Language Development and Acquisition

  • Brain Talk and Brain Waves

    Researchers studying the brains of toddlers say the strength of their brainwaves can indicate language ability. As ScienCentral reports, this research might lead to early identification of language impairment. Why might studying language ability in toddlers not necessarily predict future abilities?

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  • How Babies Learn Language

    The clip includes footage from Toby Mintzs lab and description of his current research. In this particular study, he uses infants who are 7 months old because that is when infants typically perceive speech patterns. How do the researchers know if an infant is paying attention to word or non-word auditory stimuli? Is vowel harmony an innate skill in infants?…

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  • Baby Babbling

    A baby babbles to himself white he tries to go to sleep. What is babbling and how does it lead to the development of speech? What is variegated babbling and how old are babies when they start that? What stage of speech production comes after babbling?

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  • Ali G Interviews Noam Chomsky

    The actor Sacha Baron Cohen interviews Noam Chomsky while in the character Ali G. Some potentially offensive content follows. However, the clip shows a light-hearted Chomsky and his thoughts on basic questions about language that students may also hold. Why is studying language important? How many words does a normal human know? How does Chomsky feel about being bilingual or…

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  • Kanzi Understands Spoken Language

    Kanzi’s ability to understand spoken language can be seen in this video. He is asked to find the lexigrams, or symbols, for specific words. It is in this way that chimps, bonobos, and other types of apes are taught to speak. Using this technology, would you be able to have a conversation with Kanzi? Why or why not? How does…

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  • Kanzi and Novel Sentences

    Kanzi’s language comprehension has been demonstrated in research using novel sentences phrases that preclude the learning of specific responses. How is language acquisition demonstrated differently in this video than in the previous video (Kanzi Understands Spoken Language)?

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  • Wild Child: The Story of Feral Children

    This clip is a trailer for a documentary about wild, or feral, children. The girl featured here grew up for six years, surrounded by dogs rather than humans. The girl has many qualities characteristic of dogs, including barking rather than speaking. How do you think her upbringing has affected and may continue to affect her speech? How might you explain…

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