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First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation

First Language Acquisition

Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Supplementary Readings

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation

The following readings have been posted to the Moodle course site: Language Instinct: Chapter 9 Contemporary Linguistics: Chapter 10 (pp. 351-358, 367-374, 378-385) Language Files: Chapter 8 (pp. 319-332)

Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

The Big Picture, Once Again


The Fundamental Question: What are the rules and mental representations that underlie our ability to speak and understand a language?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

The Big Picture, Once Again


The Fundamental Question: What are the rules and mental representations that underlie our ability to speak and understand a language? Another Fundamental Question: How does a child learn this system of rules and mental representations?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

The Big Picture, Once Again


The Fundamental Question: What are the rules and mental representations that underlie our ability to speak and understand a language? Another Fundamental Question: How does a child learn this system of rules and mental representations? A Key Insight (Noam Chomsky; 1950s): This is a deep mystery of human biological development
Newborn baby cant speak English / Six year old can. How did the brain go from the rst state (no language) to the second (English)?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Language Acquisition and Imitation

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings

Another Fundamental Question: How does a child learn this system of rules and mental representations?

Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Language Acquisition and Imitation

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings

Another Fundamental Question: How does a child learn this system of rules and mental representations? The Common Sense Answer: Imitation (duh)

Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Kids learn language by imitating the people around them!

Language Acquisition and Imitation

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings

Another Fundamental Question: How does a child learn this system of rules and mental representations? The Common Sense Answer: Imitation (duh)

Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Kids learn language by imitating the people around them!

The Truth:
Although imitation is involved in language acquisition... There is a lot more to it than just imitation...

Language Acquisition is Not Just Imitation


First Key Fact:
Children say things that theyve never heard before. Children make mistakes all the time: goed [gowd] leafes [lif1z] These mistakes are not random sloppiness. Rather, kids are over-applying a rule of the language: /-d/ as past-tense on go (instead of went) (instead of stridents) /-z/ [-1z] / Cfricative

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Language Acquisition is Not Just Imitation


First Key Fact:
Children say things that theyve never heard before. Children make mistakes all the time: goed [gowd] leafes [lif1z] These mistakes are not random sloppiness. Rather, kids are over-applying a rule of the language: /-d/ as past-tense on go (instead of went) (instead of stridents) /-z/ [-1z] / Cfricative

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Conclusion:
Kids arent just imitating the things they hear. Instead, they are trying to gure out the rules
Like linguists, they make a guess (sometimes wrong) They adjust their hypothesized rules until theyre right.

Language Acquisition is Not Just Imitation


Second Key Fact: Competence precedes Performance
Kids understand things long before they can say them.
(Parents have known this for eons; can also be shown in the lab)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Language Acquisition is Not Just Imitation


Second Key Fact: Competence precedes Performance
Kids understand things long before they can say them.
(Parents have known this for eons; can also be shown in the lab)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

An Example from Phonology:


Kids hear phonemic distinctions they cant actually produce.
Kids hear the difference b/t [S] and [s] before they can say it:

Kid: Gimme s! [fIs] Dad: Is this your s? [fIs] Kid: No! Its my FIS! [fIs]

Language Acquisition is Not Just Imitation


Second Key Fact: Competence precedes Performance
Kids understand things long before they can say them.
(Parents have known this for eons; can also be shown in the lab)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

An Example from Phonology:


Kids hear phonemic distinctions they cant actually produce.
Kids hear the difference b/t [S] and [s] before they can say it:

Kid: Gimme s! [fIs] Dad: Is this your s? [fIs] Kid: No! Its my FIS! [fIs]

An Example from Syntax and Morphology:


Sometimes physical disabilities prevent kids from speaking. When tested, these mute kids still show (essentially) normal levels of comprehension (Stromswold 1994).

Language Acquisition and Rules

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings

Major Conclusion:
Language acquisition is a lot more than just imitation. Acquiring a rst language involves the creation of rules
Children hypothesize rules Over time, they adjust them to match adults.

Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Kids acquire rules without actually using/practicing them.


Kids linguistic knowledge outpaces their speaking ability Mute children learn rst language without ever using it

Factors Complicating Language Acquisition

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

If it werent already amazing that kids below 4 do all this... Various factors make language acquisition really hard.

Factor One: Rules are Complex


First Complicating Factor:
The rule system theyre trying to learn is incredibly complex.
Youve already seen some of the rules making up English... Syllabication Algorithm Allophonic Rules (e.g. Aspiration, V-length) Morphophonemic Rules (e.g. /d/ [t], etc.) Morphological Rules (Right Hand Head Rule; Freakin-Inxation) Syntax Phrase Structure Rules

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Factor One: Rules are Complex


First Complicating Factor:
The rule system theyre trying to learn is incredibly complex.
Youve already seen some of the rules making up English... Syllabication Algorithm Allophonic Rules (e.g. Aspiration, V-length) Morphophonemic Rules (e.g. /d/ [t], etc.) Morphological Rules (Right Hand Head Rule; Freakin-Inxation) Syntax Phrase Structure Rules But, these rules barely scratch the surface... No one has ever written a complete grammar of English. And, somehow, kids below 4 reliably gure out all the rules.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Factors 2 & 3: No Teaching or Correction


Second Complicating Factor:
Kids have to learn the rule system passively.
Kids dont get explicit, easily-digestible grammar lessons Instead, they have to gure it out entirely on their own.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Factors 2 & 3: No Teaching or Correction


Second Complicating Factor:
Kids have to learn the rule system passively.
Kids dont get explicit, easily-digestible grammar lessons Instead, they have to gure it out entirely on their own.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Third Complicating Factor:


Childrens errors arent reliably corrected. And, when they are, they ignore it anyway (Lecture 2).

Factors 2 & 3: No Teaching or Correction


Second Complicating Factor:
Kids have to learn the rule system passively.
Kids dont get explicit, easily-digestible grammar lessons Instead, they have to gure it out entirely on their own.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Third Complicating Factor:


Childrens errors arent reliably corrected. And, when they are, they ignore it anyway (Lecture 2). The Problem This Causes: A crucial part of learning is feedback / correction. (How do kids know when theyve made a mistake?)

Factor Four: No Word Boundaries


Fourth Complicating Factor:
Natural speech does not have word boundaries.
We perceive our language as broken up into words But there are no real phonetic breaks between words Do you want a cookie = [dujuwAnt@kUki]

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Factor Four: No Word Boundaries


Fourth Complicating Factor:
Natural speech does not have word boundaries.
We perceive our language as broken up into words But there are no real phonetic breaks between words Do you want a cookie = [dujuwAnt@kUki] Problem This Causes: To gure out the rules of morphology and syntax, you rst have to know what the words are (How do kids know where the words are?)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Factor Four: No Word Boundaries


Fourth Complicating Factor:
Natural speech does not have word boundaries.
We perceive our language as broken up into words But there are no real phonetic breaks between words Do you want a cookie = [dujuwAnt@kUki] Problem This Causes: To gure out the rules of morphology and syntax, you rst have to know what the words are (How do kids know where the words are?)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Fun Fact:
Kids do make mistakes about word boundaries (Pinker 1995): Parent: Were going to Miami Kid: I dont want to go you your ami [mi]. Parent: Behave! Kid: I am have [hejv] But its a miracle how few such mistakes they make...

Factor Five: Finished by Age 4-6

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Fifth Complicating Factor:


This whole process must be complete by age 4-6
Kids essentially have their 1st language down by 4-6 So, however theyre doing it, its gotta be all wrapped up by then

Language Acquisition and Language Instinct


The Burning Question:
How does a child below 4 gure out all the rules of their 1st language all by themselves (with no help or correction)?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Language Acquisition and Language Instinct


The Burning Question:
How does a child below 4 gure out all the rules of their 1st language all by themselves (with no help or correction)?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Key Idea from the First Week:


Human beings have an instinct to learn a rst language.
Learning a 1st language is hard-wired into our DNA.

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Language Acquisition and Language Instinct


The Burning Question:
How does a child below 4 gure out all the rules of their 1st language all by themselves (with no help or correction)?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Key Idea from the First Week:


Human beings have an instinct to learn a rst language.
Learning a 1st language is hard-wired into our DNA.

Key Consequence of This Idea:


If we have an instinct to learn language (like a bird does a song)

Then, we must have in-born knowledge about what (human) language is like...

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Language Acquisition and Language Instinct


The Burning Question:
How does a child below 4 gure out all the rules of their 1st language all by themselves (with no help or correction)?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Key Idea from the First Week:


Human beings have an instinct to learn a rst language.
Learning a 1st language is hard-wired into our DNA.

Key Consequence of This Idea:


If we have an instinct to learn language (like a bird does a song)

Then, we must have in-born knowledge about what (human) language is like...
Since language is a system of rules and representations...

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Then, this knowledge must concern the rules and representations a (human) language can have!

Language Instinct Aids Acquisition


The Burning Question:
How does a child below 4 gure out all the rules of their 1st language all by themselves (with no help or correction)?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Language Instinct Aids Acquisition


The Burning Question:
How does a child below 4 gure out all the rules of their 1st language all by themselves (with no help or correction)?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

The Exciting Answer:


Children are born knowing what linguistic rules and representations (generally) look like.
So, part of the work of guring them out is already done for us: Our brains come preloaded with a kind of template for linguistic rules. To learn their language, kids just need to ll in their preloaded template

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Learning Rules Without Assumptions


A Supporting Consideration:
If kids really didnt know anything about how linguistic rules look, then learning them is (basically) impossible.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Learning Rules Without Assumptions


A Supporting Consideration:
If kids really didnt know anything about how linguistic rules look, then learning them is (basically) impossible.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Golds Theorem (Computational Learning Theory):


A system cannot reliably learn a (human-like) language without any starting assumptions about what the rules look like.

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Learning Rules Without Assumptions


A Supporting Consideration:
If kids really didnt know anything about how linguistic rules look, then learning them is (basically) impossible.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Golds Theorem (Computational Learning Theory):


A system cannot reliably learn a (human-like) language without any starting assumptions about what the rules look like.
Without such starting assumptions, there are numerous dead ends you can fall into: Stating syntactic rules about specic words: (S the + dog + ran) Stating syntactic rules without using phrases: (Nouns can come before Vs, Vs can come before Ns...) Listing the exact number of As an NP can have: (NP (D) (A) (A) (A) (A) ... N ...)

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Learning Rules Without Assumptions


A Supporting Consideration:
If kids really didnt know anything about how linguistic rules look, then learning them is (basically) impossible.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Main Conclusion:
Given how fast and accurate 1st language acquisition is:
Kids must have some innate assumptions about how linguistic rules look These assumptions serve as a guide, leading kids to the right rules very quickly

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Universal Grammar
Vocabulary: Universal Grammar (UG) The assumptions (knowledge) about linguistic rules that humans are born with.
(Noam Chomsky; 1960s)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Universal Grammar
Vocabulary: Universal Grammar (UG) The assumptions (knowledge) about linguistic rules that humans are born with.
(Noam Chomsky; 1960s)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Question: Whats with the name Universal Grammar?

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Universal Grammar
Vocabulary: Universal Grammar (UG) The assumptions (knowledge) about linguistic rules that humans are born with.
(Noam Chomsky; 1960s)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Question: Whats with the name Universal Grammar?


Its the facts about grammar (linguistic rules) that we are born knowing. Thus, this knowledge is universal to all human beings (and languages).

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Universal Grammar
Vocabulary: Universal Grammar (UG) The assumptions (knowledge) about linguistic rules that humans are born with.
(Noam Chomsky; 1960s)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes

Question: Whats with the name Universal Grammar?


Its the facts about grammar (linguistic rules) that we are born knowing. Thus, this knowledge is universal to all human beings (and languages).

Evidence for Universal Grammar:


It helps explain how language acquisition is possible. There are limits to the kinds of mistakes kids make. There are limits to the kinds of rules languages can have.

Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Limits to Kids Mistakes, Example 1


Morpheme Ordering Constraint (MOC):
Derivational afxes cant go on words that have inectional ones

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Limits to Kids Mistakes, Example 1


Morpheme Ordering Constraint (MOC):
Derivational afxes cant go on words that have inectional ones The rst word in a compound cant have inectional afxes cookie-eater, *cookies-eater mouse-eater, mice-eater (mice does not have plural sufx)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Limits to Kids Mistakes, Example 1


Morpheme Ordering Constraint (MOC):
Derivational afxes cant go on words that have inectional ones The rst word in a compound cant have inectional afxes cookie-eater, *cookies-eater mouse-eater, mice-eater (mice does not have plural sufx)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Fun Fact: Kids below 3 never violate the MOC (Pinker 1995).
Experimenters Question: What do you call a monster that eats mice? Kids Answer 1: Mouse-eater. Kids Answer 2: Mice-eater

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Limits to Kids Mistakes, Example 1


Morpheme Ordering Constraint (MOC):
Derivational afxes cant go on words that have inectional ones The rst word in a compound cant have inectional afxes cookie-eater, *cookies-eater mouse-eater, mice-eater (mice does not have plural sufx)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Fun Fact: Kids below 3 never violate the MOC (Pinker 1995).
Experimenters Question: What do you call a monster that eats mice? Kids Answer 1: Mouse-eater. Kids Answer 2: Mice-eater Experimenters Question: What do you call a monster that eats cookies? Kids Only Answer: Cookie-eater Key Fact: Kids never answer cookies-eater.

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Limits to Kids Mistakes, Example 1


Morpheme Ordering Constraint (MOC):
Derivational afxes cant go on words that have inectional ones The rst word in a compound cant have inectional afxes cookie-eater, *cookies-eater mouse-eater, mice-eater (mice does not have plural sufx)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Fun Fact: Kids below 3 never violate the MOC (Pinker 1995).
Experimenters Question: What do you call a monster that eats mice? Kids Answer 1: Mouse-eater. Kids Answer 2: Mice-eater Experimenters Question: What do you call a monster that eats cookies? Kids Only Answer: Cookie-eater Key Fact: Kids never answer cookies-eater.

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Conclusion:
Kids (even those below 3) are aware of the MOC and obey it.

Limits to Kids Mistakes, Example 2


Stromswold 1990:
Many imaginable syntactic errors are never made by kids.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Limits to Kids Mistakes, Example 2


Stromswold 1990:
Many imaginable syntactic errors are never made by kids.
Linguists drew up several dozen plausible mistakes kids could make with English auxiliary verbs. Adult Pattern Does he seem happy? He did go / He didnt go He likes going He is not happy Is he happy? Imaginable Mistake *Does he be smiling? He did it / *He didnt it *He cans go. *He ate not something. * Ate he something?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Limits to Kids Mistakes, Example 2


Stromswold 1990:
Many imaginable syntactic errors are never made by kids.
Linguists drew up several dozen plausible mistakes kids could make with English auxiliary verbs. Adult Pattern Does he seem happy? He did go / He didnt go He likes going He is not happy Is he happy? Imaginable Mistake *Does he be smiling? He did it / *He didnt it *He cans go. *He ate not something. * Ate he something?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Linguists examined 66,000 sentences of recorded child speech where these mistakes could happen.

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Limits to Kids Mistakes, Example 2


Stromswold 1990:
Many imaginable syntactic errors are never made by kids.
Linguists drew up several dozen plausible mistakes kids could make with English auxiliary verbs. Adult Pattern Does he seem happy? He did go / He didnt go He likes going He is not happy Is he happy? Imaginable Mistake *Does he be smiling? He did it / *He didnt it *He cans go. *He ate not something. * Ate he something?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Linguists examined 66,000 sentences of recorded child speech where these mistakes could happen. Virtually none of these mistakes occurred anywhere. Kids do make mistakes with auxiliary verbs. But, they dont make these kinds of mistakes. Their actual mistakes are limited, and common across kids...

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Limits to Kids Mistakes

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Conclusion:
There are certain kinds of linguistic errors kids never make. Morpheme Ordering Constraint Stromswolds Imaginable (but Unattested) Errors

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Limits to Kids Mistakes

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Conclusion:
There are certain kinds of linguistic errors kids never make. Morpheme Ordering Constraint Stromswolds Imaginable (but Unattested) Errors So, kids never hypothesize rules that would lead to these errors.

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Limits to Kids Mistakes

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Conclusion:
There are certain kinds of linguistic errors kids never make. Morpheme Ordering Constraint Stromswolds Imaginable (but Unattested) Errors So, kids never hypothesize rules that would lead to these errors. So, kids somehow know that such rules would be wrong.

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Limits to Kids Mistakes

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Conclusion:
There are certain kinds of linguistic errors kids never make. Morpheme Ordering Constraint Stromswolds Imaginable (but Unattested) Errors So, kids never hypothesize rules that would lead to these errors. So, kids somehow know that such rules would be wrong. So, kids seem to be born knowing how their rules should look...

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Limits to Kids Mistakes

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Conclusion:
There are certain kinds of linguistic errors kids never make. Morpheme Ordering Constraint Stromswolds Imaginable (but Unattested) Errors So, kids never hypothesize rules that would lead to these errors. So, kids somehow know that such rules would be wrong. So, kids seem to be born knowing how their rules should look... And so, it seems that there is a universal grammar. (assumptions about linguistic rules that humans are born with)

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

UG Predicts Limits to Language Variation


An Exciting Prediction:
If were born with a template for linguistic rules (UG), then all human languages must conform to it.
If a language didnt conform to the template, then kids couldnt learn it.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

UG Predicts Limits to Language Variation


An Exciting Prediction:
If were born with a template for linguistic rules (UG), then all human languages must conform to it.
If a language didnt conform to the template, then kids couldnt learn it.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

So, all languages should show similarities in rules. So, there are some rules that no languages will have.

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

UG Predicts Limits to Language Variation


An Exciting Prediction:
If were born with a template for linguistic rules (UG), then all human languages must conform to it.
If a language didnt conform to the template, then kids couldnt learn it.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence

So, all languages should show similarities in rules. So, there are some rules that no languages will have.

The Prediction is Accurate:


Human languages can be very different from one another. But, there are some logically possible things you never nd. Also, there are certain things that all human languages share.

Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Limits to Language Variation, Example 1

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings

Some Things No Language Does:


Many languages mark questions by altering word order
Example From English: (Dave is a nice guy Is Dave a nice guy?)

Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Limits to Language Variation, Example 1

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings

Some Things No Language Does:


Many languages mark questions by altering word order
Example From English: (Dave is a nice guy Is Dave a nice guy?)

Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

However, no language marks a question by:


Reversing the word-order of a sentence (Dave is a nice guy. Guy nice a is Dave?) Switching the rst and last word of the sentence (Dave is a nice guy. Guy is a nice Dave?)

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Limits to Language Variation, Example 2

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence

Some Features Common to All Human Languages: Lexical Categories (All have Vs and Ns, though many lack As) The Morpheme Ordering Constraint
(Some seem to violate the MOC, but its complicated)

Word Order Universals

Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Word Order Universals in Human Language


All languages follow certain rules about the ordering of:
Subjects (Dave likes John) Verbs (Dave likes John) Objects (Dave likes John)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Word Order Universals in Human Language


All languages follow certain rules about the ordering of:
Subjects (Dave likes John) Verbs (Dave likes John) Objects (Dave likes John)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Those rules, in order of importance are:


1. Subject (S) precedes object (O) 2. O is next to the verb (V) 3. O is not rst in the sentence.

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Word Order Universals in Human Language


All languages follow certain rules about the ordering of:
Subjects (Dave likes John) Verbs (Dave likes John) Objects (Dave likes John)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition

Those rules, in order of importance are:


1. Subject (S) precedes object (O) 2. O is next to the verb (V) 3. O is not rst in the sentence.

These rules explain the frequency of word-orders across the worlds languages:

Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Word Order Universals in Human Language


All languages follow certain rules about the ordering of:
Subjects (Dave likes John) Verbs (Dave likes John) Objects (Dave likes John)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition

Those rules, in order of importance are:


1. Subject (S) precedes object (O) 2. O is next to the verb (V) 3. O is not rst in the sentence.

These rules explain the frequency of word-orders across the worlds languages:
Most Common: SVO, SOV (satisfy all three rules)

Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Word Order Universals in Human Language


All languages follow certain rules about the ordering of:
Subjects (Dave likes John) Verbs (Dave likes John) Objects (Dave likes John)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition

Those rules, in order of importance are:


1. Subject (S) precedes object (O) 2. O is next to the verb (V) 3. O is not rst in the sentence.

These rules explain the frequency of word-orders across the worlds languages:
Most Common: SVO, SOV (satisfy all three rules) 2nd Most Common: VSO (satises 2 rules, including #1)

Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Word Order Universals in Human Language


All languages follow certain rules about the ordering of:
Subjects (Dave likes John) Verbs (Dave likes John) Objects (Dave likes John)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition

Those rules, in order of importance are:


1. Subject (S) precedes object (O) 2. O is next to the verb (V) 3. O is not rst in the sentence.

These rules explain the frequency of word-orders across the worlds languages:
Most Common: SVO, SOV (satisfy all three rules) 2nd Most Common: VSO (satises 2 rules, including #1) 3rd Most Common: VOS (satises 2 rules, but not #1)

Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Word Order Universals in Human Language


All languages follow certain rules about the ordering of:
Subjects (Dave likes John) Verbs (Dave likes John) Objects (Dave likes John)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition

Those rules, in order of importance are:


1. Subject (S) precedes object (O) 2. O is next to the verb (V) 3. O is not rst in the sentence.

These rules explain the frequency of word-orders across the worlds languages:
Most Common: SVO, SOV (satisfy all three rules) 2nd Most Common: VSO (satises 2 rules, including #1) 3rd Most Common: VOS (satises 2 rules, but not #1) 4th Most Common: OVS (satises only 1 rule, #2)

Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Word Order Universals in Human Language


All languages follow certain rules about the ordering of:
Subjects (Dave likes John) Verbs (Dave likes John) Objects (Dave likes John)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition
Language Instinct Aids Acquisition

Those rules, in order of importance are:


1. Subject (S) precedes object (O) 2. O is next to the verb (V) 3. O is not rst in the sentence.

These rules explain the frequency of word-orders across the worlds languages:
Most Common: SVO, SOV (satisfy all three rules) 2nd Most Common: VSO (satises 2 rules, including #1) 3rd Most Common: VOS (satises 2 rules, but not #1) 4th Most Common: OVS (satises only 1 rule, #2) 5th Most Common: OSV (satises no rules) (essentially non-existent)

Universal Grammar and the Evidence Limits to Kids Mistakes Limits to Language Variation

Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Stages of Language Acquisition

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Key Idea from the First Week:


Learning a rst language is a kind of human instinct.

One Piece of Evidence for this Idea:


First language acquisition follows a predicable series of milestones (correlated with age).
Language acquisition is guided an inner, biological clock Thus, its more like maturation than purely social learning (Chomsky)

Summary

Language Learning in the Womb


Claim From First Week:
First language acquisition actually begins prior to birth.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

Language Learning in the Womb


Claim From First Week:
First language acquisition actually begins prior to birth.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

The Experimental Evidence: (Peter Jusczyk, 1970s)


Background Fact: Infants suckle faster when they like an auditory stimulus.

Summary

Language Learning in the Womb


Claim From First Week:
First language acquisition actually begins prior to birth.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

The Experimental Evidence: (Peter Jusczyk, 1970s)


Background Fact: Infants suckle faster when they like an auditory stimulus. Technique: Developed a pacier that could measure rate of sucking Played recordings of both French and English to English and French 4 day olds

Summary

Language Learning in the Womb


Claim From First Week:
First language acquisition actually begins prior to birth.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

The Experimental Evidence: (Peter Jusczyk, 1970s)


Background Fact: Infants suckle faster when they like an auditory stimulus. Technique: Developed a pacier that could measure rate of sucking Played recordings of both French and English to English and French 4 day olds Results: French babies liked French more than English English babies liked English more than French

Summary

Language Learning in the Womb


Claim From First Week:
First language acquisition actually begins prior to birth.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

The Experimental Evidence: (Peter Jusczyk, 1970s)


Background Fact: Infants suckle faster when they like an auditory stimulus. Technique: Developed a pacier that could measure rate of sucking Played recordings of both French and English to English and French 4 day olds Results: French babies liked French more than English English babies liked English more than French Follow-Up Study: Preference stayed when all they could hear was intonation. Preference disappeared when intonation was taken out.

Summary

Language Learning in the Womb


Claim From First Week:
First language acquisition actually begins prior to birth.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax

The Experimental Evidence: (Peter Jusczyk, 1970s)


Background Fact: Infants suckle faster when they like an auditory stimulus. Technique: Developed a pacier that could measure rate of sucking Played recordings of both French and English to English and French 4 day olds Results: French babies liked French more than English English babies liked English more than French Follow-Up Study: Preference stayed when all they could hear was intonation. Preference disappeared when intonation was taken out.

Overall Conclusion:
When kids are in the womb, they begin learning intonation Since thats all they can really hear in there, that makes sense

How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

The Stages of Babbling

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation

Obvious Fact:
Babies babble, and this is related to learning to talk.

Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

The Stages of Babbling

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation

Obvious Fact:
Babies babble, and this is related to learning to talk.

Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Not-So Obvious Fact:


Babbling is not just a simple, uniform behavior There are stages, made up of different kinds of babbling Kids go through these stages at roughly the same ages

Summary

The Stages of Babbling


Stage 1: Cooing (4-6 Months Old)
Very basic, isolated vocalizations (single phones) Due to physiology, usually velar or palatal sounds [u], [gu], [ju]

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

The Stages of Babbling


Stage 1: Cooing (4-6 Months Old)
Very basic, isolated vocalizations (single phones) Due to physiology, usually velar or palatal sounds [u], [gu], [ju]

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Stage 2: Canonical Babbling (7-10 Months Old)


Chains of identical syllables (usually CV) [bAbAbAbAbAbA], [dududududu] Other names for this stage: Reduplicative Babbling, Syllable Babbling

Summary

The Stages of Babbling


Stage 1: Cooing (4-6 Months Old)
Very basic, isolated vocalizations (single phones) Due to physiology, usually velar or palatal sounds [u], [gu], [ju]

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Stage 2: Canonical Babbling (7-10 Months Old)


Chains of identical syllables (usually CV) [bAbAbAbAbAbA], [dududududu] Other names for this stage: Reduplicative Babbling, Syllable Babbling

Stage 3: Variegated Babbling (10-11 Months Old)


Different syllables chained together [bugAbimownAni], [mApAfowsAm] Sounds like kid is speaking alien language Other names for this stage: Jargon Babbling, Gibberish Babbling

Summary

The Stages of Babbling


The Mystery of Babbling Stages:
The order of the babbling stages makes sense, but...
Why canonical babbling? (What does repeating syllables do?) Why do all kids hit the same stages at about the same age?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

The Stages of Babbling


The Mystery of Babbling Stages:
The order of the babbling stages makes sense, but...
Why canonical babbling? (What does repeating syllables do?) Why do all kids hit the same stages at about the same age?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Key Idea: Babbling follows an in-born maturational schedule. Some Evidence: (Eric Lenneberg; 1960s)
Some infants need to have tubes put in their throats These tubes prevent babbling and other forms of vocalization Once the tubes are removed, the children rapidly catch up Before long, they babble at the right level for their physical age!

Summary

The Stages of Learning Phonemes


Key Fact About Learning Phomemes
Babies acquiring English learn phonemes in a uniform order:
1. Labials ([p], [b], [m]) 2. Alveolars ([t], [d], [n], [s], [z]) 3. Velars ([k], [g], [N]) 4. Alveopalatals ([S], [Z], [] []) 5. Dentals ([T], [D])

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

The Stages of Learning Phonemes


Key Fact About Learning Phomemes
Babies acquiring English learn phonemes in a uniform order:
1. Labials ([p], [b], [m]) 2. Alveolars ([t], [d], [n], [s], [z]) 3. Velars ([k], [g], [N]) 4. Alveopalatals ([S], [Z], [] []) 5. Dentals ([T], [D])

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Question: Why this order?


Its not just front of the mouth to back of the mouth Its not just about how common the sounds are in English ([T], [D] are very common in English) Its not just about how difcult the sounds are....

Summary

The Stages of Learning Phonemes


Order English Phonemes are Acquired
1. Labials ([p], [b], [m]) 2. Alveolars ([t], [d], [n], [s], [z]) 3. Velars ([k], [g], [N]) 4. Alveopalatals ([S], [Z], [] []) 5. Dentals ([T], [D])

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling

Fun Fact:
This order matches how rare the sounds are in the world.
Labials are the most common sound in the worlds langauges The second most common are alveolars The third most common are velars The fourth most common are alveopalatals The fth most common are dental fricatives (rather rare in the world)

Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

The Stages of Learning Phonemes


Order English Phonemes are Acquired
1. Labials ([p], [b], [m]) 2. Alveolars ([t], [d], [n], [s], [z]) 3. Velars ([k], [g], [N]) 4. Alveopalatals ([S], [Z], [] []) 5. Dentals ([T], [D])

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Conclusion:
The time it takes to learn to pronounce X correlates with how common X is in the worlds languages.

Summary

The Stages of Learning Phonemes


Order English Phonemes are Acquired
1. Labials ([p], [b], [m]) 2. Alveolars ([t], [d], [n], [s], [z]) 3. Velars ([k], [g], [N]) 4. Alveopalatals ([S], [Z], [] []) 5. Dentals ([T], [D])

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Conclusion:
The time it takes to learn to pronounce X correlates with how common X is in the worlds languages.

A Picture that Emerges:


For every phone X, kids are born knowing how common X is in the world.
The more common the sound is in the world... The more condent the kid is their language has that sound... So, the more quickly they learn how to pronounce the sound...

Summary

How Do Kids Learn Phonemes?


Key Fact from Phonology Unit:
Languages can differ in whether two phones are allophones of the same or different phonemes
In English, [t] and [th ] are allophones of the same phoneme (/t/). In Thai, [t] and [th ] are allophones of the same phoneme.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

How Do Kids Learn Phonemes?


Key Fact from Phonology Unit:
Languages can differ in whether two phones are allophones of the same or different phonemes
In English, [t] and [th ] are allophones of the same phoneme (/t/). In Thai, [t] and [th ] are allophones of the same phoneme.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling

Key Consequence:
One thing kids have to learn is whether certain phones are allophones of the same (or different) phonemes.

Question:
How do kids learn two phones are allophones of same / different phonemes?

Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

How Do Kids Learn Phonemes?


Question:
How do kids learn two phones are allophones of same / different phonemes?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

One Way That Sounds Plausible


Kids are born unable to hear any distinctions between phones (e.g. [t] and [th ]) When learning words, kids learn they must distinguish some phones (the phonemes), but not others (the allophones).

Summary

How Do Kids Learn Phonemes?


Question:
How do kids learn two phones are allophones of same / different phonemes?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

One Way That Sounds Plausible


Kids are born unable to hear any distinctions between phones (e.g. [t] and [th ]) When learning words, kids learn they must distinguish some phones (the phonemes), but not others (the allophones). Thai kids learn to hear the difference between [t] and [th ] English kids dont need to learn to hear the difference (... and so they dont; they are treated as allophones of /t/)

Summary

How Do Kids Learn Phonemes?


Question:
How do kids learn two phones are allophones of same / different phonemes?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling

One Way That Sounds Plausible


Kids are born unable to hear any distinctions between phones (e.g. [t] and [th ]) When learning words, kids learn they must distinguish some phones (the phonemes), but not others (the allophones). Thai kids learn to hear the difference between [t] and [th ] English kids dont need to learn to hear the difference (... and so they dont; they are treated as allophones of /t/)

Surprising Fact:
This is not the way kids do it... The way kids do it is exactly the opposite...

Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

How Kids Learn Phonemes


Question:
How do kids learn two phones are allophones of same / different phonemes?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

The Way Kids Seem to Do It


Kids are born perceiving the differences between all phones Both English and Thai kids start off hearing the difference between [t] and [th ]

Summary

How Kids Learn Phonemes


Question:
How do kids learn two phones are allophones of same / different phonemes?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

The Way Kids Seem to Do It


Kids are born perceiving the differences between all phones Both English and Thai kids start off hearing the difference between [t] and [th ] Kids learn to ignore the difference between some phones English kids learn to ignore the difference b/ [t] and [th ] Thai kids dont; they continue hearing the difference.

Summary

How Kids Learn Phonemes


Question:
How do kids learn two phones are allophones of same / different phonemes?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

The Way Kids Seem to Do It


Kids are born perceiving the differences between all phones Both English and Thai kids start off hearing the difference between [t] and [th ] Kids learn to ignore the difference between some phones English kids learn to ignore the difference b/ [t] and [th ] Thai kids dont; they continue hearing the difference. By learning to ignore the difference between X and Y, kids learn to see them as allophones of the same phoneme.

Summary

How Kids Learn Phonemes


The Experimental Evidence: (Peter Jusczyk, 1970s)
Background Facts: Infants suckle faster when they like some sound When infants hear the same sound over-and-over, they get bored (sucking rate declines) When infants hear a new sound, they get excited (sucking rate increases)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

How Kids Learn Phonemes


The Experimental Evidence: (Peter Jusczyk, 1970s)
Background Facts: Infants suckle faster when they like some sound When infants hear the same sound over-and-over, they get bored (sucking rate declines) When infants hear a new sound, they get excited (sucking rate increases) Experimental Technique: Used a pacier that could measure rate of sucking Played infants a long series of the same allophone ([t]) Once they were bored, changed the sound to another allophone ([th ])

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

How Kids Learn Phonemes


The Experimental Evidence: (Peter Jusczyk, 1970s)
Background Facts: Infants suckle faster when they like some sound When infants hear the same sound over-and-over, they get bored (sucking rate declines) When infants hear a new sound, they get excited (sucking rate increases) Experimental Technique: Used a pacier that could measure rate of sucking Played infants a long series of the same allophone ([t]) Once they were bored, changed the sound to another allophone ([th ]) Results: Below 6 months, English kids suckle faster when [t] is changed to [th ] Above 6 months, English kids dont react when [t] is changed to [th ]

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

How Kids Learn Phonemes


The Experimental Evidence: (Peter Jusczyk, 1970s)
Background Facts: Infants suckle faster when they like some sound When infants hear the same sound over-and-over, they get bored (sucking rate declines) When infants hear a new sound, they get excited (sucking rate increases) Experimental Technique: Used a pacier that could measure rate of sucking Played infants a long series of the same allophone ([t]) Once they were bored, changed the sound to another allophone ([th ]) Results: Below 6 months, English kids suckle faster when [t] is changed to [th ] Above 6 months, English kids dont react when [t] is changed to [th ] Conclusions: Below 6 months, English kids perceive the difference between [t] and [th ] Above 6 months, they dont

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

How Kids Learn Phonemes


Major Conclusions:
Newborns can perceive all the possible phones a human language can have (Universal Grammar) Over time, kids learn to stop distinguishing some phones. Kids give up distinctions their language doesnt use (If kids dont use the distinction, they eventually lose it...)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

How Kids Learn Phonemes


Major Conclusions:
Newborns can perceive all the possible phones a human language can have (Universal Grammar) Over time, kids learn to stop distinguishing some phones. Kids give up distinctions their language doesnt use (If kids dont use the distinction, they eventually lose it...)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

One Final Question:


How do English kids learn to stop distinguishing [t] and [th ]?

Summary

How Kids Learn Phonemes


Major Conclusions:
Newborns can perceive all the possible phones a human language can have (Universal Grammar) Over time, kids learn to stop distinguishing some phones. Kids give up distinctions their language doesnt use (If kids dont use the distinction, they eventually lose it...)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

One Final Question:


How do English kids learn to stop distinguishing [t] and [th ]?

The Surprising Answer:


Well, they must gure out the rule that relates them to /t/. But, the rule is that [th ] appears in the onset of a syllable. So, 6 month olds must be dividing words up into syllables So, 6 month olds already know the syllabication algorithm! (Actually, that algorithm is probably innate...)

Summary

The Stages of Learning Morphemes


Curious Fact:
English children learn inectional morphemes in a set, uniform order: 1. Sufx /-iN/ (jumping, kicking) 2. Plural /-z/ (dogs, cats) 3. Possessive /-z/ (Daddys, Mommys) 4. Determiners the, a 5. Past Tense /-d/ (jumped, kicked) 6. Agreement /-z/ (jumps, kicks) 7. Auxiliary Verb be (He is kicking)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

The Stages of Learning Morphemes


Curious Fact:
English children learn inectional morphemes in a set, uniform order: 1. Sufx /-iN/ (jumping, kicking) 2. Plural /-z/ (dogs, cats) 3. Possessive /-z/ (Daddys, Mommys) 4. Determiners the, a 5. Past Tense /-d/ (jumped, kicked) 6. Agreement /-z/ (jumps, kicks) 7. Auxiliary Verb be (He is kicking)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Question: Why this order?


Its not about how simple the pronunciation is (2, 3, 6 are all homophones! ) Its not about how often the kid hears the morpheme (the and a are most frequent; /-d/ least frequent)

Summary

The Stages of Learning Morphemes


Curious Fact:
English children learn inectional morphemes in a set, uniform order: 1. Sufx /-iN/ (jumping, kicking) 2. Plural /-z/ (dogs, cats) 3. Possessive /-z/ (Daddys, Mommys) 4. Determiners the, a 5. Past Tense /-d/ (jumped, kicked) 6. Agreement /-z/ (jumps, kicks) 7. Auxiliary Verb be (He is kicking)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Question: Why this order?


Its not about how simple the pronunciation is (2, 3, 6 are all homophones! ) Its not about how often the kid hears the morpheme (the and a are most frequent; /-d/ least frequent)

Answer: Its still kind of a mystery!


(see Contemporary Linguistics reading)

Summary

The Stages of Learning Syntax


Key Fact About Acquisition of Syntax
Kids follow a uniform schedule in learning the rules of syntax.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

The Stages of Learning Syntax


Key Fact About Acquisition of Syntax
Kids follow a uniform schedule in learning the rules of syntax.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

First Stage: One-Word Stage (12-18 Months)


Utterances are only single words. But, many multi-word utterances can be understood.

Summary

The Stages of Learning Syntax


Key Fact About Acquisition of Syntax
Kids follow a uniform schedule in learning the rules of syntax.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

First Stage: One-Word Stage (12-18 Months)


Utterances are only single words. But, many multi-word utterances can be understood.

Second Stage: Two-Word Stage (A Few Months Later)


Utterances are only single words or two-word phrases But, many multi-word utterances can be understood.

Summary

The Stages of Learning Syntax


Key Fact About Acquisition of Syntax
Kids follow a uniform schedule in learning the rules of syntax.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes

First Stage: One-Word Stage (12-18 Months)


Utterances are only single words. But, many multi-word utterances can be understood.

Second Stage: Two-Word Stage (A Few Months Later)


Utterances are only single words or two-word phrases But, many multi-word utterances can be understood. Word-order is always correct (Brown 1973) Subject Daddy Verb jump kick put Object ball doggy table table Location

Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

The Stages of Learning Syntax


Interesting Fact:
Even at the One-Word and Two-Word stage, children understand complex sentences.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

The Stages of Learning Syntax


Interesting Fact:
Even at the One-Word and Two-Word stage, children understand complex sentences.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Experimental Evidence: (Hirsh-Pasek & Golinkoff 1991)


Technique Introduce children to Big Bird and Cookie Monster

Summary

The Stages of Learning Syntax


Interesting Fact:
Even at the One-Word and Two-Word stage, children understand complex sentences.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Experimental Evidence: (Hirsh-Pasek & Golinkoff 1991)


Technique Introduce children to Big Bird and Cookie Monster Then, two videos played simultaneously: One where BB tickles CM One where CM tickles BB

Summary

The Stages of Learning Syntax


Interesting Fact:
Even at the One-Word and Two-Word stage, children understand complex sentences.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Experimental Evidence: (Hirsh-Pasek & Golinkoff 1991)


Technique Introduce children to Big Bird and Cookie Monster Then, two videos played simultaneously: One where BB tickles CM One where CM tickles BB Then, two audio recordings, played alternately Look at BB tickling CM! Look at CM tickling BB!

Summary

The Stages of Learning Syntax


Interesting Fact:
Even at the One-Word and Two-Word stage, children understand complex sentences.

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Experimental Evidence: (Hirsh-Pasek & Golinkoff 1991)


Technique Introduce children to Big Bird and Cookie Monster Then, two videos played simultaneously: One where BB tickles CM One where CM tickles BB Then, two audio recordings, played alternately Look at BB tickling CM! Look at CM tickling BB! Key Result: Even kids at One-Word Stage looked at the correct screen. Key Conclusion: Even at 1-Word Stage, kids know English word-order is S-V-O

Summary

The Stages of Learning Syntax


The Stages of Syntax Acquisition:
One-Word Stage Two-Word Stage Three-Word Stage?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

The Stages of Learning Syntax


The Stages of Syntax Acquisition:
One-Word Stage Two-Word Stage Three-Word Stage? NO!

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Third Stage: Telegraphic Stage (A Few Months Later)


Utterances can be many words long (3) However many small words are dropped (e.g. the, a, is...) (Thus, their speech looks like old-timey telegraphs) Examples: Daddy like book. Man ride bus today. Me wanna show Mommy.

Summary

The Stages of Learning Syntax


The Stages of Syntax Acquisition:
One-Word Stage Two-Word Stage Telegraphic Stage

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Interesting Observation:
There is no Three-Word or Four-Word stage. Why?

Summary

The Stages of Learning Syntax


The Stages of Syntax Acquisition:
One-Word Stage Two-Word Stage Telegraphic Stage

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Interesting Observation:
There is no Three-Word or Four-Word stage. Why?
At 2-Word Stage, kids know 2 words can go together in a phrase: [AB] At 2-Word Stage, kids dont know phrases can go together with other words: *[[AB]C]

Summary

The Stages of Learning Syntax


The Stages of Syntax Acquisition:
One-Word Stage Two-Word Stage Telegraphic Stage

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax

Interesting Observation:
There is no Three-Word or Four-Word stage. Why?
At 2-Word Stage, kids know 2 words can go together in a phrase: [AB] At 2-Word Stage, kids dont know phrases can go together with other words: *[[AB]C] Next, kids learn that phrases can go together with other words: [[AB]C] But, once they know that, they (of course) know they can make arbitrarily long structures: [[[AB]C]D]

How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

How Kids Learn Linguistic Rules


Well Known Fact of Child Psychology:
Different kids have different learning styles and strategies
Some are visual learners, other tactile learners... Some need structure, others need to gure it out themselves...

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

How Kids Learn Linguistic Rules


Well Known Fact of Child Psychology:
Different kids have different learning styles and strategies
Some are visual learners, other tactile learners... Some need structure, others need to gure it out themselves...

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

First Language Acquisition is Different:


With 1st language acquisition, all kids use the same strategy : All kids aim to make maximal generalizations

Summary

How Kids Learn Linguistic Rules


Well Known Fact of Child Psychology:
Different kids have different learning styles and strategies
Some are visual learners, other tactile learners... Some need structure, others need to gure it out themselves...

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling

First Language Acquisition is Different:


With 1st language acquisition, all kids use the same strategy : All kids aim to make maximal generalizations

The Universal Strategy in First Language Acquisition:


When kids see a pattern, they leap to as broad a rule as possible They usually leap too far, and apply the rule in places where they shouldnt Then they gradually back off and restrict the rule properly.

Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

Overgeneralization in Language Acquisition


Example: Plural Morphophonemics
The Adult Rule: /-z/ [-1z] / Strident

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

Overgeneralization in Language Acquisition


Example: Plural Morphophonemics
The Adult Rule: /-z/ [-1z] / Strident Many kids temporarily use [-1z] before any fricative (bathes [bT1z] laughes [lf1z])

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

The Kid Rule: /-z/ [-1z] / Fricative


Over time, they restrict the environment for [-1z]

Summary

Overgeneralization in Language Acquisition


Example: Plural Morphophonemics
The Adult Rule: /-z/ [-1z] / Strident Many kids temporarily use [-1z] before any fricative (bathes [bT1z] laughes [lf1z])

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

The Kid Rule: /-z/ [-1z] / Fricative


Over time, they restrict the environment for [-1z]

Example: Past Tense Sufx /-d/


The Adult Rule: Past Tense = /-d/ except for: give, make, think, go...

Summary

Overgeneralization in Language Acquisition


Example: Plural Morphophonemics
The Adult Rule: /-z/ [-1z] / Strident Many kids temporarily use [-1z] before any fricative (bathes [bT1z] laughes [lf1z])

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax

The Kid Rule: /-z/ [-1z] / Fricative


Over time, they restrict the environment for [-1z]

Example: Past Tense Sufx /-d/


The Adult Rule: Past Tense = /-d/ except for: give, make, think, go... All kids temporarily use /-d/ with every verb: (goed [gowd], maked [mejkt], gived [gIvd], ...)

The Kid Rule: Past Tense = /-d/ No Exceptions


Over time, they learn to restrict the words where /-d/ goes

How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

Overgeneralization in Language Acquisition


Example: Causative Use of Verbs
The Adult Rule: A few verbs can be used according to the following pattern: The ice melted The towel dried The dish broke I melted the ice (= I made the ice melt) I dried the towel (= I made the towel dry) I broke the dish (= I made the dish break)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

Overgeneralization in Language Acquisition


Example: Causative Use of Verbs
The Adult Rule: A few verbs can be used according to the following pattern: The ice melted The towel dried The dish broke I melted the ice (= I made the ice melt) I dried the towel (= I made the towel dry) I broke the dish (= I made the dish break)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes

Many kids temporarily apply this pattern to all verbs: Dont giggle me! (= Dont make me giggle) You can drink my doll. (= You can make my doll drink) Over time, they learn to restrict the verbs that follow this pattern

How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

How Kids Learn Rules


The Main Point:
In learning a rst language, all kids employ a very bold strategy: They rst apply a rule as broadly as possible. Gradually, they back off, restrict where the rule applies That all kids do this suggests its in-born in some way...

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

How Kids Learn Rules


The Main Point:
In learning a rst language, all kids employ a very bold strategy: They rst apply a rule as broadly as possible. Gradually, they back off, restrict where the rule applies That all kids do this suggests its in-born in some way...

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition
Language Learning In-Utero Stages of Babbling

A Deep, Puzzling Question:


How do kids learn not to apply a rule? (How do they learn not to say goed)
After all, they arent told when they are wrong. It cant be a simple matter of if I dont hear it, then its wrong: There are lots of things people hardly ever say. How would kids distinguish between wrong and just rare?

Stages of Learning Phonemes How Kids Learn Phonemes Stages of Learning Morphology Stages of Learning Syntax How Kids Learn Rules

Summary

Summary
Another Fundamental Question: How does a child learn this system of rules and mental representations?

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Summary
Another Fundamental Question: How does a child learn this system of rules and mental representations? The Centrality of Rules
Kids dont just imitate the speech they hear They actively hypothesize rules Gradually, they adjust the rules, to match the language they hear

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Summary
Another Fundamental Question: How does a child learn this system of rules and mental representations? The Centrality of Rules
Kids dont just imitate the speech they hear They actively hypothesize rules Gradually, they adjust the rules, to match the language they hear

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

The Difculty of the Task:


A number of factors make learning linguistic rules very difcult:
The rules are extremely complex Kids dont get explicit instruction or correction No word-boundaries in uent speech Learning must be complete in 4-6 years! If nothing is known about how the rules look, its impossible to nd the right ones...

Summary
Another Fundamental Question: How does a child learn this system of rules and mental representations? One Key Hypothesis: Universal Grammar
Language acquisition happens so quickly and accurately because were born knowing how linguistic rules look:
This knowledge of how the rules look is universal grammar. With universal grammar, most of the work of guring out the rules is done for us!

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Summary
Another Fundamental Question: How does a child learn this system of rules and mental representations? One Key Hypothesis: Universal Grammar
Language acquisition happens so quickly and accurately because were born knowing how linguistic rules look:
This knowledge of how the rules look is universal grammar. With universal grammar, most of the work of guring out the rules is done for us!

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Some Evidence for Universal Grammar:


There are certain kinds of errors kids never make. (This suggests they know not to try those rules.) There are certain kinds of rules languages never follow. (This suggests we cant learn those kinds of rules.)

Summary
Some Key Facts About the Way Kids Learn Language: 1. Kids begin learning language in the womb.
All they really learn is intonation. (After all, thats all they can hear!)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

Summary
Some Key Facts About the Way Kids Learn Language: 1. Kids begin learning language in the womb.
All they really learn is intonation. (After all, thats all they can hear!)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

2. Many parts of language acquisition follow a set sequence of universal stages:


Babbling (cooing, canonical babbling, variegated babbling) Phonemes (labials, alveolars, velars, ...) Morphemes (ing, plural, possessive, determiners...) Syntax (one-word, two-word, telegraphic)

Summary
Some Key Facts About the Way Kids Learn Language: 1. Kids begin learning language in the womb.
All they really learn is intonation. (After all, thats all they can hear!)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

2. Many parts of language acquisition follow a set sequence of universal stages:


Babbling (cooing, canonical babbling, variegated babbling) Phonemes (labials, alveolars, velars, ...) Morphemes (ing, plural, possessive, determiners...) Syntax (one-word, two-word, telegraphic)

3. Kids learn phonemes by forgetting


Were born distinguishing between all phones. Over time, we learn to ignore certain distinctions: (e.g. [t] and [th ])

Summary
Some Key Facts About the Way Kids Learn Language: 1. Kids begin learning language in the womb.
All they really learn is intonation. (After all, thats all they can hear!)

First Language Acquisition

Supplementary Readings Language Acquisition and Rule Creation Factors Complicating Language Acquisition Universal Grammar and Language Acquisition Some Stages of Language Acquisition Summary

2. Many parts of language acquisition follow a set sequence of universal stages:


Babbling (cooing, canonical babbling, variegated babbling) Phonemes (labials, alveolars, velars, ...) Morphemes (ing, plural, possessive, determiners...) Syntax (one-word, two-word, telegraphic)

3. Kids learn phonemes by forgetting


Were born distinguishing between all phones. Over time, we learn to ignore certain distinctions: (e.g. [t] and [th ])

4. Kids adopt a bold strategy in learning rules.


Kids begin by applying a rule as broadly as possible. Over time, they learn to restrict where the rule applies.