From the Archives!—The Black Box—The SpecGram Archive Elves™ SpecGram Vol CLXIX, No 4 Contents Next Noam Chomsky to Be Selected—Morris Swadesh III

Myriad Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know
(because they aren’t actually true)

gathered at great personal risk of
psycholinguistic harm from actual student papers
by Madalena Cruz-Ferreira

This 41st collection of students’ pearls of wisdom, laboriously digitised from hand-written papers, demonstrates once again how students new to the study of language speculate about grammar after having imperfectly absorbed what their teachers think they have taught them.

Test Question—Child Syntax

The following data are from different children. The context of the child utterances is given in angled brackets:
<Describing a pillow fight>
(a) I kicked him the pillow.
<Explaining why mummy now has a cold>
(b) I coughed mummy my cold.
<Explaining his involvement in a fight at school>
(c) He yelled me a rude word.
<Rejoicing over a successful bike puncture repair job>
(d) Daddy fixed it the hole!

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.)


More to come...

From the Archives!The Black BoxThe SpecGram Archive Elves™
Next Noam Chomsky to Be SelectedMorris Swadesh III
SpecGram Vol CLXIX, No 4 Contents