9780631163572 / 0631163573

Syntactic Theory and the Acquisition of English Syntax: The Nature of Early Child Grammars of English


Publisher:Blackwell Pub



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About the book:

Between the ages of one and a half and two years children first come to form elementary phrases and clauses. This stage of their linguistic development provides the first clear evidence that they have begun to develop a grammar of the language being acquired. To develop a theory of language acquisition we need to understand children's first grammars. Drawing data from a corpus of more than 100,000 spontaneous utterances, Andrew Radford demonstrates that the fundamental characteristic of children's earliest grammars is that they are essentially "lexical" in nature. They show mastery of the essential grammatical properties of items belonging to lexical categories but not of those belonging to formal categories. This hypothesis provides a unified account of a wide range of phenomena in early child English including children's non-mastery of determiners, possessives, pronouns, infinitival to, auxiliaries, tense, agreement marking, null pronominals, complementizers and interrogative structures. The work is intended for specialists and advanced students in syntactic theory, language acquisition and cognitive science.

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