ERIC Number: ED233573
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Jul
Reference Count: 0
How Do Children Avoid Constructing an Overly General Grammar in the Absence of Feedback about What Is Not a Sentence?
The theory that language acquisition is guided and constrained by inborn linguistic knowledge is assessed. Specifically, the "no negative evidence" view, the belief that linguistic theory should be restricted in such a way that the grammars it allows can be learned by children on the basis of positive evidence only, is explored. Child language data are cited in order to investigate influential innatist approaches to language acquisition. Baker's view that children are innately constrained in significant ways with respect to language acquisition is evaluated. Evidence indicates that children persistently make overgeneralizations of the sort that violate the constrained view of language acquisition. Since children eventually do develop correct adult grammar, they must have other mechanisms for cutting back on these overgeneralizations. Thus, any hypothesized constraints cannot be justified on grounds that without them the child would end up with overly general grammar. It is necessary to explicate the mechanisms by which children eliminate their tendency toward overgeneralization. (RW)
PRCLD, Department of Linguistics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305 ($12.00).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Dept. of Linguistics.
Note: In its: Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, Volume 22, p23-35, Jul 1983. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Child Language Research Forum (14th, Stanford, CA, March 1983).