Semantics

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					Semantics
   Definition                    Semantic Feature
                                         IS
   Semantic/Cognitive Theories    Categorization
   Semantic Progression                 =
                                    CHUNKING
   Assessment                           =
   Word Classes                  Cognitive Ability
       Semantic Knowledge =
        WORLD & WORD
          KNOWLEDGE
Semantics' origin
   Etymology: Greek “semaino, ” to signify or
    mean
   World knowledge refers to an individual‟s
    autobiographical and experiential
    understanding and memory of particular
    events
   Word knowledge contains word and
    symbol definitions
First Word Characteristics
   Progression:
    • Preverbal
    • PCF (phonetically Consistent Forms
    • Holophrases
   Syllable Shape
    • one or two syllables
    • Syllable construction: CV, CVCV (reduplicated), CVCV, some
      VC constructions (up, eat)
   Most frequent words name animals foods and toys
   First word usually marks a specific object or event
   Initial lexical growth is slow
   Child may appear to plateau for short periods
   At center of child‟s lexical core is a small core of
    high-usage words
             Characteristics of First 50 words
            Holophrases- one word utterances
   Nelson‟s research
   Grammatical Classification
    • Nominals              65%,
         • General    51%        milk, car, dog
         • Specific   14%        mima, “Tiger”
    •   Action Words        14% give, do, up
    •   Modifiers            9% , mine, no, dirty
    •   Personal-Social      9%, no, please, more
    •   Functional           4%, this, for
    Features f Adult Speech influencing A child’s
    Semantic development

   When Western, middle class children are noticed
    attempting to say a word, parents engage them in naming
    games
     • parent points to and names specific object for child and
        then helps child say them
   Names parents provide are typically superordinate
    categorical names
     • EXAMPLE:item: nickel- parent names it: money
     • names chosen follow basic level categories
        • similarities within categories are emphasized
        • most general level at which objects are similar
          because of form, function, or motion
             A Child’s Semantic Strategies
        Bootstrapping, Scaffolding, and Mapping
       EXPLAINS EXPONENTIAL INCREASES IN
               CHILD’S VOCABULARY
   1. Bootstrapping
    • definition: process of learning language in which
      the child uses what is known to decode more
      mature language
       • semantic bootstrapping-the analysis of syntax based
         on semantic structures previously acquired
          – Example: persons and things= nouns, actions=verbs,
            attributives=adjectives
       • syntactic bootstrapping-the use of syntactic structures
         to deduce word meaning
       • Both are complementary processes
    2. Scaffolding

   Scaffolding
     • definition: a supportive linguistic/communicative
       context supplied by a more mature language user
       to younger children
         • more mature language user MODELS and structures
           child‟s learning experience to acquire new cognitive
           or linguistic skill/s
         • similar to Vygotsky‟s Zone Of Proximal
           Development
         • based on Vygotsky‟s language as social interaction
    3. Mapping

   Fast Mapping
    • definition: the child‟s ability to form an initial
      hypothesis about a word‟s meaning quickly, after
      hearing the word once or twice.
       • Child uses bootstrapping strategies
       • Child uses scaffolding strategies
    • helps explain why children exposed to larger
      amounts of adult input develop larger, richer
      vocabularies than children exposed to more
      limited input
     Semantics/Cognitive Theories
   1. Initial Lexicon Acquisition
    • 1. Prototypic
    • 2. Functional Core
    • 3. Semantic Feature
   2. Lexical Use
    • 1. Underextension
    • 2. Overextension
    • 3. Isomorphic
                       Prototypic
   Who: Bowerman
   What: underlying concept includes a central
       reference. Highly specific
           – „Best Fit‟ Criterion
   Tenants:
        • 1. initial protoypes vary across children,
          reflecting different experiences
        • 2 concepts are modified as a result of experience,
            – Adaptation?
        • 3. Word‟s referent is grouped with other referents
                         having similar features
        • 4“Holistic inclusion”
   Pro/Con
               Functional Core
 Who: Nelson
 What: Concept formation begins with the formation of a
       functional-core meaning
   Tenants
    • Child begins to name objects that embody a high degree
      of movement or that can be manipulated
    • Corresponds to Piaget‟s notion of „learning through
      exploration‟
    • Describes entities use in relation to other entities
    • Uses dynamic perceptual features and logical
      features/acts
   Pro/Con
                         Semantic Feature
   Who: Eve Clark
   What: all referents can be defined by a universal set of semantic features
   Tenants:
     • definable features are the attributes of the referent: size, shape,
       movement, color, taste, smell, hearing, etc.
     • shape is the most salient of the perceptual features
     • color is not particularly important to young children
     • Pro/Con:
     • Con
     • fails to explain the holistic nature of meaning
     • fails to discriminate between features to determine the most
       relevant
     • can‟t explain non-object concepts such as more, all gone, up
     • Pro
     • strategies more mature language learners utilize
     • assessment item: categories
Cogntive/Semantic Issues
   Conceptual Schemata
    • Overextenions
    • Underextension
    • Isomorphic- invented words
Semantic Class Distinctions

   Substantive and Relational Words
   Substantive
    • refer to specific entities or classes of entities
      that have shared perceptual or functional
      features
    • typically agents (people) objects (things)

    • Relational Words
     Substantive and Relational Words, R1
   Relational Words
    • Definition: refers to the relations that an entity
      shares with itself or with other entities
       • makes reference across entities
    • Types
    • Reflexive Relational Words-mark existence,
      nonexistence, disappearance, recurrence
       • this, here, gone, another, more
    • Action Relational Words -ways in which
      different objects from the different concepts
      relate to one another through movement or
      actions
       • protoverbs; first action type words or words used
         on an action-like context
                    Relational Terms #2
   Location Relation Terms:describe the
    directional or spatial relationship of two objects
     • Types:
        •   existence: ex. This , that
        •   nonexistence: no, gone
        •   disappearance: gone, all gone, away
        •   recurrence: more, again, another
   Possession Relational Words: recognize an object
    is associated with a particular person
     • initially marks alienable possessions: food, clothing, and
        toys
   Attribution Relational Words: mark attributes,
    characteristics or differences
              Acquisition Progression

   Progression both Receptive and Expressive
    •   Label (lexicon)
    •   Function (what it does, do with a .....)
    •   Attributes/Definition (Semantic Feature)
    •   Categories (Schemes for „big people‟)
         • Superordinate/Subordinate
         • Inclusion/Exclusion
                 Order of Acquisition

   1. Initial words may be PURE
    PERFORMATIVES-word itself performs the act
   2. Followed by
    •    nomination of substantive words
    •   existence
    •   nonexistence disappearance
    •   recurrence
    •   negation
   3. Followed by the Action Function coincident
    with the Agent, Object functions for substantive
    words
                Semantic Assessment
   Possible to Assess both Formally or
             Descriptively
   1. Formal
    • Receptive
       • Format: objects or pictures (color or line drawings)
       • Point to by label or function
    • Expressive
       •   Name
       •   Function: Tell me you do with a car?
       •   Describe: Tell me all you can about a bird
       •   Categorize: “Tell me as many _______as you can
      Semantic Assessment continued


   Descriptive Assessment
    • Language Sample
       • Type/Token Ratio= % of occurrence for a class
              • Nouns          51%
              • Verbs          40%
       • Class Analysis
              • Analysis of Adjectives by type: quantity/quality
               Word Class Analysis
   Word Classes
    • Nouns
       • proper/common
       • single, plurals, mass
    • Verbs
       • transitive/transitive
    • Adjectives
       • quality/quantity
    • Adverbs
    • Conjunctions
       • intent: causal, conditional, disjunctive, temporal
    • Pronouns
            6 Types of Pronouns
• Personal
   • Subjective: I, we, they, it, that
   • Objective: me, us, them, it, that
• Negative
   • no one, no body,
• Deictic
   • this, that, these, those, it
• Reflexive
   • himself, herself, themselves
• Possessives
   • mine, yours, ours
• Relative Pronouns
             Pronoun ‘linguistic’ facts
   1. General Sequence Acquisition
     • Subjective -Objective-Possessive-Reflexive-Negative-
       Relative
    • In general, for personal pronoun acquisition: subjective before
      objective
   2. Learning Strategies from Haas and Owens
     • when in doubt, use a noun
     • look for regularity-explains child‟s rules
             – her/hers--him/hims
     • simplify complex pronominal forms
         • reflexives: yourself-(becomes) you
     • use previously learned pronominal forms to aid in
       production of unlearned forms
   3. By age 5, most children have mastered all pronouns
    except reflexives
                      Adjectives
   Organized by
    • Quantity
       • more,some
       • Ordinal Numbers 1,2,3,
       • Cardinal Numbers First, Second,
    • Quality
       •   Color
       •   Size
       •   Shape
       •   Texture
       •   Taste
       •   Length
             Teaching Adjectives
   Teach the Positive term first
    • more-less
    • big-little
    • tall-short
 Child does not need to know the opposite to learn
  the „positive‟ term
 Adjective (modifier) use begins at telegraphic
  level
 There is an arbitrary word order for strings of
  adjectives
    • different classes of adjectives have different position
      based on a complex rule system
    • words are: the………monster wasn‟t chasing me!
                 scary, big, muddy
                                  Questions
   1. How do you define semantics?
   2. What are the 3 theories attempting to explain initial semantic
    development? Which one appeals to you?
   3. What is the difference between substantive and relational words?
   4. What are the different types of pronouns? Which is the „hardest to
    teach?
   5. How are adjectives divided? Is this division beneficial for writing
    IEP‟s
   6. What are the types of conjunctions?
   7. What are the measurements used in a Descriptive Semantic
    Assessment?
   8. What is the semantic acquisition progression? Why is this critical
    knowledge in language therapy?
   9. What is an example of superordinate and subordinate categories?
   10 What is an example of inclusion/exclusion?
End of Notes

				
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