Adults, target-words, and the child's syntactical development

by Lundberg, Johanna

Abstract (Summary)
Language cannot be learned without linguistic input. Hence, the environment plays an important role in childrens’ language development. In this paper it is examined how important the environment’s role is. Two views are described: Universal Grammar and Emergentism. They are in this paper considered to represent two basic stances; the innate stance and the “non-innate” stance. The overall aim is to present evidence in favour of either Emergentism or Universal Grammar. It is achieved by a theoretical discussion and the findings from an observation. In the observational study the aim is to see if and, if so, how adults provide clues for children to develop their syntax. This is achieved by looking at target-words and how the adults use context and prosody to supply children with them. The findings show that the adults extensively use context when talking to children. The theoretical discussion together with the findings, are here found to support Emergentism, the non-innate view.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Högskolan i Skövde

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:target words universal grammar emergentism syntactical development environmental influence


Date of Publication:02/15/2008

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