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Review Qs 7- PoS1.docx

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Cognitive Sciences
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PSYCH 150
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pearl

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Description
Psych156A/ Ling150 Spring 2012 Review Questions: Poverty of the Stimulus (1)Terms/concepts to know: Set Subset Superset Poverty of the stimulus Impoverished data Prior knowledge Auxiliary verb Yes/no questions Complex yes/no questions Structure-dependent Nativist Linguistic nativist Subset Problem Subset Principle Conservative learner Size Principle Anaphoric one Linguistic antecedent Syntactic island Domain-general vs. domain-specific Innate vs. derived Universal Grammar hypothesis (2) Why is the set of sentences actually in English a subset of the set of sentences that could possibly be in English? (Hint: Can you think of sentences that are not grammatical in English? Are these inside or outside the set of sentences that are actually in English?) This is because we can generate an infinite set of items, but there is now way to actually remember the infinite set. The possible English set of sentences is a subset because we mentally know the rules and patterns that generate the items that are part of a language. While all sentences actually in English are not grammatically correct therefore there are more infinite choices. 1. The set of sentences actually in English are a subset of the sentences that could possibly be in English because the sentences not in English are a combination of known words. There are an infinite number of ways to combine known English words into sentences and those that are real English sentences are a smaller group than those that are not English sentences. The smaller set of actual English sentences are more refined and have less possibilities. (3) Is the set of sentences children encounter while they’re forming their mental grammar larger than (a superset of) or smaller than (a subset of) the set of sentences they need to be able to eventually generate as competent speakers of their native language? How do you know? The set of sentences children encounter while forming their mental grammar is larger than the 1. The set of sentences that children encounter while they’re forming their mental grammar is smaller than the set of sentences they need to be able to eventually generate as competent speakers of their native language because we have evidence that children produce sentences and word combinations that they have not heard before. Children must make the right generalizations from data that are compatible with multiple generalizations. The data encountered are impoverished. They do not single out the correct generalizations by themselves. (4) Why can the data that children encounter be considered an impoverished data set? (Hint: What does it mean to be impoverished?) This is because they do not single out the correct generalizations by themselves because the stimulus is too poor to figure out. 1. The data that children encounter can be considered an impoverished data set because they do not single out the correct generalizations by themselves. The items encountered are too impoverished because they do not pick out every option. (5) What does prior knowledge accomplish in the poverty of the stimulus argument? What behavior do children need to display in order for prior knowledge to be supported? Prior knowledge causes them to never to consider the incorrect hypotheses. Instead, they only consider the correct hypothesis for what the rules and patterns of the language might be. 1. Prior knowledge helps the children because they encounter data that are compatible with many hypotheses about the correct rules and patterns of the language. The data encountered are compatible with both the correct hypothesis and other, incorrect hypotheses about the rules and patterns of the language. Children never produce errors compatible with the incorrect hypotheses. They only seem to produce items that are compatible with the correct hypothesis. Therefore, children have some prior knowledge that causes them never to consider the incorrect hypotheses. Instead, they only consider the correct hypothesis for what the rules and patterns of the language might be. (6) How do structural distinctions like main vs. embedded clauses figure into the rule that English speakers know for forming yes/no questions? Main clauses figure into the rule into forming a yes/no question because it works for all the examples in English. Rule: Move the auxiliary verb in the main clause to make a yes/no question. While if you move the auxiliary verb in the embedded clause, it doesn’t always work for all sentences. 1. Structural distinctions like main vs embedded clauses figure into the rule that English speakers know for forming yes/no questions this approach tries to look at sentences structure, not just he linear order of the words in sentences. Embedded clauses are additional descriptive sentences that are not part of the main clause. This rule for yes/no sentences states that we should move the auxiliary verb in the main clause to make a yes/no question. This is a rule dependent on the structure of the sentences, since it refers to the “main clause”. (7) How do children’s performance on complex yes/no questions in English demonstrate constrained generalization in children? (Hint: What does it mean to have constrained generalization? What kind of yes/no question data do children often encounter? Are these data compatible with only one grammatical rule, or many different grammatical rules? How would a rational learner behave in this situation, and how do children actually behave?) Children normally encounter simple yes/no questions. But their performance on complex yes/no questions shows that children as young as 3 years old don’t make these mistakes. They use the right rules for the complex yes/no question. 1. Children’s performance on complex yes/no questions in English demonstrate constrained generalization in children because children constrain their generalizations in a specific way, based on their innate knowledge. It may be domain specific knowledge about language or domain-general knowledge. Children constrain their generalizations in a specific way, based on their innate knowledge of language. Most of the yes/no questions that children normally encounter consist of simple yes/no questions with only one auxiliary verb. They do not encounter all of the examples we saw. They encounter a subset of the possible yes/no questions in English. The simple yes/no questions are compatible with a lot of different rules. A rational learner would predict that if children consider all these hypotheses they should make mistakes on more complex yes/no questions. Evidence showed that actual children as young as three years old don’t make these mistakes. They use the right rules for this complex yes/no question. (8) What kind of knowledge does the nativist position believe children have in order to correctly learn how to form yes/no questions in English? (Hint: Is it innate or derived?) Nativist position: Children have an innate bias to look for rules that make use of sentence structure. Specifically, they only consider rules that are structure- dependent. 1. The linguistic nativist position believes that children constrain their generalizations in a specific way, based on their innate knowledge of language. The nativist position says that children constrain their generalizations in a specific way, based on their innate knowledge but may be domain-specific knowledge about language or domain-general knowledge. (9) What is the difference between a linguistic nativist and a nativist? What kind of knowledge does each believe is necessary for English children to correctly learn how to form yes/no questions in English? Nativists say: Children constrain their generalizations in a specific way, based on their innate knowledge. (But it may be domain-specific knowledge about language or domain-general knowledge.) Linguistic nativists say: Children constrain their generalizations in a specific way, based on their innate knowledge of language. 1. The difference between linguistic nativist and a nativist is that nativists believe that children use domain-specific and domain-general knowledge, which means that it is derived knowledge, while linguistic nativists believe that this is purely innate knowledge. (10) Does children’s pronoun interpretation show evidence of constrained generalization? How do you know? Yes, because the order of pronoun and name matters. Children seem to know this without being taught. Example: While Jareth danced around the throne room, he smiled. (he = Jareth) He smiled while Jareth danced around the throne room. (Adults: he  Jareth) (Children: he  Jareth) 1. Crain & McKee’s study show that children’s pronoun
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