Language Acqu Lectures 1 - 3


Lecture 1:

evolutionary context of language development is seen as a debate:

1. did language become shaped by social and congnitive skills

2. or was it due to evolutionary and language specific adaptations

1. social and cogntive skills

  • introduction of hominin societies leading to more cooperation needed (e.g. cooperative hunting) therefore needed more developed communication techniques

2. evolution from quadramanus to terrestrial bipedalism meaning the birth canal narrowed and therefore there was a greater period of immaturity and therefore more nuturing needed and brain was developed for longer

Tomasello claimed intersubjectivity was about the evolution of language is linked to our ability to engage cooperatively with others

Social and cognitive skills:

1. detecting social partners: biological motion and recognising human faces and voices

2. identifying and monitoring focus of attention: following eye gaze; the 'Still Face Effect'

3. Engaging through imitation: imitation as a means of learning culturally important behaviours. 2-3 week olds can imitate facial expressions

Lecture 2:

speech perception

prenatal experience: that in the womb the foetus' can hear rhythm and intonation

use the High Amplitude Sucking Procedure for babies and the sucking is a response to the voice/ music/ testing

Mehler's 1988 experiment:

- Russian utterances heard then half changed to a language with different stress patterns…


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