2. Imagine a study where two objects are placed in front of a 2-year old child. One is a familiar object (e.g., a spoon) and the other, an unfamiliar one (e.g., a honey dripper). The child knows the name of the familiar object. The experimenter looks at the spoon and asks the child to “give [her] the gizmo”, thereby using a novel word. What do you expect the child to do? Please justify your response.It is a well-established fact that children acquire nouns at a faster pace than verbs such that their early vocabulary is dominated by nouns. Please present some possible explanation for this fact.
3. Observation of children's speech has revealed that children produce forms that are not part of the adult language (e.g., "you giggle me"). People like Tomasello claim that these forms are unlikely to be observed in children’s speech before they reach the age of 30 months or so. Please explain why.
4. U.S. education policy periodically considers the possibility of a spelling reform to make words easier to spell and easier to decipher. Such reform could include, for instance, the adoption of a new spelling for words like ‘debt’ and ‘subtle’ in which the silent letter would be omitted. Please spell out an argument in favor of a spelling reform and an argument against spelling reform.
5. The word-superiority effect corresponds to the finding that the letters of an existing word are identified more accurately than the letters that form a non-existing word. It has sometimes been taken as evidence that printed words are processed as wholistic entities. Please provide an argument in support of or against this conclusion.
6. It is claimed that reading books out loud to a child helps them learn to read. Based on what you have learned in this class, please suggest an explanation for the origin of such benefits.
7. People can recognize a word even when some of its letters have been transposed (e.g., the word ‘garden’ spelled as GADREN). However, some transpositions are more detrimental than others for unimpaired readers. For instance, the letter string BLNID is more likely to be taken for the word ‘blind’ than BARVE is to be taken for the word ‘brave’. However, when these stimuli are presented to dyslexic adults, both types of transpositions are equally likely to be taken as their base words. Please articulate an account for these findings.
8. In a head-mounted eye-tracking experiment, Ju and Luce (2004) presented Spanish- English bilinguals with spoken Spanish words (e.g., “playa”) having word-initial stop consonants with either English- or Spanish-appropriate voice onset times. Participants fixated on interlingual distractors (nontarget pictures whose English names shared some phonological similarity with the Spanish targets, e.g., “pliers”) more frequently than control distractors when the target words contained English-appropriate voice onset times. Using what you have learned regarding the recognition of spoken words, please articulate the implication of this result and what it suggests regarding word representation and activation in bilinguals.
9. As demonstrated by Werker and Tees’ (1984) seminal work and replicated multiple times, (monolingual) infants appear to have converged toward the phonology of their language between 10 and 12 months of age, thereby failing to discriminate two sounds if these sounds belong to the same phonological category. However, these studies have typically been conducted on populations of babies growing up in medium-to-high income families. Recent research has shown that children from low-income family are frequently exposed to substantially less speech than children of more privileged parents. Do you think that the age by which the children of low-income family have converged on their language’s phonology may be affected by the amount of speech input they hear? Why or why not?
10. Assume a bilingual child who is shown two novel objects. Her mother, who speaks exclusively English to the child, labels one of two novel objects "toma". The mother leaves the room and her father, who speaks exclusively French to the child, asks the child for a "zev". Which object, the labeled or unlabeled one, will the child give to the father? Why? Would it be the same for a monolingual child? Please justify your answer. Consider two speech stimuli: One corresponds to the recording of a Spanish speaker producing the syllable ‘pa’. The second one was created by taking the ‘pa’ recording and modifying the value of the voice onset time of the stop consonant so that the syllable sounds like ‘ba’ to Spanish speakers. Do you expect 6-month old English-exposed infants to differentiate these two syllables? Do you expect 10-to- English-exposed 12-month old infants to differentiate them? Please justify your answers.
11. Based on our discussion of the acquisition of one’s language phonology, what specific problem may the simultaneous acquisition of the phonology of two languages pose to young bilinguals?
12. According to Wikipedia, the word “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis” has been claimed to be the longest word of the English language. Based on what you now know of what a language is, please write a brief argument that a non-expert Wikipedia user could understand explaining why this cannot be the case.
13. Why is it often useful, when spelling one’s last name, to use the so-called International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet in which each letter of the alphabet is assigned a specific code: A to Alfa, B to Bravo, etc... Please make sure you justify your answer with concepts or findings discussed in this course.
14. Imagine you are helping a 4th grader who wants to test and compare the degree to which different kinds of insulating material used on doors attenuate sounds and reduce speech intelligibility. Please propose a simple study the student could conduct in order to carry out such a test.
- Syntastic bootstrapping theory explains that when a child uses an unfamiliar verb in a sentence, they will search for the context clues in order to determine the definition of the verb
- This means that child can infer meaning from the sentence because they understand the syntax which allows to narrow down possible meanings
- When children are able to deduce the meaning based on the sentence, was an experiment done in 1957 at Harvard, where children were shown pictures along with nonsense word was. The word was placed differently in sentences, aspects of photos and identified by children. The experiment resulted that structure of sentence provides children with clues to the word meaning.
- Therefore the child would be expected to say “Mommy blicked” in order to reevaluate context and be able to better comprehend the verb.
2. Imagine a study where two objects are placed in front of a 2-year old child. One is a familiar object (e.g., a spoon) and the other, an unfamiliar one (e.g., a honey dripper). The child knows the name of the familiar object. The experimenter looks at the spoon and asks the child to “give [her] the gizmo”, thereby using a novel word. What do you expect the child to do? Please justify your response. It is a well-established fact that children acquire nouns at a faster pace than verbs such that their early vocabulary is dominated by nouns. Please present some possible explanation for this fact.
Markman and Wachtel did mutual exclusivity bias experiment from 1988, when 3-year old American children were shown one familiar and one unfamiliar object. The experimenters then asked the children to “Show the dax”, dax being an unfamiliar word, and children selected unfamiliar object. Then they showed children tend to map a novel word to the unfamiliar object. Selecting the object whose name was known would violate the mutual exclusivity bias, which is why children selected unfamiliar object, even if clues were contradicting from the syntax.
- From this experiment I can deduct that when a child was asked to “give the gizmo” he would go for the honey dripper, due to the mutual exclusivity bias.
- Verbs are not clear in meaning as nouns, they refer to generalized things, while nouns refer to permanent things, they look the same every time in different settings, and the meaning does not vary as the meaning of verbs. This is the reason why children learn nouns more easily than verbs.
3. Observation of children's speech has revealed that children produce forms that are not part of the adult language (e.g., "you giggle me"). People like Tomasello claim that these....
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