skinner therefore children learn the rules of language by imitating what they are been presented and taught indaily lifeSkinner thinks that children learn to producegrammatically correct sentences because they arepositively reinforced and corrected by parents or otheradultsthe learning of a child’s first language is similar to anyother learned behaviour
19 Denise Lemke und Monika Ophey TN Grundstudium Language and the mind Prof. R. Hickey WS 2007/ Language and ExperienceDenise Lemke und Monika Ophey TN Grundstudium
20 Introduction Importance of Experience General Information Role of experience in language learningGeneral Problems from Learning from ObservationsTwo ExperimentsConclusion
21 Importance of Experience To know a language = to know the relations between sounds and their meaningsRelations vary in different languages- English /si/ means: “gaze with the eyes“- Spanish /si/ means “Yes“ Special experience is needed
22 Role of experience in language learning Experiment: language learning by blind childrenthe blind seem to confront a world quite different from our ownBlind children have another context for learning words and sentences than sighted childrenQuestion: How much differs the language learning?
23 General Problems from Learning from Observations Too many encodings of experience are availableFalse ExperiencesThe problem of abstract meanings
24 Too many encodings of experience are available Normally learners are exposed to objects, scenes, andevents as they listen to the stream of speechProblem: no direct connection between the “meanings“and the objects, scenes, and eventsExample: cat on the mat, the mat under the cat, andthe mat and the cat on the floor same meanings difficult for children to understand
25 False Experiences A child is inspecting a scene while the adult is speaking of something else false pairingExample: Mother says: “Time for your nap“ while thechild inspects a cat on the mat
26 The problem of abstract meanings Many words have no direct connection with sensory-perceptual experienceExample:- Simple verbs as “get“ or “put“- Simple nouns as “fun“ or “pet“- Simple adjectives as “fair“ or “good“
27 Experiment 1: Does look mean “touch“ to the blind child? Setting:- Kelli and sighted control children were tested in a familiar room- Experimenter gives commands and waits for responseSubjects:- Kelli: blind child, 36 months old- 4 sighted blindfolded control children: 33 to monthsCommands: Look up, Look down, Look behind you, Look in front of you, Look over here by me, Look over there by Mommy
28 Experiment 1: Does look mean “touch“ to the blind child? Results:- Kelli moved her hands to the commanded directions every time, but never moved her head- In contrast each blindfolded child moved the head in the commanded direction For Kelli look means „touch“
29 Experiment 2: Look is more like “apprehend“ to the blind child Results of Experiment 1 lead to a problem: Is there adifference between look and touch for Kelli?Further question: Does certain adjectival and adverbialmodifications of look produce still more distinctivebehaviours?
30 Experiment 2: Look is more like “apprehend“ to the blind child Subjects:- Kelli: 36 months old- 4 blindfolded sighted children: monthsCommands: “look” or “touch” (using toys)1. With spatial modifiers: up, behind you, in that, under, here2. With intensity modifiers: real hard, gently, real good3. With instruments of contact: with your finger, foot, nose, mouth, ear
31 Experiment 2: Results of Kelli In most cases she distinguished between touch andlook1. With spatial modifiers- “look behind you” she searched around in the arebehind her- “touch behind you” she touched her back2. With intensity modifiers- “look real hard” she rubbed the object all over- “touch real hard” she banged against the object
32 Experiment 2: Results of Kelli 3. With instruments of contact- “look with your mouth” she held the object up toher mouth- “touch with your mouth” she pressed her mouthagainst the objecttouch = “contact” look = “explore” or “apprehend”
33 Experiment 2: Results of the sighted children These children also usually distinguished betweenlook and touch commandsTouch = “contact” Look = “visual”
34 Conclusion Children do not acquire a language just by experience and observationBut Kelli shows that experiences in different contextsin early infancies lead to different meanings of words
35 Language and the mind. Prof. R. Hickey. WS 2007/08 Language and the mind Prof. R. Hickey WS 2007/ The Child’s Learning of English MorphologyMouna Ksiksi (TN, Hauptstudium), Nazgül Songün (TN, Grundstudium) Aysel Sahan und Günes Yildirim (LN, Grundstudium)
36 The Child’s Learning of English Morphology To discover what is learned by children exposed toEnglish morphology experimenters used nonsensematerials.If children do have knowledge of morphological ruleshow does this knowledge evolve?To test the children’s knowledge they began with anexamination of the actual vocabulary.
37 The Child’s Learning of English Morphology Tested areas: the plural/ the two possessives of thenoun/ the third person singular of the verb/ theprogressive/ the past tense/ the comparative andsuperlative of the adjectiveChildren’s vocabulary at the first-grade level containsa number of words that are made of a free morphemeand a derivational suffix or of two free morphemes.It also contains a number of compound words.
38 Materials and Procedure The subjects included pre-school children, first- gradechildren and adults.Pictures to represent the nonsense words were drawnon cards.Subjects were asked to supply the missing word andthe item was noted phonemically.After all of the pictures had been shown, the subjectswere asked why they thought the things denoted by thecompound words were so named.
39 Examples: 1. Plural ´ This is a wug. Now there is another one. There are two ……..´2. Past tense´ This is a man who knows how to spow. He isspowing. He did the same thing yesterday.What did he do yesterday? Yesterday he ……. ´3. Compound words (e.g. football, airplane)
40 Results The first question to be answered was whether there is a sex difference in the ability to handle Englishmorphology at this age level.There was not a significant difference between theboys´ and girls´ performance, boys did as well as girls,or somewhat better, on over half the items, so thatthere was no evidence of the usual superiority of girlsin language matters.
41 ResultsAge differnceThe first graders did significantly better than preschoolers on slightly less than half of theseFormation of the pluralThe results of the first-grade children in the plural tasks were better than the results of the pre- school children. The significance level of difference was 5 percent.
42 Verb inflexions The children were shown a picture of a man how to *zib and were required to say he was *zibbing. Fully97% of the first graders answered this questioncorrectly= there is just one allomorph of the progressivemorpheme, and the child either knows the –ing form ornotThe results of the past tense form shows that thechildren can handle the /-t/ and /-d/ allomorphs of thepast.Correct percentage answering: *binged: 78; *glinged:77. The older group did better than the younger groupon *binged.
43 Verb inflexions All English verbs with the ending –ing are irregular: 50% of the adults said *bang or *bung for the pasttense of *bing. 75% said *glang or *glung for the pasttense of *gling. Only one of the children said *bang andone said *glang.The percentages on *bing and *gling represent asubstantial grasp of the problem of addingphonologically /-t/ o /-d/.
44 Verb inflexions *spow: several children retained the inflexional /-z/ and said spowzd, others repeated the progressive.The children had to choose one or the other of theallomorphs, and the drop to 52% correct representsthis additional complexity.On *bodded they were 31% right, on rang only 17%right. The older group was better than the youngergroup.
45 Adjectival inflexionThe child was shown dogs that were incrasingly *quirkyand expected to say that the second is *quirkier thanthe first, and that the third was the quirkiest.Only one child was able to give the right answer.If the children failed to answer, the experimentersupplied the form *quirkier, and said “this dog is quirkyThis dog is quirkier. And this dog is the …?”Under this condtions 35% of the children could supplythe –est form.
46 Derivation and compounding They were asked what they would call a man who*zibbed.The adults said that a man who *zibs isa *zibber, using the common agentive pattern –er.Only 11% of the children said *zibber,35% gave no answer,11% said *zibbingman and5% said *zibman.The rest of the answers were real words like acrobat orclown.
47 Analysis of compound words They were asked about some of the compoundwords in their own vocabulary. The object of thisquestioning was to see if children at this age are awareof the separate morphemes in compound words.
48 Analysis of compound words 4 categories:1. identity: “a blackboard is called a blackboardbecause it is a blackboard.”2. statement of the object’s salient function or feature: “ablackboard is called a blackboard because you write onit”
49 Analysis of compound words 3. the salient feature happens to coincide with part ofthe name: “ blackboard is called a blackboard becauseit s black.”4. there is the etymological explanation given by adults,it takes into account both parts of the word, and is notnecessarily with some functional feature:”Thanksgivingis called Thanksgiving because the pilgrims gavethanks.”
50 Analysis of compound words the greatest number of etymological responses (23%)was given for Thanksgiving, wich is an item wichchildren are taught.despite this teaching, for 67% of the childrenanswered: Thanksgiving is called Thanksgivingbecause you eat a lots of turkey.shows the general nature of the private meaningschildren may have about the words in their vocabulary.
51 Conclusion The experiment In this experiment preschool- and first-grade childrenfrom the age of four to seven years were asked tosupply English plurals, verb tenses, possesives,derivations and compounds of nonsense wordsGeneral question: Do children possess morphologicalrules?
52 Conclusion > The children knew something more than the individual words in his vocabulary. They were able to supply the right morphological items to the new words.They understood the problem of the experiment anddid not want to make any mistakes by giving theanswers> Children at early age have a good command onmorphological rules.
53 Conclusion Sex differences: No sex differences in the acquisition of EnglishmorphologyBoys and girls did equally well> Every child at young age is in contact with spokenEnglish and has to grapple with basic morphologicalprocesses.> This capability does not depend on complexsentences, it also appears in simple ones.> Practice with limited vocabulary has the same effectas practice with extensive vocabulary.
54 Conclusion Differences between preschool- and first-grade children No child in preschool was able to supply the irregularpast “rang” and a few in the first grade could do>This difference was significantThe answers were not qualitatively differentBoth groups applied the same morhological rules
55 Conclusion Further analysis- Example children were able to form the plurals requiring /-s/ or/-z/ and they did best on the itemsIn their vocabularies were also real words that formtheir plural in /-әz/> They did not generalize to form new words in /-әz/.
56 Conclusion Their rule is to add /-s/ or /-z/. To unknown word ends which sound like /s z ž š ĵ/they did not try to make the plural> Generally it can be said that the childrens choice ofvoiced and voiceless consonants or sibilants lead backto phonological rules about final sound sequences.
57 Thanks for your attention! The EndThanks for your attention!
58 References First Language Acquisition - The Essential Readings Edited by Barbara C. Lust and Claire Foley