Language Theory Notes for 09.25.06

  • Is language encoded in DNA?
  • How much is built in?
  • Acquiring Language is different than learning.
  • Are verbal errors really errors? (We are trying to make the irregular, regular.)
  • Children don’t know how to truly speak incorrectly.
  • When there are errors that no child would make, it is assumed that these errors would break a rule of universal grammar.
  • English is not innate, but language is.
  • There are no primitive languages.
  • Language Analogy theory doesn’t work (if you know one sentence, you can produce another one like it (but only other ones like it)).
  • Language is like physical growth.
  • Children are pre-programmed with the outlines for language.
  • Children are biased learners: they take in all of the comprehensible input and build upon it.
  • First assumptions for learning language:
    • Words are always applied to the whole object
    • Each word has an exclusive meaning.
  • How does a child learn meaning?
    • Learning meaning is only done by applying a word to new concepts or objects.

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