This 41st collection of students’ pearls of wisdom, laboriously digitised from hand-
The following data are from different children. The context of the child utterances is given in angled brackets:
Discuss syntactic reasons which may explain these child uses.
(Data adapted from Tomasello, M. (2003). Constructing a Language: A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition. Cambridge, MA & London: Harvard University Press.)
At this stage of cognitive development, the child is still quite exploratory, in the sense that he is seeking for answers, instead of trying to confirm them, in the sense that his impulses are uninhibited, that leads to the curiosity of the child.
We see a SVO structure and something else.
The children overextend the SVO rule to all nouns.
All sentences are in the S-V-O-(O) order.
The child has a certain preconceived notion of phrasal-
The child is probably going through the stage of syntactic compositionality. The child perhaps has a problem with reversible and irreversible passives.
The child constructions are ungrammatical, but he demonstrates a knowledge of acceptable syntax. He has not acquired the rule that ditransitive verbs can take two objects whose position can be switched.
The child has acquired the ability that in order for something to be done, a person has to perform the action. The child has progressed beyond two-
There seems to be a consistent pattern of inserting the object of the action performed between the action and the object used to perform the action. Object NP and PP are swapped.
This is overextension, because the children exemplify the usage of the target word to refer to a subset of the referential meaning of the equivalent child word. For example, when someone scolds him a rude word, it means he got into a fight, when a fight could refer to physical harm too. However, coughing shows underextension because the mother could have gotten the cold by sharing utensils with the child.
More to come...