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Chapter 10

chapter 10


Department
Linguistics
Course Code
LINA02H3
Professor
Chandan Narayan
Chapter
10

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Chapter 10 First Language Acquisition
10.1
The end result of acquisition is grammar the mental system that allows people
to speak and understand a language
Simple memorization of a fixed inventory of words and sentences would not equip
learners to deal with previously unheard utterances a basic requisite of normal
language use
Second indication of children attempt to learn grammar is run-of-the-mill errors
(i.e.: doed, runned and goed)
10.1.1
Naturalistic approach observe and record children spontaneous utterances
Diary study one type of naturalistic approach: researcher (often a parent)
keeps daily notes on a childs linguistic progress
Naturalistic studies tend to be longitudinal, takes a long period of time to
conduct to see the changes over time
oDownfall: some of the structures and phenomenon may occur rarely in
childrens everyday speech, making it difficult to gather enough
information from natural speech samples to test hypothesis or draw firm
conclusions
And more compounded by the fact that speech samples from
individual children capture only a small portion of their utterances
at any given point in development
Experimental studies, typically make use of specially designed tasks to elicit
linguistic activity relevant to the phenomenon that they wish to study
oTypically is cross-sectional, it investigates and compares the linguistic
knowledge of different children at a particular point in development
Might involve conducting a single experiment with representatives
from different groups and compare
Since childrens ability to comprehend language is often more advanced than
their ability to produce sentences of their own, production tasks can provide an
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overly conservative view of linguistic development unless they are accompanied
by other types of tests
10.2
10.2.1
Ability to produce sounds begins around six months of age, with the onset of
babbling
oProvides the opportunities to experiment with and begin to gain control
over their vocal apparatus important prerequisite for later speech
Due to medical conditions, those who are unable to babble will experience
significant delay of speech development
Even deaf children babble, although their articulatory activity is somewhat less
varied than that of hearing children
10.2.2
Babbling increase in frequency until the age of about 12 months, at which time
children start to produce their first understandable words
oBabbling may overlap with the production of real words for several weeks
before dying out
By the time children have acquired fifty words or so, they begin to adopt fairly
regular patterns of pronunciation
oAs a group, vowels are generally acquired before consonants (by age 3)
oStops tend to be acquired before other consonants
oIn terms of place of articulation, labials are often acquired first, followed
by alveolars, velars and alveopalatals. Interdental are acquired last
oNew phonemic contrasts manifest themselves first in word-initial position.
Thus, the /p/-/b/ contrast, for instance, is manifested in pairs such as pat-
bat before mop-mob
10.2.3
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Even children who are unable to produce the difference between words a like
mouse and mouth may nonetheless be able to point to the pictures of the correct
objects in a comprehension task
Syllables bearing primary or secondary stress are more noticeable than their
unstressed counterparts, they tend to be more silent to children in the early
stages of the language acquisition process
Syllable simplification
Reduction of consonant clusters
o[s] + stop (strategy: delete [s])
Stop > [tp]
oStop + liquid (strategy: delete liquid)
Try > [taj] suppose to be [traj]
oFricative + liquid (strategy: delete liquid)
Sleep > [sip]
oNasal + voiceless stop (strategy: delete nasal)
Bump > [bp]
Substitution
Stopping: the replacement of a fricative by a corresponding stop
oStopping (continuant > stop): zebra > [dibr] changed from z > d
Fronting: moving forward of a sounds place of articulation
oJump > [dzmp] changed from >
Gliding: the replacement of a liquid by a glide
oRock > [wk] changed from r > w
Denasalization: replacement of nasal stop by a non-nasal counterpart
oSpoon > [bud] changed from n>d
Assimilation
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