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ERIC Number: EJ861060
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Nov
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0305-0009
Usage-Based vs. Rule-Based Learning: The Acquisition of Word Order in "Wh"-Questions in English and Norwegian
Westergaard, Marit
Journal of Child Language, v36 n5 p1023-1051 Nov 2009
This paper discusses different approaches to language acquisition in relation to children's acquisition of word order in "wh"-questions in English and Norwegian. While generative models assert that children set major word order parameters and thus acquire a rule of subject-auxiliary inversion or generalized verb second (V2) at an early stage, some constructivist work argues that English-speaking children are simply reproducing frequent "wh"-word+auxiliary combinations in the input. The paper questions both approaches, re-evaluates some previous work, and provides some further data, concluding that the acquisition of "wh"-questions must be the result of a rule-based process. Based on variation in adult grammars, a cue-based model to language acquisition is presented, according to which children are sensitive to minor cues in the input, called micro-cues. V2 is not considered to be one major parameter, but several smaller-scale cues, which are responsible for children's lack of syntactic (over-)generalization in the acquisition process.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A