HUMOR AND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION by Don L. F. Nilsen and Alleen Pace Nilsen 1 Youtube Babies: Charlie Bit My Finger Again: Evil-Eye Baby: search_query=evil+eye+baby&search_type=&aq=0&oq=evil+ BABIES HAVING FUN: 2 3 Early Expressions of Humor 4 Early-Onset Childrens Humor 5

Modeling: 6 2012-2013 Teddy Bear Toss for 12,947 Kids at Penn State Hersheys Childrens Hospital: 7 LANGUAGE STAGES Stage: Crying

Cooing Babbling Intonation Holophrastic Pivot-Open Word Inflections Questions & Negatives Rare & Complex Lg Mature Speech Age: Birth 6 Weeks 6 Months

8 Months 1 Year 18 Months 2 Years 2 Years 5 Years 10 Years 8 Lets not forget body language pinching and peek-a-boo 9

CARETAKER SPEECH Simplified Vocabulary Simplified Phonology Exaggerated Pitch & Intonation Many Questions by Mothers Many Imperatives by Fathers Baby-Talk Words e.g. wawa, choo-choo, tummy, scambled eggs, pasghetti 10 ACQUISITION OF SOUNDS Properties of easy sounds: Front of the Mouth

Total Articulation Muscles already Developed (in Nursing) Easy Sounds: /m, p, b, t, d/ Hard Sounds: /, , , , r, l/ clusters Easy sounds occur in more languages and are learned earlier by children. 11 ACQUISITION OF WORDS vov-vov dog

for dogs, kittens, hens, zoo animals mooi moon for moon, cake anything round dany bell sound for bell, clock, telephone, doorbell

quack duck sound ducks, birds, insects, coins (because a coin had an eagle on it) koko rooster crowing rooster, merry-go-round, musical sounds, all sounds 12 J. P. at 16 Months

[?aw] not, no, dont [s:] aerosol spray [b^?]/[m^?] up [sju:] shoe [da] dog [haj] hi [i?o]/[si?o] Cheerios

[sr] shirt sweater [sa] sock [s:]/[es:] whats that? [aj]/[^j] light [ma] mommy [baw]/[daw] down [d] daddy (J.P. at 16 months)

13 Michael from 18-21 Months [pun] spoon [majtl] Michael [peyn] plane [dajt-r] diaper [tIs] kiss [pati] Papi

[taw] cow [mani] Momy [tin] clean [b-rt] Bert [pol-r] stroller [b-rt] Big Bird (- is schwa) (Michael from 18-21 months)

14 Michael systematically substituted the alveolar stop [t] for the velar stop [k] as in his words for cow, clean, kiss, and his own name. He also replaced labial [p] with [t] when it occurred in the middle of a word, as in his words for Papi and diaper. He reduced consonant clusters in spoon, plane, and stroller, and he devoiced final stops as in Big Bird. In devoicing the final [d] in bird, he created an ambiguous form [b-rt] referring both to Bert and Big

Bird. 15 Michaels substitutions are typical of the phonological rules that operate in the very early stages of acquisition. Other common rules are reduplication bottle becomes [baba], water becomes [wawa]; and the dropping of a final consonantbed becomes [be], cake becomes ke]. These two rules show that the child prefers a simple CV syllable.

16 Michael from 18-21 Months [dot] dont [th ap] stop [kh Ip] skip [kIdi] kitty [su] shoe

[wajt] light [dt] that [dawi] dolly [ph e] play [go] grow [d^p] thump ([ph ] [th ] [kh ] are aspirated [p] [t] and [k] respectively)

[bt] bath 17 ACQUISITION OF GRAMMAR Holophrastic (one part of speech) Pivot-Open (two parts of speech) Telegraphic (four parts of speech) Adult (eight parts of speech) Linguist (each part of speech has many subcategories) 18 THREE STAGES OF ACQUISITION OF

MORPHOLOGY 1. Holophrastic: men, went, broke, brought Right Answer, but Wrong Reason 2. Rule-Governed: mans, goed, breaked, bringed Wrong Answer, but Right Reason 3. Knowledge of both Rules and Exceptions to the Rules: men, went, broke, brought Right Answer, and Right Reason NOTE: These stages also operate for adults learning a new profession 19 WHAT WOULD A CHILD SAY?

children brought worst went sang knives better

geese worse best 20 GRAMMAR: TWO-WORD STAGE The two-word stage is also called the Pivot-Open stage because one of the words is usually a Lexical Word (an open set that refers to something), and the other word is a Functional Word (a closed set with grammatical rather than reference meaning).

In the following sentences, indicate which is the Pivot word and which is the Open word: 21 Adam, Eve, and Sarah Allgone sock. Hi Mommy. Byebye boat. Allgone sticky.

More wet. It ball. Katherine Sock. Dirty sock. 22 Adam, Eve, and Sarah See boy Push it.

See soci. Move it. Pretty boat. Mommy sleep. Pretty fan. Bye-bye melon. More taxi.

Bye-bye hot. More melon. (Adam, Eve, and Sarah) 23 M. L. U. As children progress from the holophrastic to the pivot-open to the telegraphic to the mature stages of language development, a simple but effective gauge of their level of development is MLU.

MLU means Mean Length of Utterance. MLU is the average length of the utterances the child is producing at a particular point. 24 TELEGRAPHIC SPEECH During this stage of development, the functional categories like Determiners, Auxiliaries, Prepositions, Conjunctions and Expletives are missing. And the Lexical categories like Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, and Adverbs (usually without any suffixes) are present.

25 Neil Smith talking to 2-year-old Amahl Cat stand up table. What that? He play little tune. Andrew want that. Cathy build house. No sit there. 26 ACQUISITION OF MORPHOLOGY Neil Smith talking to 2-year-old Amahl

AGE 2: Progressive ing: I singing. Plural s: blue shoes. Copula am, is, are: He is asleep. Articles a, the:

He is a doctor. 27 CHILD: Nobody dont like me. MOTHER: No, say Nobody likes me. CHILD: Nobody dont like me. (dialogue repeated eight times) MOTHER: Now, listen carefully, say Nobody likes me. CHILD: Oh, nobody dont likes me. 28

ADULT: What does [maws] mean? CHILD: Like a cat. ADULT: Yes, What else? CHILD: Nothing else. ADULT: Its part of your head. CHILD: [fascinated] ADULT: [touching childs mouth] Whats this? CHILD: [maws] (Neil Smith talking to 2-year-old Amahl) 29 ACQUISITION OF MORPHOLOGY: AGE 3

AGE 3: Third Person Singular s: He wants an apple Past tense d: I helped Mummy Full Progressive be + -ing: I am singing Shortened Copula:

Hes a doctor Shortened Progressive: Im singing 30 Three-Year Old Jonathan 3-Year Old Jonathan Conducting Beethovens 5th Symphony:

31 CHILDRENS METAPHORS Dont giggle me. I danced the clown. Yawny Babyyou can push her mouth open to drink her. Who deaded my kitty cat? Are you gonna nice yourself? CF: Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. 32 WUG AS A NOUN Make it plural.

Make it possessive. Make it plural and possessive. 33 WUG AS A VERB Put it after he in a sentence. Make it past tense. Make it a past participle. Make it a present participle. 34 WUG AS AN ADJECTIVE OR

ADVERB Make it comparative. Make it superlative. 35 ACQUISITION OF NEGATIVES Stage One: No you catch me. Stage Two: You didnt caught me. Stage Three: You didnt catch me. 36 ACQUISITION OF WH-QUESTIONS

STAGE ONE: What Mummy doing? Why you singing? Where daddy go? STAGE TWO: Where you will go? Why kitty cant see? Why you dont know?

STAGE THREE: Where will you go? Why cant kitty see? Why dont you know? 37 CHILD: Want other one spoon, Daddy. FATHER: You mean, you want the other spoon. CHILD: Yes, I want the other one spoon, please Daddy. FATHER: Can you say, the other spoon? CHILD: Other one spoon.

FATHER: Say other. CHILD: Other. FATHER: Spoon CHILD: Spoon FATHER: Other spoon. CHILD: Other spoon. Now give me other one spoon? 38 CHILD: My teacher holded the baby rabbits and we patted them. ADULT: Did you say your teacher held the baby rabbits? CHILD: Yes ADULT: What did you say she did?

CHILD: She holded the baby rabbits and we patted them. ADULT: Did you say she held them tightly? CHILD: No, she holded them loosely 39 EXPLAIN THE FOLLOWING Self-Directed Louding: Babys getting a rash Rhetorical Questions: Dont you know I just wiped that off? Self-Answered Questions: What does the lamb say? Baaa. Limiting Questions: Do you want chocolate or vanilla? What is the function of egocentric speech? Do adults use this device? 40

RESTRICTED AND ELABORATED CODES In 1971, Basil Bernstein distinguished between local language (restricted codes) and public language (elaborated codes). Restricted codes use he and she instead of Mom and Dad. They use back channels like You know. They use tags like isnt it. They use fewer verbs and adjectives. They use more slang, fixed expressions, and cliches. 41 ACQUISITION OF HUMOR

Even babies have a sense of humor. Adults laugh with children who are playing peek-aboo or watching Sesame Street with its Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. Young children are also fond of knock-knock jokes and riddles. 42 TOILET HUMOR Alvin Schwartz says that children who are six or seven enjoy toilet humor because they no longer have accidents, but they still remember when they did. They

like the following poem: 43 I see London; I see France. I see Betsys underpants. They arent green; they arent blue. Theyre just filled with number two. They also like to talk about the secret parts of the body: Mary had a little bear, The best that she could find. And everywhere that Mary went, There was her bare behind.

44 CONSERVATION HUMOR Paul McGhee told a joke to children of different ages: A man goes into a pizza parlor and tells the server to cut his pizza into four pieces because he isnt hungry enough to eat six pieces. 1st Graders didnt laugh because they didnt get the joke. They hadnt yet mastered conservation. 45

8th Graders didnt laugh because they had mastered conservation so long ago that there was no tension. The students in the middle grades laughed the hardest. They experienced pleasure because they could take pride in the fact that they were able to figure out that the amount of pizza was the same regardless of how many pieces it was cut into. 46 6 LEVELS OF HUMOR

DEVELOPMENT In Antony Chapmans Its a Funny Thing, Humor, Alice Sheppard has outlined six levels of humor development for children: LEVEL 1 (IDIOSYNCRATIC): Involves amusement related to a young childs individual experience as with a surprise, a physical sensation, or a response to someone elses smile or laughter. 47 LEVEL 2 (NORMATIVE): Involves a generalization that implies a rule, or a convention. Later, the child will violate the rule or convention.

LEVEL 3 (EXPECTATION): Involves a reference to the unusualness or the improbability of an event. LEVEL 4 (RELATIONAL): Involves concern for inner motives related to a situation, relations among events, and multiple aspects of the situation. 48 LEVEL 5 (EXTRA-CONTEXTUAL): Involves context beyond the situation implied in the notion of parody, take-off, irony, or satire. It also involves the distinction between appearance and reality; the humor is revealed as contingent upon subtle aspects of events.

LEVEL 6 (PHILOSOPHICAL): Involves the ability to see what is ridiculous in the nature of things and to generalize an outlook from humor examples. 49 A Child Prodigy: 7-YEAR-OLD PLAYING BEETHOVENS RAGE OVER A LOST PENNY: 50

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