English Language Child Language

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Michael Halliday Taxonomy

Instrumental - language used to fufil a need on the part of the speaker - directly concerned with obtaining food , drink and comfort

Regulartory - language used to influence the behaviour of others - intially an extension of this persuading , commanding and requesting other people to do things you want

Ineractional - language used to develop social relationships and ease the process of interaction - the phatic dimenstions of talk

Personal - language used to express the personal preferences and identiy of the speaker - sometimes refered to as the here i am function - announcing onself to the world

Representational - language used to exchange infomation - relaying or requesting infomation

Heuristic - Language used to learn and explore the enviroment - using language to learn - may be questions and answers

Imaginative - language used to explore the imagination - may also accomplany play as children create

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David Crystal 1996

0-4 months Vegetative stage - cries, burps and burbles , makes lots of noises of pain , hunger and discomfort , to which parents need to respond

4-7 months Cooing - cooing and going gaga , most children add a new variety of sounds to their repoertoi , before 6 months old the cooing which may behin to resemble some of the first sounds of speech

6-12 months Babbling - this evolves into bablling - first extended repititions by children of some basic phonemic combinations eg bababa

9-12 months First Words - from out of these streams of sounds , eventually emarge a samll reertoire of utterneces that sound something like a word

12+ months Holophrastic - one word is used for a while phrase , however these single words may appear to serve a multitude of functions and to have more than one meaning

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John Dore Infant Language Functions

Labelling : simply labelling or identify a person , object or experience

Repeating: echoing something a spoken by an adult speaker

Answering: giving a direct response to an utterence from another speaker

Requesting Action: demanding food , drink ,a toy , calling , attracting attention by shouting

Greeting: self evident

Protesting: objectitivity to requests

Practising : using and repreating language when no adult is present

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Alan Cruttenden 1974

compared adults and children to see if they could predict football results from listening to the scores , finding that adults could succesfully predict winners by the intonation produced oin the frist team , but children were less accurate

children do not respond to intonation

demonstrated that understanding of patterns of intonation is still developing in the teens

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12 - 18 months - holophratic stage - one word utterence

12-24 months - two word - two words combinded to create simple syntactical structures

24-36 months - telegraphic - three or more words joined in increaingly comp[lex and accurate orders

36+ months - post telgraphic - increasing awareness of grammaticalr ules and irregulatives eg instead of saying runned , using ran.

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Katherine Nelson 1973

4 catagories for first words

Naming - 60%


Describing/ Modifying things

Personal / Social words - 8%

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phonological development

pronounciation is simplified

Deletion : children will often simplfiy pronunciation by deleting certain sounds.
dropping of final consonants , droppping of unstressed sylables , reduction of consonant clusters

Addition : children sometimes break up consonant clusters not be delting one of the consonants , but by adding vowels to seperate them.
eg blue - belu

Substitution : another form of simplification involves substituting harder sounds with easier ones
eg r becomes w , the become d,n or f , t becomes d and p become b

Reduplication : where a syllable in the word is repeated
eg wee-wee , night-night , boo-boo

Assimilation :  this occurs when sounds in a word are made to sound more like neighbouring ones . eg dog become gog

Methatesis : this occurs when sounds in a word are swapped round . eg relevant comes revelant

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The "fis" phenomenon : Berko and Brown

Berko and Brown found that children who had pairs of words that sounded the same could still point to the correct picture in a comprehension task
eg mouse/mouth cart/card jug/****

child repeastdnly refers to plastic fish as fis

adult this is your fis?
child : no , my fis
adult: your fis?
child: no , my fis
adult: that is your fish
child: yes , my fis.

comprehension develops more quickly than the ability to repoduce the language

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Whole Object Assumption

children make use of when confonted with new things that they name

for children a new word usually refers to a whole object, not part of it or a quality the object possesses.

holophrastic stage - one word used for whole phrase command

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children tend to use nouns as their main word class early on  ( katherine nelson)

most concrete nounds fit into 4 categroies that spekle noted:





chidlren like objects that are clearly defined in shape,that dont disappear, which are solid and which dont have a life of their own ( unless theyre animate - aninmals or people)

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type assumption

prevents children from underextending most new words.

if they are told that the new thing they have seen is a dog , thery dont assume that only that dog is a dog and every other dog isnt.

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basic level assumption

prevents the child from over extending meanings too far.

so once a child has recognised what dog refers to , they seem to understand that it also refers to things with similar properties

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mutual exclusivity assumption

the belief that an object cannot be two things at once

eg. child needs to understand that a dog is a kind of animal a BMW is a car and part of the wider classs of veichle.

as children get older they start to understand the hiererchial nature of naming categories

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language productivity

children often create new words by applying the rules they hear in use around them.

when we add endings (bound morphemes) to words to change their function we call it derivation.

conversion: when we change the word class of the world but leave it in its orginal form
eg to butter the bread - pass me the butter

children often overuse these conversions

well known experiment - Wug Test - Jean Berko 1950

76% of 4-5yr olds got the correct -s ending
97% of 5-7 year olds did.

children tend to overgeneralise this rule and end up creating incorrect forms such as mouses , childs , sheeps and mans

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U - shaped development

the wugs test and wider reserch into how children use endings like -ed pasty tense and - er/est comparartives and superlatives revel that there is a U shapes development of correct use

it starts high , drops off as they start to apply the rule and then improves as they learn the excpetions to the rule

Roger Brown 1970 - research seems to suggest that this pattern is due to children using the correct form to begin with , overgeneralising a rule and then learn the exceptions to the rule

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Gary Marcus 1992

researched past tense endings  - noted how few errors children made ( roughly 10% of past tense forms were incorrect)

he proposed a model which suggested that children have a choice when faced with  past tense verbs : they can add - ed opr retrive a special form.

it explains why sometimes they say runned or seed but also why they might do both and say founded or ranned

one is linked to a rule system: the other to memory .

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Noam Chomsky

belives that learning takes place through innate brain mechanisms , pre programmed with the ability to acquire grammatical structures.

Language Acquisition Device (LAD)

human languages , share many similarities , which he describes as universal grammar

Universal Grammar: the explanation that all world languages share the principles of grammer despite surface differences in lexis and phonology ,sometimes called linguistic universals

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types of early phonological mistake

children master language by making mistakes until they fully aquire the skills

this trial and error approach is taken by some linguistsics as evidence that learning is taking place

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Eve Clark

study of first words found that children base overextensions on

the physical qualities of objects

features such as taste , sound ,movement, shape , size and texture

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Leslie Rescorla - types of overextension

categorical overextension - the name for one member of a category is extended to all members of the category eg apple used for all round fruits - 60%

analogical overextension - a word for one object is extended to one in a different category ; usually on the basis that it has some physical or functional connection eg ball used for a round fruit - 15%

mismatch statements - oneword sentences that appear quite abstract , child makes a statement about one object in relation to another eg saying duck when looking at an empty pond - 25%

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Jean Aitchison

connects childrens lexical and semantic development - stages of childrens linguistic development

labelling - linking words to the objects to which they refer understanding that things can be labelled

packaging - exploring the labels and to what they can apply .Over/ under extension occurs in order to eventually understand the range of a words meaning

network building - making connections between words , understanding similarities and opposites in meanings

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For slide 7 it should be 'metathesis' 

Excellent notes though :)

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