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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP Psychology
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  • Language is our spoken, written or signed words and the ways we combine them to communicate meaning
  • Linguistics are the scientific study of language—subcategories include phonology, morphology, syntax, grammar, semantics, pragmatics and more
  • Phonemes are the smallest distinctive sound unit
  • Morpheme: in a language, the smallest unit that carries meaning; may be a word or a part of a word (such as a prefix)
  • Grammar: in a language, a system of rules that enables us to communicate with and understand others
  • Syntax: the rules for combining words into grammatically sensible sentences in a given language
  • Semantics: the set of rules by which we derive meaning from morphemes, words, and sentences in a given language; also, the study of meaning
  • Language development occurs in every healthy member of the human species—and does so in a predictable manner—babbling, one-word stage, two-word stage, and full sentence speaking
  • Children have learned 80% of the language they will every need by the age of ten
  • Noam Chomsky theorized the “language acquisition device” an innate ability to learn language(s) that one is exposed to during development
  • Other theories of language exist
  • Linguistic relativity proposes that people’s thoughts and language are influenced by each other
  • Being a polyglot is advantageous


Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  1. Intro
    • Objective
    • Linguistics
    • Language
    • Phonemes
    • Phonology -- Is It Any Wonder…English?
    • More Phonology
    • Phonology -- The Last Bit
    • Morphemes
    • Language
    • Semantics
    • Language Development
    • Language Development
    • Ages 6-10
    • Language Development: Nativist Theory
    • Language Development: Behavioral
    • Language Development
    • Linguistic Theories and Cognition
    • Advantages to Being a Polyglot
    • Language Development: Interactionist
    • Review
    • Intro 0:00
    • Objective 0:10
      • Synthesize How Biological, Cognitive, and Cultural Factors Converge to Facilitate Acquisition, Development, and Use of Language
    • Linguistics 0:26
      • Graphic Depicting the Various Types of Linguistic Study
    • Language 1:15
      • Our Spoken, Written, or Signed Words and the Ways We Combine Them to Communicate Meaning
      • Linguistics: The Scientific Study of Language -- Subcategories Include Phonology, Morphology, Syntax, Grammar, Semantics, Pragmatics, and More
      • Phoneme: The Smallest Distinctive Sound Unit
    • Phonemes 3:47
      • Practice Hearing the Sounds
      • What's the First Sound in the Word Cut? What's the Final Sound? What's the Medial Sound/Vowel Sound? Now, What's the First Sound in the Word Cute? The Final Sound? The Vowel Sound (Medial Sound)?
      • What's the First Sound in the Following Words?
    • Phonology -- Is It Any Wonder…English? 4:59
      • What is the Final Sound in the Following Words?
      • How Many Phonemes (Sounds) Are in These Words?
      • Very Little Weight is Given to This Idea in AP Psych
    • More Phonology 6:51
      • The Underlined Sounds in Each Pair of Words May Look the Same, But They Are Different. Can You Detect the Differences?
      • How are the Underlined Sounds Different in These Pairs?
    • Phonology -- The Last Bit 8:51
      • How Are These Pairs Different in Spoken English?
      • What Distinguishes the Underlined Words in These Sentences?
    • Morphemes 10:57
      • Morpheme: In a Language, the Smallest Unit That Carries Meaning; May Be a Word or Part of a Word (Such as a Prefix)
    • Language 11:19
      • Grammar: In a Language, a System of Rules That Enables Us to Communicate With and Understand Others
      • Syntax: The Rules for Combining Words Into Grammatically Sensible Sentences in a Given Language
    • Semantics 13:24
      • Semantics: The Set of Rules by Which we Derive Meaning From Morphemes, Words, and Sentences in a Given Language; Also the Study of Meaning
      • Ambiguity
      • Stress on a Word Changes Meaning
    • Language Development 16:02
      • Babbling: Beginning at About 4 Months, the Stage of Speech Development in Which the Infant Spontaneously Utters Various Sounds at First Unrelated to the Household Language
      • One-Word Stage: The Stage in Speech Development, From About Age 1 to 2, During Which a Child Speaks Mostly in Single Words
      • Sometimes Called the Holophrastic Stage Since the Meaning of an Entire Sentence Can Be Condensed Into One Word
    • Language Development 17:13
      • Two-Word Stage: Beginning About Age 2, the Stage in Speech Development During Which a Child Speaks Mostly Two Word Statements
      • Telegraphic Speech: Early Speech State in Which a Child Speaks Like a Telegram -- Go Car -- Using Mostly Nouns and Verbs
    • Ages 6-10 18:12
      • Children Can Master Syllable Stress Patterns to Distinguish Among Words
      • Children Have Learned 80% of the Language They Will Ever Need. Nearly All the Rest is Learning Complexity, Metaphors, Irony, Puns, Simile, Allegory, etc.
    • Language Development: Nativist Theory 19:34
      • Noam Chomsky, MIT Linguist
      • LAD or Language Acquisition Device
      • Inborn Ability (Biologically Created in the Brain) to Learn Whichever Language(s) One Grows Up With -- This Occurs Universally
    • Language Development: Behavioral 20:59
      • Skinner: Operant Learning
    • Language Development 21:39
      • Statistical Learning and Critical Periods
    • Linguistic Theories and Cognition 22:54
      • Linguistic Determinism: Whorf's Hypothesis That Language Determines the Way We Think
      • Linguistic Relativity: Variation of Whorf's Hypothesis That Assumes That Language and Thought Have Influences on Each Other -- The Language One Speaks Influences How One Thinks, and Vice Versa
    • Advantages to Being a Polyglot 27:02
      • Bilingual Advantage
    • Language Development: Interactionist 28:45
      • The Interactionist Perspective Consisting of Social-Interactionist
      • Children Learn Language in the Interactive and Communicative Context
      • Learning Language Forms Meaningful Moves of Communication
      • These Theories Focis Mainly on the Caregiver's Attitudes and Attentiveness to Their Children in Order to Promote Productive Language Habits
    • Review 29:52
      • What Are the Structural Components of a Language?
      • What are the Milestones in Language Development?
      • How Do We Learn Language?
      • What is the Relationship Between Language and Thinking?