Language Acquisition, 2e

The Growth of Grammar

by Guasti

ISBN: 9780262342261 | Copyright 2017

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How do children begin to use language? How does knowledge of language emerge in early infancy, and how does it grow? This textbook offers a comprehensive introduction to knowledge acquisition, drawing on empirical evidence and linguistic theory. The theoretical framework used is the generative theory of Universal Grammar; students should have some familiarity with concepts in linguistic research. Aimed at upper-level undergraduate and graduate students, the book offers end-of-chapter summaries, key words, study questions, and exercises. 


This second edition has been thoroughly updated, with new content throughout. It has been reorganized according to the three main components of language acquisition. The computational components and the interfaces are covered in chapters on structure building in the verbal and nominal domains, movement-derived structure, and the relation between syntax and semantics and semantic and pragmatic. The sensory motor interface is treated in chapters on infants’ perception of language and on the acquisition of words. The intentional-conceptual interface is discussed in chapters on the acquisition of words. This edition features additional cross-linguistic content, a new focus on brain imaging findings and the motor aspect of language, new material on Williams and Down Syndromes and dyslexia, and a new chapter on bilingualism, early second language acquisition, and bimodalism. Revisions reflect the burgeoning research in the field. New pedagogical features include chapter outlines, summaries of chapters, hypotheses, and linguistic milestones; methodological information; explanatory boxes; and suggestions for further reading.

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Contents (pg. vii)
Preface (pg. xi)
Acknowledgments (pg. xvii)
Abbreviations (pg. xix)
Chapter 1 Basic Concepts (pg. 1)
INTRODUCTION (pg. 1)
1.1 REFLECTIONS ON THE COURSE OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION (pg. 2)
1.2 THE LOGICAL PROBLEM OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION (pg. 9)
1.3 CONSTRUCTIVIST MODELS (pg. 10)
1.4 GENERATIVIST MODELS (pg. 13)
1.5 CRITICAL OR SENSITIVE PERIODS (pg. 22)
1.6 THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE LANGUAGE FACULTY (pg. 25)
Chapter 2 The Sensory-Motor Interface: First Steps into Language (pg. 29)
INTRODUCTION (pg. 29)
2.1 THE QUEST FOR THE NATIVE LANGUAGE (pg. 30)
2.2 LEARNING THE PHONEMIC AND TONE CONTRASTS OF THE NATIVE LANGUAGE (pg. 49)
2.3 INFANTS’ SPEECH PRODUCTION (pg. 62)
2.4 SUMMARY AND CONCLUDING REMARKS (pg. 66)
Chapter 3 The Sensory-Motor and Conceptual-Intentional Interfaces: Acquisition of the Lexicon (pg. 71)
INTRODUCTION (pg. 71)
3.1 WHY FINDING WORDS IS A PROBLEM (pg. 72)
3.2 FINDING STRUCTURES (pg. 93)
3.3 THE PHONOLOGICAL BOOTSTRAPPING MODEL AND UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR (pg. 97)
3.4 WHY ACQUIRING THE MEANING OF WORDS IS A PROBLEM (pg. 101)
3.5 BOOTSTRAPPING OF SYNTAX (pg. 123)
3.6 SUMMARY AND CONCLUDING REMARKS (pg. 129)
Chapter 4 The Computational System: The Emergence of Syntax in the Verbal Domain (pg. 135)
INTRODUCTION (pg. 135)
4.1 CHILDREN’S ABSTRACT KNOWLEDGE OF WORD ORDER (pg. 136)
4.2 THE STRUCTURE OF EARLY CLAUSES (pg. 140)
4.3 MORPHOSYNTACTIC FEATURES IN CHILDREN’S CLAUSES (pg. 154)
4.4 SUBJECT AGREEMENT AS A STRUCTURE-DEPENDENT RELATION (pg. 163)
4.5 ROOT INFINITIVES (pg. 168)
4.6 SUMMARY AND CONCLUDING REMARKS (pg. 188)
Chapter 5 The Computational System: The Emergence of Syntax in the Nominal Domain (pg. 195)
INTRODUCTION (pg. 195)
5.1 THE STRUCTURE OF NOMINAL ARGUMENTS (pg. 196)
5.2 EARLY NULL SUBJECTS (pg. 207)
5.3 CLITIC PRONOUNS IN ROMANCE LANGUAGES (pg. 226)
5.4 SUMMARY AND CONCLUDING REMARKS (pg. 235)
Chapter 6 The Computational System: Ā-Movement-Derived Structures (pg. 241)
INTRODUCTION (pg. 241)
6.1 QUESTION FORMATION IN EARLY SYSTEMS (pg. 242)
6.2 THE SUBJECT/OBJECT ASYMMETRY IN WH-QUESTIONS (pg. 256)
6.3 LONG-DISTANCE WH-MOVEMENT (pg. 275)
6.4 RELATIVE CLAUSE FORMATION IN EARLY SYSTEMS (pg. 287)
6.5 THE SUBJECT/OBJECT ASYMMETRY IN HEAD-INITIAL RELATIVE CLAUSES (pg. 307)
6.6 HEAD-FINAL RELATIVE CLAUSES AS EVIDENCE FOR STRUCTURE DEPENDENCY (pg. 316)
6.7 SUMMARY AND CONCLUDING REMARKS (pg. 319)
Chapter 7 The Computational System: A-Movement-Derived Structures (pg. 325)
INTRODUCTION (pg. 325)
7.1 PASSIVE CONSTRUCTIONS IN ADULT AND CHILD GRAMMAR (pg. 326)
7.2 A MATURATIONAL ACCOUNT OF EARLY PASSIVE CONSTRUCTIONS (pg. 335)
7.3 ABSTRACT KNOWLEDGE OF PASSIVE (pg. 347)
7.4 SUMMARY AND CONCLUDING REMARKS (pg. 357)
Chapter 8 The Conceptual-Intentional Interface: Nominal and Pronominal Interpretation (pg. 361)
INTRODUCTION (pg. 361)
8.1 THE BINDING THEORY (pg. 362)
8.2 PRINCIPLE A (pg. 375)
8.3 PRINCIPLE B (pg. 380)
8.4 PRINCIPLE C (pg. 394)
8.5 SUMMARY AND CONCLUDING REMARKS (pg. 402)
Chapter 9 The Conceptual-Intentional Interface: Quantification and Pragmatic Understanding (pg. 407)
INTRODUCTION (pg. 407)
9.1 QUANTIFICATIONAL STRUCTURES IN CHILD LANGUAGE (pg. 408)
9.2 SCALAR IMPLICATURES (pg. 436)
9.3 A CORE PROPERTY OF LANGUAGE: DOWNWARD ENTAILMENT (pg. 452)
9.4 STRUCTURE DEPENDENCY AND INTERPRETATION (pg. 458)
9.5 SUMMARY AND CONCLUDING REMARKS (pg. 462)
Chapter 10 Language Acquisition in Pathological Conditions (pg. 467)
INTRODUCTION (pg. 467)
10.1 DISCREPANCY BETWEEN LANGUAGE AND OTHER COGNITIVE ABILITIES: SPECIFIC LANGUAGE IMPAIRMENT (pg. 468)
10.2 LANGUAGE PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DYSLEXIA (pg. 490)
10.3 LANGUAGE PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN WITH COGNITIVE DISABILITIES: WILLIAMS SYNDROME AND DOWN SYNDROME (pg. 492)
10.4 SUMMARY AND CONCLUDING REMARKS (pg. 503)
Chapter 11 Bilingualism and Early L2 (pg. 509)
INTRODUCTION (pg. 509)
11.1 TWO SEPARATE SYSTEMS FROM BIRTH (pg. 511)
11.2 A BILINGUAL IS NOT THE SUM OF TWO MONOLINGUALS (pg. 516)
11.3 EARLY SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION (pg. 526)
11.4 EL2 AND SLI: HOW CAN WE DISTINGUISH THE TWO CONDITIONS? (pg. 531)
11.5 BIMODAL ACQUISITION (pg. 537)
11.6 SUMMARY AND CONCLUDING REMARKS (pg. 540)
Notes (pg. 545)
Glossary (pg. 557)
References (pg. 563)
Index (pg. 637)

Maria T. Guasti

Maria Teresa Guasti is Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Milan-Bicocca.


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