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ERIC Number: ED021239
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1968-Aug
Pages: 20
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Suprasentential and Substitution Tests in First Language Acquisition.
Von Raffler Engel, Walburga
In the current debate about the development of language in children, the author agrees with those psycholinguists who emphasize the role of "imitation followed by analogical extension." That is to say, that if there are inborn discovery procedures for the acquisition of language, they are distributional rather than transformational in nature. On the basis of observations of monolingual and bilingual children, the author feels that "the memorization of a fixed linguistic model associated with a constant non-linguistic behavior is at the root of the child's language acquisition." It is, therefore, open to question whether children acquire language by forming rules of a transformational type. The example of language learning ability in brain damaged or retarded children would indicate that language is acquired primarily through imitation, analogy, and substitution processes rather than by rule learning. It follows from this argument that children interpret ambigious sentences by a process of tentative substitutions to test co-occurrence and distribution restrictions rather than by successively applying two different grammatical rules. It is also felt that it is pointless to construct grammars out of and for children's utterances.(JD)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
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Note: Paper delivered at the Second Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europea, Univ. of Kiel, Germany, August 1968.