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ERIC Number: ED308713
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1987-Oct
Pages: 17
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Role of Variable Rules in Language Acquisition.
Adamson, H. D.
This paper attempts to show the relationship between variable rules and more widely used psycholinguistic constructs such as amalgams and schemas, and to point out how variationists' methods can be useful in the study of language acquisition. The traditional rule, the rule for forming the past tense of regular verbs in English, is discussed as it relates to language acquisition in children. It is proposed that children go through three stages in the learning of the regular past tense: (1) the past tense of the words, or amalgams, are learned by rote; (2) the amalgams are associated by means of a schema; and (3) a categorical rule is constructed. The stages, proposed by Bybee and Slobin, identify schema as the missing link between amalgams and categorical rules. In a language acquisition study completed within the variationist framework, a pattern of language acquisition in subject-verb inversion of Wh- questions was isolated and three similar stages were followed, including: (1) formulaic patterns; (2) a variable rule; and (3) a categorical rule. The radial category hypothesis is proposed to satisfy the assertion that variation in child language development can be a prototype effect resulting from the prototype nature of a partially constructed grammatical category. (DJD)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A