Class time: 90 minutes
Goals and objectives:
Students are able to:
- understand importance of language in construction of personal, experiental and shared knowledge
- understand complexity of language (how language can be used in different forms)
- analyze layers of meaning in different contexts (how a text is received and responded to by audiences)
On another occasion, I was dreaming in German, a language I speak reasonably well. I was fishing for an obscure word I would not normally know (as is the case with many dreams, the exact details are quickly forgotten). I came up with a compound word, and even a fairly convincing explanation for how the word was derived. When I awoke, I was intrigued. Did my subconscious access a long-forgotten word, or integrate other words into an inspired solution to a problem? Well, no. When I looked up the English word in a dictionary, I found the German word was completely different. The compound word my subconscious dredged up? Nonexistent. ”
We use language for communication in every sphere of life, no matter do we talk about politics, science, media, literature, arts, small talks etc.
Students may discuss about the video after they watch it. This activity is an introduction to the part of class dedicated to an explanation of Chomsky`s “What, Why, How” questions, How do we learn language?, Why we possess language? , What’s the reason for our having language?
- Noam Chomsky – theory of innate capabilities for learning language(s)
- LAD (Language acquisition device) – an area of our brain which facilitates the development of language. According to Chomsky, LAD enables children to derive the rules of grammar from everyday speech, regardless of the native language.
- “I’m speaking of the kind of creativity that any child demonstrates when he’s able to come to grips with a new situation: to describe it properly, react to it properly, tell one something about it, think about it in a new fashion for him and so on. I think it’s appropriate to call those acts creative, but of course without thinking of those acts as being the acts of a Newton.” ( Human Nature: Justice versus Power, Noam Chomsky debates with Michel Foucault, 1971)
- Burhus F. Skinner (1957) – in his account, environmental influence is of primary significance for language development. He claims that children children learn by associating words with meanings.
Students watch a video of dr. Stephen Pinker, Language as a Window into Human Nature
The discussion activity follows.
According to statistics of National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, USA more then 90% of deaf children have hearing parents and “men are more likely than women to report having hearing loss.”
Deaf children are often delayed in language and complex make-believe play but it semms that deaf infants and toddlers seem to master sign language in much the same way and at about the same pace that hearing children master spoken language.
Deaf 10-month-old often “babble” in signs: they produce signs that are meaningless but resemble the tempo and duration of real signs.
Sign language of blind
Deaf-blind people have many different ways of communication. The methods they use vary, depending on the causes of their combined vision and hearing loss, their backgrounds, and their education.
Closure: 15 minutes
- An announcement that lecture on language will be continued (Language and history, Language and ethics, Language as a weapon, Language and arts)
- A discussion about language and culture(s) – How language “work”? , How language and culture shape and reflect experience? To what extent is language important in shape of cultural identity?
Australian Curriculum, English
Australian Curriculum, Literature
Human Nature: Justice versus Power, Noam Chomsky debates with Michael Foucault
Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, In Your Dreams
The Cambridge English Dictionary, Language
The Oxford Dictionaries, Language
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Brueggemann, Walter. Genesis: Interpretation. Atlanta: John Knox, 1982.
Steven Pinker, Language as a Window into Human Nature, You Tube
Patricia Kuhl, The linguistic genius of babies, TED Talks
I TOUCH YOU (Love story of a blind girl and deaf & mute boy).Short Film