Communication, Language, and Meaning: Psychological Perspectives

By George A. Miller | Go to book overview

10 THE DEVELOPMENT OF LANGUAGE IN CHILDREN

Roger Brown

In 1967 Mr. Benny Blount went to Nyanza Province in Kenya in East Central Africa to make a study of the development of language in childhood. The language spoken by about one million people in Nyanza Province is Luo. His study was comparable with studies already made in the United States and Britain and in progress in several other places. Mr. Blount took with him a copy of the Field Manual written to guide such studies by Daniel Slobin and his associates at the University of California at Berkeley. While this Manual describes some experimental methods for investigating child speech the central procedure is the collection, on a regular schedule, of large samples of the spontaneous speech of the children being studied. When my associates and I originated this kind of study with three American children in 1962 we found that we could obtain from any of our children several hundred utterances in about half an hour's time. Among the Luo, Mr. Blount found things rather more difficult. In his first fifty-four visits, of half an hour or longer, he obtained a total of only two hundred sentences. The problem was primarily one of Luo etiquette which requires that small children be silent when adults come to visit, and the small children Mr. Blount visited could not throw off their etiquette even though their parents entreated them to speak for the visiting "European," as Mr. Blount was called.

In the end, happily, Mr. Blount was able to learn quite a bit about the speech of Luo children, and what he learned, once he got past the difference of etiquette, was mostly familiar. Familiar to him and to other students of child speech, from

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Communication, Language, and Meaning: Psychological Perspectives
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • The Authors v
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xiii
  • 1: Psychology and Communication 3
  • 2: Psychology and the Theory of Language 13
  • 3: The Realm of Syntax 23
  • 4: The Realm of Meaning 36
  • 5: Biological Aspects of Language 49
  • 6: The Brain and Language 61
  • 7: Speech Development and Bird Song: Are There Any Parallels? 73
  • 8: Primate Communication 84
  • 9: Teaching Apes to Communicate 95
  • 10: The Development of Language in Children 107
  • 11 - Learning to Read 117
  • 12: The Speech Code 128
  • 13: Artificial Speech 141
  • 14: Language and Perception 149
  • 15: Language and Memory 159
  • 16: Language and Thought 172
  • 17: Language and Probability 185
  • 18: Communication and Computers 196
  • 19: Communication in Small Groups 208
  • 20: Mass Communication 219
  • 21: Nonverbal Communication 231
  • 22: Persuasion 242
  • 23: Language and Psychopathology 256
  • 24: The Sociology of Language 268
  • 25: Translation and Bilingualism 280
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 291
  • Index 299
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