Grammatical development Flashcards Preview

Typical & atypical development > Grammatical development > Flashcards

Flashcards in Grammatical development Deck (73):

Successful language requires knowledge of...

...vocabulary, grammar and morphology.


Are vocabulary, grammar and morphology skills innate or are we taught how to do them/do we develop them?

We develop these skills rather are than taught them by others


Between which ages do we transition from word-gesture combinations to joining 2 words (= telegraphic speech)?

1 1/2 - 2 1/2 years-old
- we focus on high-content words and omit smaller, less important words


What is a morpheme?

The smallest unit of language that carries meaning (changes the meaning of a sentence)


What types of morphemes are there and what are they?

Free morphemes - occur in large numbers and in isolation

Bound morphemes - occur in small numbers and are always attached to a free morpheme (change the meaning of the free morpheme)


When we combine morphemes, what does it create?

Complex words


What does MLU stand for and mean?

Mean Length Utterance
- the number of morphemes in a phrase/sentence


How many morphemes does 'my brother's hamster' have in it?



Who created the stages of grammatical development, including the MLU at each stage?

Brown (1973)


In Brown's (1973) stage model, what abilities do infants have at stage 1?

- infants only use the most important words
- grammatical function words are often omitted
- infants can understand word order


In Brown's (1973) stage model, what is the MLU at stage 1?

MLU = 1.75


In Brown's (1973) stage model, what abilities do infants have at stage 2?

- they add morphemes to their sentences


In Brown's (1973) stage model, what is the MLU at stage 2?

MLU = 2.25


In Brown's (1973) stage model, what abilities do infants have at stage 3?

- they ask questions
- use negation (= a grammatical construction that contradicts part/all of a sentence's meaning)
- use copula (= link verbs)


In Brown's (1973) stage model, what is the MLU at stage 3?

MLU = 2.75


In Brown's (1973) stage model, what abilities do infants have at stage 4?

- use complex sentences
- use regular past tense
- use 3rd person


In Brown's (1973) stage model, what is the MLU at stage 4?

MLU = 3.50


In Brown's (1973) stage model, what abilities do infants have at stage 5?

- use more complex grammar
- can coordinate noun and verb phrases
- can use conjunctions (= parts of speech that connect words and sentences)


In Brown's (1973) stage model, what is the MLU at stage 5?

MLU = 4.0


There is little variation between individuals in terms of skills they have at each stage but the order that behaviours appear can differ between children.



There is individual variation but regularity in the order in which grammatical behaviours appear


Children's utterances have errors of COMMISSION or OMISSION?

Omission - they miss out words rather than add extra
- their speech/sentences look like simplified versions of the adult form


What are the 3 theories of language development?

1. Learning theory
2. Language learnability problem (Baker's Paradox)
3. Chomsky's universal grammar


What does Learning theory state about how grammar develops?

We learn to produce grammatical sentences through imitation and reinforcement


Skinner (1957) said that in verbal behaviour under stimulus control, we must take 3 aspects into account. What are these aspects?

1. Stimulus
2. Response
3. Reinforcement


Skinner (1957) said that the contingency between the 3 aspects involved in verbal behaviour under stimulus control is exemplified when...

...the child receives reinforcement when they label an object.


What can indicate the grammaticality of the child's utterances?

Parental approval/disapproval --> reinforces correct utterances


What are the 3 premises of Baker's Paradox?

1. Productivity
2. Arbitrariness
3. No negative evidence


In Baker's Paradox, what does 'productivity' mean?

A pattern is productive if an unbounded number of items represent it


In Baker's Paradox, what does the 'arbitrariness' premise state?

There are arbitrary exceptions to productive patterns


In Baker's Paradox, what does the 'no negative evidence' premise state?

There is evidence against the grammaticality of some types of sentences (i.e. that they are ungrammatical)


When does Baker's Paradox arise?

When we assume that there are arbitrary exceptions to productive generalisations and that negative evidence isn’t available

Because negative evidence is usually unavailable, the child can’t rely on negative feedback


In Baker's Paradox, what is the 'hypothesised grammar'?

The grammar that you have, what you are guessing the grammar of the language that you are learning is


In Baker's Paradox, what is the 'target grammar'?

Grammar you are hearing from people around you


What is the Generalised problem/Poverty of the Stimulus problem?

The hypothesised grammar is smaller than the target grammar --> you must grow your hypothesis so that it matches the target

Adults give examples to help us grow our grammar


What is the Retreat problem?

You are overly generous with what you think the grammar is

This is where Baker’s Paradox comes in

We are ungrammatical – our hypothesised grammar doesn’t match the target’s grammar

Adults must correct the hypothesis so that we can retreat from ungrammatical utterances → linguists say that this doesn’t happen = the retreat problem


Pinker (1989) - what does it mean when there is no overlap between the hypothesis and target grammar?

The child doesn’t speak the same grammatical language as the target at all


Pinker (1989) - what does it mean when there is a little bit of overlap between the hypothesis and target grammar?

The child changes some of their language and utterances - there is some similarity with the target grammar but the child still hears examples from adults which aren’t in their grammar


Pinker (1989) - what does it mean when the target grammar is bigger than the hypothesis grammar?

Everything that the child says is within the target language but there are still things that adults say which aren’t in the child's grammar


Pinker (1989) - what does it mean when the hypothesis grammar is bigger than the target grammar?

The child says things that aren’t grammatical in the target language


What type of probability can the experience of language NOT account for? (Chomsky, 1986)

Linguistic probability


What is linguistic probability?

The ability to produce and understand sentences that haven’t been produced/heard before


According to Chomsky (1986), what device are children genetically endowed with?

Language Acquisition Device (LAD)


What is the LAD?

- a module for acquiring a particular kind of knowledge & ignoring other kinds
- specifies fundamental grammatical principles that are shared by all languages (Universal Grammar)


Is the LAD universal?

YES - all typically-developed humans have it


The LAD is modular - what does this mean?

It takes in info of a certain type and returns another type

It is particularly interested in grammar


Does the experience of language play a small or large role in the LAD?

Language plays a minimal role - we need some experience for the LAD to know which language we are trying to learn but knowledge of what language IS is innate


What are principles? (LAD)

- rules about a language that a child is born with
- they don’t specify the structure of ALL languages


What are parameters? (LAD)

- rules that are set by the language that you hear

Once parameters are set, principles can be applied to all instances in the language


What argument does the Poverty of the Stimulus make?

Grammar is unlearnable given the relatively limited data available to children whom are learning a language, so knowledge of grammar is supplemented with an innate linguistic capability (LAD)


According to the Poverty of the Stimulus, do children have to be taught all grammatical/language examples?



Chomsky's claims about _________ stem from the Poverty of the Stimulus

Universal Grammar


In the Poverty of the Stimulus, how much positive & negative evidence do children receive?

Positive evidence is under-specified and there is no negative evidence


Why is it surprising that there is little positive and negative evidence (Poverty of the Stimulus)?

Children still progress quickly to full mastery of syntax and make few productive errors doing so


Brown and Hanlon (1970) analysed parents and their children's speech to see whether the child was given grammar feedback. What type of errors did parents correct for?

Semantic errors


What does Brown and Hanlon's (1970) study not provide evidence for?

That disapproval/approval is contingent on syntactic correctness


What type of behaviour does Brown and Hanlon (1970) not count as a correction of a child's grammar (as produced by a parent)?

Parents repeat/recast what the child says (they agree with them even if their expression is grammatically incorrect, but reproduce it in its correct grammatical form)


Who proposed the Direct Contrast Hypothesis?

Saxton (1997)


What does the Direct Contrast Hypothesis state about grammatical development?

Children use the info that they are given


What sort of grammatical shifts do children make most often, according to the Direct Contrast Hypothesis?

Error-to-correct shifts


According to the Direct Contrast Hypothesis, how might negative feedback from a parent help a child's grammatical development?

Negative feedback elicits more correct forms in the child's later utterances


Which question does the Direct Contrast Hypothesis answer?

Is negative feedback used to improve children's grammar?



What hypothesis did Saxton et al. (2005) propose?

Prompt hypothesis


What sort of grammatical shifts do children make most often according to the Prompt Hypothesis?

Error-to-correct shifts


What study did Saxton et al. (2005) do to support the Prompt Hypothesis?

Every 1 min, they prompted 2 and 4 y/o to respond to a general (“what?”) OR a specific (e.g. “he did what?”) clarification request when the child produced a grammatically incorrect utterance


What did Saxton et al. (2005) find?

2 and 4 y/o used more E→C shifts than C→E for both general and specific requests

(E→C increased after only 2 clarification requests)


What is SLI?

Specific Language Impairment

= language abilities lag behind other cognitive abilities


What might cause SLI?

Damage to the LAD module


According to whom, about 7% of 5 year-olds show SLI?

Leonard and Bishop (2000)


How do Leonard and Bishop (2000) define SLI?

Language skills are significantly below age norms, plus normal-range IQ, hearing, motor and neurological function


What are 4 characteristics of SLI?

- poor vocabulary knowledge (linked to 'late talker' status at age 2)
- omission of grammatical morphemes
- difficulties interpreting subtitles in language
- articulation problems


According to Leonard (1992), what are the 4 explanations of SLI?

1. Incomplete grammatical rule systems - immature grammatical development (due to problem with the LAD, genes), unable to induce grammar & hence reliant on rote learning

2. Difficulty processing grammatical morphemes - difficulty perceiving and using low-salience/low-frequency morphemes, a grammar-specific processing impairment, processing deficit that affects acquisition of grammatical morphemes because of their short duration in English (Leonard, 1992)

3. Auditory processing deficit - difficulty processing rapid auditory-presented info

4. Limited processing ability


What evidence supports the existence of an auditory processing deficit in children with SLI?

Children with SLI are bad at judging when 2 beeps are presented near each other in time (this is related to processing, it isn't specific to language acquisition)


What evidence supports the existence of limited processing ability in children with SLI?

Gathercole and Baddeley (1993) - limited WM capacity

Processing impairment (general WM problem) that impacts the child's language