ERIC Number: ED032543
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1969-Sep
Reference Count: 0
Universals of Grammatical Development in Children.
Slobin, Daniel I.
This report considers the early stages of grammatical development in the child. It summarizes some cross-linguistic similarities in acquisition of several different types of languages: English (both white and black, lower and middle class), German, Russian, Finnish, Samoan, and Luo. With this small but diverse collection of languages and cultures the author is in a position to consider varied speech input to the child and observe what remains constant in the course of language acquisition. He finds a number of small, intriguing differences but believes that "what is remarkable at first glance is the uniformity in rate and pattern of development." He traces stages of language development and points out the linguistic universals which manifest themselves at the various stages. Typically, in all cultures examined, there is a period of babbling ending somewhere around 18 months of age. Overlapping this period is a stage of single-word utterances, followed by a stage of two-word utterances at around 18-24 months. The two-word stage is often quite brief, but its structural and semantic characteristics appear to be universal. The author believes that the universality of this phase suggests the maturation of a "language acquisition device" with a fairly fixed programming span for utterances at the start. (DO)
Descriptors: Child Language, Cross Cultural Studies, Grammar, Language Acquisition, Language Universals, Psycholinguistics, Sentence Structure, Sociolinguistics, Speech Communication
Language-Behavior Research Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720.
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Berkeley. Language and Behavior Research Lab.
Note: Paper presented at Conference with International Participation on Psychology of Human Learning, Prague, July 16, 1969, and at the Conference on Psycholinguistics at the University of Bressanone, Italy, July 24, 1969.