Tag Archives: language development

Mapping the Word

I watched an interesting Ted talk in which cognitive scientist and MIT researcher Deb Roy explains how he wired his house with video cameras to capture the rich details of his son’s language development. A complex motion analysis was applied to the 90,000 hours of video to map out how his son’s social interactions within different domains of the home informed his language development. Roy describes how the analysis revealed the scaffolding of language learning:

“Every time my son would learn a word, we would trace back and look at all of the language he heard that contained that word…And what we found was this curious phenomena, that caregiver speech would systematically dip to a minimum, making language as simple as possible, and then slowly ascend back up in complexity. And the amazing thing was that bounce, that dip, lined up almost precisely with when each word was born — word after word, systematically. So it appears that all three primary caregivers — myself, my wife and our nanny — were systematically and, I would think, subconsciously restructuring our language to meet him at the birth of a word and bring him gently into more complex language. And the implications of this — there are many, but one I just want to point out, is that there must be amazing feedback loops. Of course, my son is learning from his linguistic environment, but the environment is learning from him. That environment, people, are in these tight feedback loops and creating a kind of scaffolding.”

Link to the Ted Talk:


Deb Roy

Newer Modes of Communication Challenging the Written Word

Facebook logoSmartphones and templates offer a newer mode of communication and slowly, it seems, a new language is taking shape. Short, incomplete sentences with alternatively spelled words are dominating the domain. Incomplete thoughts… and abbreviations http://www.netlingo.com/acronyms.php are rapidly becoming familiar.

I’ve (Yiola) bin thinking about literacies and what txt and tweets and FB mean for literacy development. IDK what to make of this. It’s interesting cuz language changes. wordz change. punctuation ceases to exist.  LOL
youth 2day use symbols, short forms, a variety of new symbols to communicate.
I’m still wondering how #hashtag came to be the symbol that it is. #justdontunderstand
The exclamation point has indicated strong emotion. now we have 🙂  😉 and 😦
Is one more correct than the other?
Plz share some insights… i’d luv 2 hear ur thoughts on the implications for teachers, teacher educators, parents. I mean, how r we to communicate and facilitate language development if we r not in tune with social media discourses of youth today? Do we ignore it? Incorporate it? Explicitly teach the differences between formal / traditional language and social text?
ttys, yiola