Textbook Notes (363,006)
Canada (158,140)
Psychology (1,851)
PSY315H5 (33)
Chapter 6

Chapter 6

13 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto Mississauga
Craig Chambers

PSY315 CHAPTER 6 – THE DEVELOPMENT OF SYNTAX AND MORPHOLOGY: LEARNING THE STRUCTURE OF LANGUAGE - Children start to combine words: between 18 months and 2 years Some Features of Adult’s Knowledge of Language Structure The Productivity of Language - Productivity or generativity of language: Speakers and hearers have the capacity to produce and understand an infinite number of novel sentences Syntax - Syntax: governs the ordering of words in sentences - Sentence  John + kissed + Mary o It generates only one sentence o If each rule generates only one sentence, the grammar amounts to no more than a list of sentences - Sentence  Agent of action + Action + Recipient of action o Allows a productive system  Such categories cannot handle all the kinds of sentences speakers produce and listeners understand • Better way – posit even more abstract categories o Categories of verb + noun  Can account for all sentence examples - Sentence  Noun + Verb + Noun o Nouns and verbs are symbols (variables) that stand for a variety of different possible instances in the definition of a sentence  Instances appear in the sentence, but not in the rule - Categories that linguistic rules operate over: o Open-class words (content words) or lexical categories  Words in these categories do most of the work of carrying meaning of a sentence  Can always invent a new noun, verb, or adjective and use It in a perfectly grammatical sentence  Consists of the categories noun, verb, and adjective • Words in these categories do most of the work of carrying meaning of a sentence o Closed-class words (function words) or functional categories  Auxiliaries (can/will), prepositions (in/of), complementizers (that/who), and determiners (the/a)  Can’t really invent new ones  Main role in the sentence is to serve grammatical functions rather than to carry content - Nature of Sentences o Hierarchical structure o Sentences are accounted for by one set of rules:  Sentence  Noun phrase + Verb phrase  Verb phrase  Verb + (Noun phrase)  Noun phrase  (Determiner) + (Adjective) + Noun • Brackets mean optional Morphology - Morphology: units that are combined in language o Morphemes: smallest units of meaning o Bound morpheme: plurality of the noun PSY315 CHAPTER 6 – THE DEVELOPMENT OF SYNTAX AND MORPHOLOGY: LEARNING THE STRUCTURE OF LANGUAGE  Cannot stand by itself as a word  Must be attached to word o Free morpheme: words that stand alone - Inflectional morphology: add grammatical information to words, but they do not change the meaning or the grammatical category of the word o cats – just more of the same thing that cat is, and they are both nouns - Derivational morphemes: form new words, potentially of a different grammatical category o run – manner of locomotion and is a verb; runner – a person who locomotes in that manner and is a noun Descriptive vs. Prescriptive Rules - Prescriptive rules: the implicit rules of grammar taught in an English class - Descriptive rules: take whatever people do as “correct” and try to describe the patterns in it (Linguists) Grammatical Development: Evidence in Language Production The Transition from One-Word Speech - Transitional forms: blur the distinction between one-word and two-word stages of language production - Vertical Constructions o Utter successive single-word utterances that seem to be related to each other in meaning in the same way that the words in a two-word utterance are o Little girl  “Ow. Eye.”  Each word had same intonation contour as if it had been said by itself, and two words were separated by a pause  Expressed meaning involved a relation between the two words  At this stage, children also sometimes produce a single-word utterance that builds on someone else’s previous utterance • Two-word sentence would be a horizontal utterance o Written on the same line in transcription - Unanalyzed Word Combinations and “Word + Jargon” Combinations o Unanalyzed  Some multiword phrases in repertoires that have been memorized as unanalyzed wholes; phrases do not reflect development of the ability to combine words • I want and Idontknow – examples of unanalyzed wholes o Word + Jargon Combinations  Long strings of jargon  Produce utterances longer than one word by inserting one clear word into what is otherwise an incomprehensible babble sequence  “mumble mumble mumble cookie?” • these transitional phenomena may exist simultaneously, so that one child’s first multiword utterances may include some rote-learned wholes, some “jargon + word” combinations, and some truly productive word combinations Early Syntax - Two-Word Combinations o Children’s first word combinations limited in range of relational meanings expressed  Relational meaning: relation between the referents of the words in a word combination PSY315 CHAPTER 6 – THE DEVELOPMENT OF SYNTAX AND MORPHOLOGY: LEARNING THE STRUCTURE OF LANGUAGE • “my teddy” – the word “my” refers to the speaker, and the word “teddy” refers to a stuffed animal o relational meaning is that of a possession o Brown  Child’s grammar at the two-word stage is a vehicle for expressing a small set of semantic relationships  Particular semantic relationships expressed at this stage reflect the level of cognitive development typical of children of this age • Agent + action – Daddy sit • Action + object – drive car • Agent + object – mommy sock • Agent + location – sit chair • Entity + location – toy floor • Possessor + possession – my teddy • Entity + attribute – crayon big • Demonstrative + entity – this telephone o Combinatorial speech  Particular words reflect the language the children have been exposed to  Cognitive development provides categories for this type of speech  Speech in which words are combined in utterances (in contrast to single-word utterances) - Three-Word and More Combinations o What changes with development is the upper limit on the length of utterance children can produce o Three-Word Combinations  Many of the meanings expressed are combinations of the relational meanings in two-word combinations, with the redundant terms mentioned only once • “I watch it” – could be described as “agent + action” and “action + object”  children’s utterances at this stage are almost exclusively about the here and now o Early sentences tend to be imperatives and affirmative, declarative statements, as opposed to negations, or questions o Certain types of words and bound morphemes consistently tend to be missing o Telegraphic speech: children’s speech at this point in development because omission of certain words and morphemes makes children’s utterances sound like the sentences adults used to produce when writing telegrams in which the sender paid by the word The Telegraphic Nature of Early Combinatorial Speech - words included in early sentences of children acquiring English are primarily words from major grammatical categories of nouns, verbs, and adjectives - missing elements are determiners, prepositions, auxiliary verbs, and bound morphemes that go on the ends of nouns and verbs o Grammatical morphemes: missing forms, because the use of these words and word endings is tied to particular grammatical entities  The and A can appear only at the beginning of a noun phrase, ing is typically attached to a verb • Grammatical elements do carry some meaning, carry less meaning than nouns and verbs in the utterance PSY315 CHAPTER 6 – THE DEVELOPMENT OF SYNTAX AND MORPHOLOGY: LEARNING THE STRUCTURE OF LANGUAGE  Primary function is structural; “linguistic hooks and eyes that hold sentences together” - Why have these grammatical functors and inflections been omitted? o Not essential to meaning  Children have cognitive limitations on length of utterance they can produce, independent of their grammatical knowledge • May leave out least important parts o Tend to be words not stressed in adults’ utterances, and children may leave out unstressed elements o Children’s underlying knowledge does not include grammatical categories that govern the use of the omitted forms  18-month olds, but not 15-month olds listen longer to passages that use grammatical functors correctly than to passages that are identical except that the grammatical functors are incorrect Morphological Development - Morphological Development in Children Acquiring English o Missing forms in children’s telegraphic speech begin to appear in utterances around the time that the first three-word utterances appear o Transition takes a long time  First grammatical morphemes typically appear with first three-word utterances  Most grammatical morphemes are not reliably used until more than a year later, when children are speaking in long, complex sentences o Acquisition of grammatical morphemes is not an all-or-none phenomenon  Either for the morphemes as a group, or even at the level of individual morphemes o Order in which the 14 different morphemes are acquired is very similar across different children - Morphological Development in Children Acquiring Languages Other than English o A system that is regular and predictable (Turkish) results in fewer errors committed by children learning the system than a system with many exceptions (Russian) o Within a language, some grammatical morphemes seem easier to acquire than others  Morphemes are easy to acquire when they are frequent and have recognizable form • If morphemes have a fixed position relative to the stem they attach to and a clear function – easier to acquire • Also easy to acquire if morphemes are easy to segment from the stem and if the rhythm of the language makes the morphemes perceptually salient The Development of Different Sentence Forms - Imperative sentences seem to be most frequent forms at first - Declaratives become most frequent form by 30 months - Questions are the least frequent category – more frequent as children become older - English o Forming questions and negative sentences require auxiliary verbs  Auxiliaries are late acquisitions • Children do not wait until they have acquired the adult means of expression to make negative statements and to form questions o The means of expression negation and questions changes PSY315 CHAPTER 6 – THE DEVELOPMENT OF SYNTAX AND MORPHOLOGY: LEARNING THE STRUCTURE OF LANGUAGE - Expressing Negation o Earliest use is in the form of a negative marker (no or not) to the beginning or end of sentence  Shake their heads as they utter an affirmative statement o Then produce sentences in which negative marker is inside sentence (I no want go in there)  Sentences still not adult-like because they don’t use auxiliaries o As children acquire auxiliaries, negative expressions take adult form - Asking Questions o Yes/no questions: can be answered with either “yes” or “no” o Wh- questions: begin with wh- words, such as “who,” “where,” “what,” “why,” or “when,” and also include “how” o First yes/no questions marked by intonation o Wh-questions are typically affirmative statements with a wh- word at the beginning “What that is?” o Then auxiliaries appear in questions o Yes/no questions – auxiliaries added to the beginning of the utterance, which constructs grammatical yes/no question “Will it fit in there?” o Wh- questions are still not adulthood because children do not invert subject and auxiliary  Produce sentences like “What a doctor can do?” o When subject-auxiliary inversion acquired, wh- questions are adult-like in form - Using Passive Forms o 3 ½ years old – children produce passive forms in their spontaneous speech o frequency of passives in children’s speech continues to grow, even after age 5 o passives that use the verb to be are more frequent than get passives  two forms of passives tend to be used to express different sorts of meanings – both by adults and by children from the time they first begin to produce passives o Get passives tend to be used to describe something negative that happened in an animate entity – a person or animal o Be passives tend to be about inanimate things - Producing Complex Sentences o Complex Sentence: sentences that contain more than one clause (i.e. more than one verb) o Many different types of complex sentences, and some appear in children’s spontaneous speech much earlier than others do o First complex sentences appear after children are regularly produce four-word utterances  Around 2 years o 2-3 years: children add to their repertoire of complex constructions and use them with increasing frequency o 4 years: children use most of the different complex sentence types Individual Differences in Grammatical Development - Holistic (top-down): more characteristic of some children than of others – consists of memorizing large, unanalyzed large chunks of speech - Analytical (bottom-up): breaking down speech into smaller units and then combining them Measuring Grammatical Development from Spontaneous Speech PSY315 CHAPTER 6 – THE DEVELOPMENT OF SYNTAX AND MORPHOLOGY: LEARNING THE STRUCTURE OF LANGUAGE - Average length of utterances (counted in morphemes) has been widely used as a measure of children’s syntactic development - Mean Length of Utterance (MLU): A common measure of grammatical development. It is the average length of the utterances in a sample of spontaneous speech, usually counted in terms of the number of morphemes o Provides a better indicator of a child’s level of productive grammar than does age – up to an MLU of 3.0 o After MLU exceeds 3.0, its usefulness as a predictor of the complexity of children’s utterances declines - Stages: o Stage I (MLU = 1.01 – 1.99), children begin to combine words o Stage II (MLU = 2.00 – 2.49), children begin to add grammatical morphemes to their word combinations o Stage III (MLU = 2.50 – 2.99), children begin to use different sentence modalities (negative and question) o Stage IV (MLU = 3.00 and up), children begin to use complex sentences o Stage V, new forms of complex sentences emerge - Index of Productive Syntax (IPSyn) – used to characterize the grammatical complexity of spontaneous speech in children between 2 and 4 years and has the advantage that it captures individual differences after an MLU of 3.0 has been reached - MacArthur inventories – assess grammatical development by asking caregivers to report whether the child combines words and to report longest three utterances the child has produced o Reported utterances used to generate a mean length measure that captures upper limit of child’s abilities o Yields grammatical complexity score by including a series of pairs of expressions, in which one is more advanced than the other, and the caregiver reports which utterance sounds more like the child Grammatical Development: Evidence in Language Comprehension Strategies Children Use - Response strategies: enable them to respond to speech they only partially understand o Likely to respond to speech by doing something o Action strategy allows children to produce appropriate responses to much of what is typically said to them o Success of this strategy depends on child’s ability to figure out the correct action without fully understanding the sentence o Derive sentence meaning from knowledge of the world rather than from knowledge of syntactic structure - Sentence comprehension strategies o Word order strategy  Whatever is mentioned first in the sentence as the subject and what is mentioned second as the object • Produces incorrect responses to passive sentences o Order-of-mention strategy  To interpret complex sentences with two events o Recourse to world knowledge  Probable-event strategy PSY315 CHAPTER 6 – THE DEVELOPMENT OF SYNTAX AND MORPHOLOGY: LEARNING THE STRUCTURE OF LANGUAGE • Allows children to correctly act out sentences “the mouse was chased by the cat,” even though the word order strategy doesn’t work o Children will reverse the sequence of events when presented with non-probable sentences Children’s Comprehension of Sentence Structure - Understanding Word Order o When children were presented with normal and scrambled Spanish sentences, children learning English showed no preference, but children learning Spanish did o Children show sensitivity to meaning carried by word order by the age of 16 months - Early Comprehension of Grammatical Morphemes o Sequence of grammatical development that occurs in comprehension is like the sequence seen in production, but it occurs earlier o Grammatical competence is achieved very early - Comprehension of Underlying Structural Relations - Difficulties Understanding Co-reference Relations in Complex Sentences by Older Children o Acquisition of grammar is essentially complete by age 4 o Carol Chomsky – argued this previous view that language acquisition was complete by age 5  Found that 5-year-old children have not acquired all the structural principles of the grammar and that they rely, as younger children do, on strategies that look to meaning, context, or surface properties of the sentence for clues to sentence interpretation o Issue:  UG is innate • Generative linguistic approach – co-reference relations are a component of UG o Contradiction: UG is innate and UG handles the interpreta
More Less

Related notes for PSY315H5

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.