Discussion Questions

  1. Discuss the difference between expressive and and receptive language.  Which part of the brain is responsible for each type of language? Create a mnemonic to remember this.
  2. Give an example of learning language using the behaviorist theory.  Give an example of learning language using the nativist theory and another using the interactionist theory.
  3. Have you spent time around infants and toddlers? Give an example of a time when you had a conversation with the child and the child understood you but did not have the language ability to respond.
  4. How many languages do you speak? Do you remember trying to learn a second language? If you did not learn more than one language at the same time, the language you learned at an older age was probably more difficult to learn.  Discuss your experience.
  5. Before reading this chapter, did you think that when a baby first uttered the sounds “mama” or “dada” that it meant “mommy” or “daddy”?  Why do you think people believe infants think they are saying mommy and daddy?
  6. What is your opinion on using sign language with babies? If you had an infant, would you teach the infant sign language? Why or why not?
  7. Why do you think lower SES parents speak less to their children?
  8. Can you think of any examples of a child using a word incorrectly? Your book gives the example of a child saying, “Daddy goed to work.”  What word have you heard a child say incorrectly? Did an adult correct the child? If so, what happened?
  9. Have you ever heard a child use egocentric speech or private speech?  If so, give an example.
  10. Can you think of a time in which you and your teenage friends used a word to describe something, and the adults did not understand what you meant?  For example, a person may say, “That shirt is tight.”  They mean the shirt looks good. Discuss common words you and your friends have used that adults did not know.
  11. What approach did your teacher used to teach you to read? Which approach do you think is the best? Why?
  12. Do you use social media? If so, do you pay attention to your grammar? Why or why not?
  13. Do you think each person should learn to speak a second language? Why or why not?