Intro to language


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Intro to language

  1. 1. Introduction to Language
  2. 2. Overview  Typical Language Development  Definitions  Communication Disorders  Biological Theory of Language  Cognitive (& Current) Theory of Language Definitions  Environmental Theory of Language  Skinner’s Analysis of Verbal Behavior
  3. 3. Typical Development of Speech and Language (Heward 2006)  Most children follow a relatively predictable sequence in their acquisition of speech and language  Birth to 6 months: Communication by smiling, crying, and babbling  7 months to 1 year: Babbling becomes differentiated  1 to 1.6 years: Learns to say several words  1.6 to 2 years: Word “spurt” begins  2 to 3 years: Talks in sentences, vocabulary grows  3 years on: Vocabulary grows  Knowledge of normal language development can help determine whether a child is developing language at a slower-than-normal rate or whether the child shows an abnormal pattern of language development 9-3
  4. 4. Definitions (Heward 2006)  Communication involves encoding, transmitting, and decoding messages Communication involves • A message • A sender who expresses the message • A receiver who responds to the message Functions of communication • Narrating • Explaining/informing • Requesting • Expressing
  5. 5. Definitions (cont.) (Heward 2006)  Language is a formalized code that a group of people use to communicate  The five dimensions of language: •Phonology-Rules determining how sounds can be sequenced •Morphology-Rules for the meaning of sounds (e.g., un, pro, con) •Syntax-Rules for a language’s grammar •Semantics- Rules for the meaning of words •Pragmatics-Rules for communication (prosody, gestures, intonation) Classification system of words: nouns, verbs, prepositions, adjectives, adverbs, etc.
  6. 6. Definitions (cont.) (Heward 2006)  Speech is the oral production of language Speech sounds are the product of four related processes: •Respiration-Breathing that provides power •Phonation-Production of sound by muscle contraction •Resonation-Sound quality shaped by throat •Articulation-Formation of recognizable speech by the mouth
  7. 7. Speech Impairments and Language Disorders (Heward 2006)  Types of speech impairments  Articulation disorders  Fluency disorders  Voice disorders  Language disorders  Children who have difficulty understanding language have a receptive language disorder  Children who have difficulty producing language have an expressive language disorder  Communication differences are not disorders  The way each of us speaks is the result of a complex
  8. 8. Characteristics  Speech sound errors  Distortions  Substitutions  Omissions  Additions  Fluency disorders  Stuttering and cluttering are examples of fluency disorders  Voice disorders  A phonation disorder causes the voice to sound breathy, hoarse, husky, or strained  Resonance disorders are hypernasality or hyponasality  Language impairments  An expressive language impairment interferes with production of language  A receptive language impairment interferes with understanding of language
  9. 9. 3 Theories of Language (Sundberg, 2007) • Linguistic theory can be classified into three general, and often overlapping views: Biological Cognitive & Traditional Environmental
  10. 10. Biological Theory of Language (Sundberg, 2007)  Language is a function of physiological processes and functions  Language is innate to humans and has little to do with environmental variables, such as reinforcement and stimulus control • Proponents: Noam Chomsky, Steven Pinker • No current applications of Chomsky or Pinker to autism treatment
  11. 11. Cognitive & Traditional Theory of Language (Sundberg, 2007)  Language is controlled by internal processing systems that accept, classify, encode, and store verbal information • Language has less to do with environmental variables, such as reinforcement and stimulus control • Language is viewed as receptive and expressive, and the two are referred to as communicative behavior that is controlled by cognitive processors • Proponents: Piaget, traditional speech-language pathology • Cognitive theory, and its receptive-expressive framework dominates the current language assessment and intervention programs for children with autism
  12. 12.  Alfred North Whitehead (1861 - 1947), prominent British mathematician, logician and philosopher  Over dinner at Harvard in 1934…  “....Whitehead... agreed that science might be successful in accounting for human behavior provided one made an exception of verbal behavior. Here, he insisted something else must be at work. He brought the discussion to a close with a friendly challenge: “Let me see you,” he said, “account for my behavior as I sit here saying ‘No black scorpion is falling upon this table.’” The next morning I drew up the outline of the present study.” (Skinner, 1957, p. 457).
  13. 13. Environmental Theory of Language (Sundberg, 2007)  Language is learned behavior that is acquired, extended, and maintained like any other behavior…  Under the control of environmental contingencies  Term “verbal behavior” was first used by Skinner in his 1957 book Verbal Behavior  “Verbal Behavior…will, I believe, prove to be my most important work” (Skinner, 1978, p. 122) • The analysis of verbal behavior involves the same behavioral principles and concepts that make up the analysis of nonverbal behavior. No new principles of behavior are required. • Chapter 1 of Verbal Behavior is entitled “A Functional Analysis of Verbal Behavior”
  14. 14. A Functional Analysis of Language Focuses on the Causes of the Response (Sundberg, 2007) Discriminative Stimulus (SD ) Response Reinforcement Motivating Operation (MO) Punishment Extinction
  15. 15. Skinner’s Environmental Account of Language (Sundberg, 2007) • A common misconception… • that Skinner rejects the traditional classification of language • But it’s not the traditional classification or description of the response he found fault with… • It’s the failure to account for the causes or functions of the verbs, nouns, sentences, etc. • The traditional linguistic classification of words, sentences, and phrases as expressive and receptive language blends important functional distinctions among types of operant behavior, and appeals to cognitive explanations for the causes of language behavior • The unit of analysis Skinner proposed is the verbal operant MO/SD Response Consequence
  16. 16. Verbal Behavior (Skinner, 1957) • Definition of verbal behavior: behavior reinforced through the mediation of other persons (who are trained to do so) • Reinforcement is indirect • Doesn’t mean vocal. Can include: speaking, writing, typing, signing, crying, pointing, clapping • Contrast with nonverbal behavior: the behavior of an individual that has been reinforced through the direct manipulation of the environment • Doesn’t mean nonvocal
  17. 17. Nonverbal Verbal Response: Open the freezer door Reinforcer: See yummy Tin Roof MO: You want some ice cream Response: “Open the freezer door” Reinforcer: Friend opens door and you see yummy Tin Roof MO: You want some ice cream
  18. 18. What is unique about language? (Michael, 2004) unique feature? language nonlanguage type of response? No muscle rsp any muscle or gland rsp type of stimulation that evokes the response? No any sense mode any sense mode type of reinforcement? No any type of SR or Sr any type of SR or Sr how the response achieves its indirectly, only through someone else's behavior by direct contact with the environment
  19. 19. Why didn’t Skinner use terms everyone else already knew? (Skinner, 1957) • “Speech” • Emphasizes vocal behavior • Awkward to apply it to other topographies of verbal behavior: • Speaking, writing, signing, finger spelling, Braille, Morse code • Not all vocal behavior is verbal • “Vocal verbal behavior” – behavior of vocal organs that also meets the de • Practice! • “Language” • Refers to the practices of a community rather than the behavior of an individual • “Verbal behavior” • “Emphasizes the individual speaker” • “Specifies behavior shaped and maintained by mediated consequences” • “Has the advantage of being relatively unfamiliar in traditional modes of explanation” (p. 2)
  20. 20. Examples Verbal Nonverbal Vocal Asking a question Elicited coughing or yawning Nonvocal Pointing, signing Walking, sitting, reaching
  21. 21. References  American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (n.d.). What is language? What is speech? Retrieved January 12, 2008, from  Heward, W. L. (2006). Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special Education (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall (ISBN 0-13-056479- 6).  Merriam-Webster (2007-2008). Online dictionary: language. Retrieved January 12, 2008 from  Michael, J. (2001). Objective 3, Unit 4: Verbal behavior. In Verbal Behavior. Class conducted at Western Michigan University Behavior Analysis Program.  Michael, J. (2004, August). B.F. Skinner’s elementary verbal relations. In ABA IV. Class conducted at the Pennsylvania State University Behavior Analysis Program.  Skinner, B.F. (1957). Verbal behavior. Acton, MA: Copley Publishing Group.  Skinner, B. F. (1978). Reflections on behaviorism and society. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.  Sundberg, M.L. (2007, August). B.F. Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior. In ABA IV. Class conducted at the Pennsylvania State University Behavior Analysis Program.
  22. 22. Due Wed  Article Outline (AO): Horner et al. (2005) Green (2001), Ghezzi, Williams & Carr –Chap 3  Luisellie –Chaps 1-3