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Copy of Later Language Acquisition

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Laura Hertlein

on 31 May 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Later Language Acquisition

Laura Hertlein
Hannah Schöffel
Yara (four years old): What's that?
Mother: It's a typewriter.
Yara (frowning): No, you're the typewriter, that's the typewrite.

Kyra Karmiloff and Annette Karmiloff-Smith (2001, p. 79)
Acquisition of Morphology
Later Language Acquisition

- Later Grammar

Children’s grammatical development in the late preschool years includes the acquisition of grammatical morphemes and complex syntactic structures.
Grammatical morphemes are conspicuously absent in children’s early word combinations. It takes children years to fully acquire the morphology of their language.
Average Order of Acquisition of Grammatical Morphemes ( Carroll, W.David, Psychology of Language, p.287)

Order Morpheme Example(s)

1 Present progressive I driving

2--3 Prepositions in, on

4 Plural balls

5 Irregular past tense broke, fell, threw

6 Possessive Daddy’s chair

7 Uncontractible copula This is hot

8 Articles a, the

9 Regular past tense She walked

10 Third person present tense regular He works

11 Third person present tense, irregular She does
Berko (1958) showed children novel creatures and actions that were assigned invented names.

The children were then given the opportunity to supply appropriate morphemes for these invented words .
Berko found that preschool and first-grade children showed productive control of several grammatical morphemes
(plural and possessive inflections for nouns; progressive, past tense, and third-person present tense for verbs)
. This study suggests that children are not merely learning these morphemes in rote fashion but are
acquiring morphological rules
They begin to embellish their simple utterances with function words and grammatical morphemes and to master more complex sentence constructions.

Children become more aware of language units and processes. They become able to size up different communication situations and thereby employ their linguistic resources to the best advantages.
A sample of one child’s utterences
( Carroll, W.David, Psychology of Language, p.285)

Daddy, don’t drink me! (seeing reflection in father’s glass)
You say ‘‘I’m fine too.’’ (directing father’s speech)
Why I can’t put it on?
Milk spills easily.
I’ll be an adult someday.
Tell me what is it. Tell me what it is.
How I do it?
Daddy, I misted you.
I’ll clean it up because I was the one who mested it up.
I playded.
Grammatical Morphemes

Brown (1973a) considered several possible explanations for this sequence of development. One was the frequency with which the child hears these morphemes in adult speech.

Parental frequency of morphemes may be related to some extent to the child’s acquisition of morphemes.

Brown (1973a) also investigated the relationship between linguistic complexity and order of acquisition. He defined linguistic complexity in two ways:
Semantic complexity (also called conceptual complexity)
refers to the complexity of the ideas expressed, whereas
syntactic complexity (also called formal complexity)
refers to the complexity of the
expressions used to
convey the idea.
Items used to test for the plural morpheme in Berko’s study. (Based on ‘‘The Child’s Learning of English Morphology,’’ by J. Berko, 1958, Word, 14, p. 154, International Linguistic Association.)

An overregularization is the child’s use of a regular morpheme in a word that is irregular, such as the past-tense morpheme in
breaked and goed.
First, the child uses the word correctly. Second, the child overregularizes the word.
Rumelhart and McClelland (1986)

Parallel distributed processing model.

It is argued that the mental representation of verbs is a set of connections in a network rather than rules such as the past-tense rule.

That is, children do not explicitly learn grammer, instead, children form associations between sound sequences in a complex network.

Children sometimes alternate a correct form (went), an overregularized form (goed ), and perhaps an amalgam (wented ).

The essence of Rumelhart and McClelland’s model is that the strength of these connections gradually changes over time, partly in response to the language model to which the children are exposed. Thus, the correct form gradually overtakes the others.
Child is operating with two competing mental structures:
rule and a memory model

regular forms are rule-governed
irregular forms are retrieved from lexicon and involve a memory storage

Parallel Distributed Processing Model

only a single mechanism is needed
Later Syntactic Development

A younger child might express agent and action or agent and object in a sentence, a somewhat older child can express all three, as in;

Daddy throw ball.
Mastery of the negative sentence structure comes relatively late for most children. This is primarily because the syntactic structures that must be acquired are rather complex.
Klima and Bellugi (1966) found that negatives come in a series of stages.

(1) No doggie bite.
(2) Doggie no bite.
(3) Doggie doesn’t bite.
(4) Doggie does bite.

The yes/no question is formed by inverting the subject with the auxiliary verb.
Can your baby walk?
Children have considerable difficulty with this rule and often simply use the declarative form with question
as in sentence:

Your baby can walk?
-> Why won't you let me go?
Child correctly handles the affirmative question

What will you do now?

but fails to invert the noun phrase and the auxiliary correctly in the negative sentence

Why you can't sit down?
Children invert negative sentences like

Why won’t you let me go?

as well as affirmative ones.

Passive Sentences

A passive sentence is one in which the agent of the action is the syntactic object of the sentence, as in the sentence:

The cat was chased by the dog.

Preschool children find passives difficult.

Complex Sentences
A complex sentence is one that expresses more than one proposition.

relative clauses
is a construction in which two simple sentences are conjoined. Children combine their sentences using a variety of conjunctions, including but, because, then, so, and, if, and, or.

Jill loved rock and Sally loved jazz.
is a noun phrase that includes a verb.
I want to go home.
(The phrase
to go home
is a complement.)
relative clause
is a wh- clause that modifies a noun.

I did the thing what you just did.
(object relative clause)

The boy who was lost was found unharmed.
(subject relative clause)
Relative Clause

-> suggests that cross-linguistic studies enable us to explore both universal and particular aspects of language.

-> Some aspects of language acquisition appear to be universal.

Locative Expressions
in, on, under, beside, between, front, back
-> similar orders in Italian

The acquisition of relative clauses varies substantially from language to language.

Children use language in productive ways, sometimes producing errors such as overregularizarions.
Cross-Linguistic Differences in Later Grammar
Productivity in Morphology:

Once children acquire morphemes, they begin to use them in productive ways.
noun phrase-auxiliary
-> Where I should put it?
Second Stage
First Stage

The last stage
4 - 4.5 years
3.5 - 4 years
3 - 3.5 years
Social words
-> Italian children have a larger number of them
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