Language and Cognition A Developmental Perspective


1. Introduction..3
2.1 summary of chapter one 4
2.2 summary of chapter two.6
2.3 Summary of chapter three..9
2.4 Summary of chapter four.11
2.5 Summary of chapter five..13
2.6 Summary of chapter six15
2.7 Summary of chapter seven…18
2.8 Summary of chapter eight….20
3. General criticism….23
4. Research question inspired by the book….24
The book Language and Cognition: A Developmental Perspective, edited by E. Dromi introduces eight chapters, which present the thoughts and studies of a group of psychologists and psycholinguistics. They discuss the relationship between language and cognition and add their own perspectives.

The book has a variety of studies touching the topic of Child’s language acquisition. Each article raises questions, introduces several theories, and gives food for thought.

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I decided to review this book because of my desire to learn more about the cognitive processes during the child’s stages of language acquisition, and in order to enrich my prior linguistic knowledge acquired during my studies.
Chapter one: Piaget on the Origins of Mind: A problem in Accounting for the Development of Mental Capacities.

The researcher says that Piaget proposes a radical thesis; all intelligence develops out of the actions of mere reflexes at birth. This is a process built up by stages; each stage leads to another stage following it, and that is how the baby learns to act in the world.

The researcher argues that Piaget account fails because his theory does not explain how intelligence develops. Moreover, the stages suggested by Piaget could occur without mental developments.

Piaget says, according to the researcher, that the mental state of babies is devoid of any impulse or experience, which is mindless activity. At the same time, basic actions associated with intelligence arise gradually because of mere exercise of the reflexes.
Piaget states six stages of “sensomotor” intelligence, from birth to two years of age:
? 0-6 weeks – the usage of reflexes
Voluntary behavior (i.e.: sucking, grasping)
? 6 weeks to 5 months – further enlargement of the previous stage, “circular reaction”(i.e.: bulging the cheeks, licking lips)
? 5-9 months – secondary “circular reaction”. Children repeat actions in order to produce effects on the external environment.

? 9-12 months – intercoordination of secondary “schemata”. Children are attempting to reproduce only a previously observed result. (e.g. pushing mother’s hand toward an object to make her swing it.)
? 12-18 months – children devise novel means to solve a problem.

? 18-24 months – children would anticipate actions needed to complete a procedure, invention by mental combination.
The researcher critiques Piaget’s theory by saying that one cannot detach actions done by children from their mental capacities, they are not as Piaget believes mere reflexes.
The researcher says that language also develop in stages and might also turn out to be epiphenomenal in the way that Piaget’s stages may lie outside the central sources of developments.

Linguistic behavior and spatial-adaptive behavior has to do with human thought similarly to first action of babies, both have stages in a clear order and both involve thinking.

Chapter two: The mysteries of Early Lexical Development: Underlying Cognitive and Linguistic Processes in Meaning Acquisition.

The researcher is looking for an answer to how do children acquire the conventional meanings of words. According to Dromi one view suggests that meaning is acquired gradually through a long process. It involves repeated hearings of the same words in different mechanism of pairing words with real world use.
The second view claims that children are very efficient word learners. They induce meanings even from a single hearing of a novel word in a new context.

Dromi’s database for her investigation was the complete record of all the words that were acquired and used by her subject. Dromi used a handwritten diary, nine periodic audio recordings, and video sessions.

The one word stage in the case of her subject took 8 month and 12 days during which words were accumulated at a nonlinear pace. An abrupt change in the rate of word acquisition was noted during weeks 25-27. The quantitative characteristics of Keren’s (=subject) lexical growth was similar to other reports of children. Keren’s continuos record provided strong evidence for a spurt in lexical learning several weeks prior to initial evidence for productive multiword strings. Dromi’s observation of slowed rate of word acquisition suggested that lexical acquisition

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