Presentation on theme: "Language Our spoken, written, or signed words and the ways we combine them to communicate meaning."— Presentation transcript:
1 LanguageOur spoken, written, or signed words and the ways we combine them to communicate meaning
2 Facts About Languages There are 6,500 languages spoken in the world About 2,000 of those have less than 1,000 speakersWhat languages have the most number of native speakers?MandarinSpanishEnglishEnglish has the most number of speakersDead language: Still known and used in special contexts, but not as ordinary spoken languages for everyday communicationLatinHieroglyphicsExtinct Language: No longer has any speakersEndangered Language: At risk of failing out of use
3 Why Do Languages Become Extinct? Populations in physical dangerNatural disasters, famine, diseaseWar/GenocidePrevention or Discouragement of using Language:Political repressionCultural , political, economic marginalizationExtinct Languages
4 Building Blocks of Language Phonemes: Set of basic sounds869 in the world; No one language uses them all; in EnglishLetters like C, B, T + Short and long vowels + sounds like Ch, ShUsually difficult to learn the phonemes of another languageMorphemes: Smallest unit of sound with meaningSome morphemes are also phonemes (I, a)Most morphemes are combinations of two or more phonemesPrefixes and suffixes (pre, ed, s, etc.)About 100,000 in the English languageCombine to make 616, 500 w0rds (in Oxford English Dictionary)We are all born with the ability to produce all of the phonemes of all of the languages of the world!
6 Differences in Languages Rotokas (spoken in Papua New Guinea) has 11 phonemes and 6 consonantsHawaiian has 12 phonemes!Xu (spoken in Southern Africa) has 141 phonemes and 100 consonants (including clicks)Arabic only has 3 vowels (three short, three long)Punjabi (India) has 25 vowels
7 GrammarA system of rules in a given language that enables us to communicate with and understand othersSemantics: the set of rules we use to derive meaning from morphemes, words, and even sentencesExample: adding –ed means that something happened in the pastSyntax: the rules we use to order words into sentencesIn English adjectives usually come before nouns (red house)Language that doesn’t make meaningful sense can be grammatically correctJackdaws love my big sphinx of quartzShortest sentence in English language that includes every letter of the alphabet
8 Language DevelopmentHow many words will you learn between your first birthday and high school graduation?60,0003,500 a year (10 a day)Receptive v. Productive LanguageReceptive: ability to comprehend speechProductive: ability to produce wordsReceptive matures before productive
9 Receptive Language By 4 months… By 7 months… Babies can discriminate speech soundsCan also read lipsBy 7 months…Can segment spoken wounds into individual words (hard for us to do when listening to a foreign language!)
10 Productive Language By 4 months of age… By 10 months… Enter into the babbling stage: stage in which the infant spontaneously utters various sounds at first unrelated to the household languageNot an imitation of adult speech – includes sounds from other languages!Listener could NOT identify the baby as being Korean, Ethiopian, FrenchEx: Da-da, na-na, ta-ta and ma-maBy 10 months…Babbling changes so that the language is identifiable (other sounds disappear)Babies become functionally deaf to speech sounds outside of their native language (because of lack of exposure)
11 Productive Language Cont. 1st Birthday…One-Word Stage: stage that lasts from 1-2 during which a child speaks mostly in single wordsUse sounds to communicate meaningOften only one recognizable syllable (family members learn to understand)Inflection may carry meaning - “Doggy!”18 Months…Two-Word Stage: stage in which a child speaks mostly two-word statementsLearning increases from one word a week to one word a dayTelegraphic Speech: Stage where a child speaks like a telegram – “go car” – using mostly nouns and verbs (TERMS ACCEPTED. SEND MONEY.)If a child gets a late start on learning a particular language, their language development will still proceed through the same sequence, although usually at a faster pace
13 Two Views on Language Development B.F. SkinnerNoam ChomskyHumans are born with an innate ability to produce languageLanguage acquisition deviceWe acquire language too quickly for it to be explained by learning principlesAll human languages have nouns, verbs, subjects, and objectsNo matter what language we speak, we begin to speak in nouns and in common courseBelieved that language development can be explained through learning principlesAssociation, imitation, reinforcementHumans learn language similar to the way that pigeons learn to peck!So who is right? Nature v. Nurture?
14 Is there a critical period for language development? Critical Period: Particular time in which something needs to be learnedChildren who have not been exposed to a language by age 7 gradually lose their ability to produce any language (including sign language)Brain’s language capacity never fully developsThe older we get, the harder it is to learn a new language
15 Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis Proposed by Benjamin Lee Whorf aka Linguistic DeterminismDifferent languages impose different conceptions of realityThe Hopi have no past tense. Can they think about the past?A skier may have more words for snow . Do they think about snow differently?Gender-free words can change our way of thinkingContemporary Thoughts on LRH:To say that our language determines the way we think is too extremeHowever, you may think differently in different languagesExample: English has a focus on self-focused emotions; Japanese has a focus on interpersonal emotions ; Bilingual people may report having a different sense of self in different languagesLanguage and colors: We see colors much the same, but we use our native language to classify and remember colors
16 Bi/Multilingualism More than half the world’s population is bilingual Children learning two languages simultaneously can master approximately the same number of vocabulary items as children learning a single languageTotal must be divided between the two languagesDiscrepancies disappear by adulthood