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ERIC Number: EJ1125000
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jan
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0267-6583
Learning Datives: The Tolerance Principle in Monolingual and Bilingual Acquisition
Yang, Charles; Montrul, Silvina
Second Language Research, v33 n1 p119-144 Jan 2017
We study the learnability problem concerning the dative alternations in English (Baker, 1979; Pinker, 1989). We consider how first language learners productively apply the double-object and to-dative constructions ("give the book to library"/"give the library the book"), while excluding negative exceptions ("donate the book to the library"/"*donate the library the book"). Our solution for first language acquisition is based on The Tolerance Principle, a formal model that detects productivity from the distributional properties of the input data (Yang, 2005, 2016). This principle predicts an acquisition stage where the constructions are productive, followed by a stage where learners retreat from overgeneralization and form more finely grained rules. This work calls for a formally rigorous model of acquisition, which can incorporate input effects and retain the benefits of an abstract generative grammar without resorting to piecemeal learning. We provide an analysis of child-directed speech in the CHILDES database to support the learning proposal for first language acquisition, while considering its potential applicability to second language (L2) acquisition and first language (L1) attrition.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A