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Our contribution deals with the nature of children's earliest word combinations. Based on data from monolingual (German) and bilingual (German/English) children we argue that there is no pregrammatical stage once children move beyond single-word utterances. As soon as words combine, basic organizational principles, such as the binary distinction between head and non-head, are activated and enter into coalitions with other (semantic, pragmatic) levels of representation. In addition we claim that monolinguals behave very much like bilinguals in that initially all children create coexisting grammars. Various types of evidence in favor of this proposal are considered. Convergence comes about when children (assisted by universal grammar) reconstruct derivational relationships linking hitherto independent systems. The overall process is slow, making it possible for us to detect transitional problems. Bilingual language mixing yields important insights into children's early awareness of cross-linguistic equivalence and contrasts and can be related to specific properties of a child's grammars at different developmental stages.

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... Perhaps the task requires children to initially exert multiple types of "biases" in order to obtain the maximal advantages of the grammar. (Satterfield 1999a(Satterfield , 1999bRoeper 1999;Saleemi 2002;Yang 1999Yang , 2002Gawlitzek-Maiwald & Tracy 2005). ...
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... The resource-oriented views, on the other hand, put the emphasis on the possibilities that bi-and multilingualism enable (e.g. Gawlitzek-Maiwald & Tracy, 2005). This positive view of multilingualism puts the emphasis on the potential of transfer on different levels: on the linguistic level and on the level of strategies of language learning and use. ...
... These tokens beg the question of why children should exhibit such tendencies at all. Perhaps the task requires children to initially exert multiple types of "biases" in order to obtain the maximal advantages of the grammar (Gawlitzek-Maiwald & Tracy 2005;Roeper 1999;Saleemi 2002;Satterfield 1999a;1999b;Yang 1999;. On common ground with C&C, it is doubtful that a highly language (domain)-specific Universal Grammar (UG) functions as the sole machinery in the child's task of language acquisition. ...
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... These tokens beg the question of why children should exhibit such tendencies at all. Perhaps the task requires children to initially exert multiple types of "biases" in order to obtain the maximal advantages of the grammar (Gawlitzek-Maiwald & Tracy 2005;Roeper 1999;Saleemi 2002;Satterfield 1999a;1999b;Yang 1999;. On common ground with C&C, it is doubtful that a highly language (domain)-specific Universal Grammar (UG) functions as the sole machinery in the child's task of language acquisition. ...
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... These tokens beg the question of why children should exhibit such tendencies at all. Perhaps the task requires children to initially exert multiple types of "biases" in order to obtain the maximal advantages of the grammar (Gawlitzek-Maiwald & Tracy 2005;Roeper 1999;Saleemi 2002;Satterfield 1999a;1999b;Yang 1999;. On common ground with C&C, it is doubtful that a highly language (domain)-specific Universal Grammar (UG) functions as the sole machinery in the child's task of language acquisition. ...
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... These tokens beg the question of why children should exhibit such tendencies at all. Perhaps the task requires children to initially exert multiple types of "biases" in order to obtain the maximal advantages of the grammar (Gawlitzek-Maiwald & Tracy 2005;Roeper 1999;Saleemi 2002;Satterfield 1999a;1999b;Yang 1999;. On common ground with C&C, it is doubtful that a highly language (domain)-specific Universal Grammar (UG) functions as the sole machinery in the child's task of language acquisition. ...
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... These tokens beg the question of why children should exhibit such tendencies at all. Perhaps the task requires children to initially exert multiple types of " biases " in order to obtain the maximal advantages of the grammar (Gawlitzek-Maiwald & Tracy 2005; Roeper 1999; Saleemi 2002; Satterfield 1999a; 1999b; Yang 1999;). On common ground with C&C, it is doubtful that a highly language (domain)-specific Universal Grammar (UG) functions as the sole machinery in the child's task of language acquisition. ...
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It is widely assumed that human learning and the structure of human languages are intimately related. This relationship is frequently suggested to derive from a language-specific biological endowment, which encodes universal, but communicatively arbitrary, principles of language structure (a Universal Grammar or UG). How might such a UG have evolved? We argue that UG could not have arisen either by biological adaptation or non-adaptationist genetic processes, resulting in a logical problem of language evolution. Specifically, as the processes of language change are much more rapid than processes of genetic change, language constitutes a "moving target" both over time and across different human populations, and, hence, cannot provide a stable environment to which language genes could have adapted. We conclude that a biologically determined UG is not evolutionarily viable. Instead, the original motivation for UG--the mesh between learners and languages--arises because language has been shaped to fit the human brain, rather than vice versa. Following Darwin, we view language itself as a complex and interdependent "organism," which evolves under selectional pressures from human learning and processing mechanisms. That is, languages themselves are shaped by severe selectional pressure from each generation of language users and learners. This suggests that apparently arbitrary aspects of linguistic structure may result from general learning and processing biases deriving from the structure of thought processes, perceptuo-motor factors, cognitive limitations, and pragmatics.
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In this article methodologically significant for multilingual education theories in the field of pedagogical and linguistic sciences are considered. These theories in the set are considered as more complicated structure in relation to multilingual education and therefore represent terminological fund for its theoretical-methodological conceptualisation. According to theoretical positions the following categories are allocated: language, foreignlanguage, and also multicultural, ethnocultural and ethnopedagogical education.
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This article is concerned with the funclional and formal properties of German-English mixed utterances produced by bilingual adults and children. After illustrating the conceptual challenges involved in the analysis of utterances exhibiting different mixing intensities, it will be shown on the basis of data frorn a German immigrant to the U.S. that it is possible to identify individual mixing preferences (i.e. different mixing profiles). It will then be argued that bilingual children between the ages of two and three, who are already capable of choosing their languages according to their interlocutors, rely on language mixing to fill temporary lexical and structural gaps. Mixing, it can be concluded, allows us privileged access to the creative and highly systematic manner in which humans deal with language in general.
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This paper argues that the universal categories N/V are not applied to content words before the grammatical markings for reference D(eterminers) and predication I(nflection) have been acquired (van Kampen, 1997, contra Pinker, 1984). Child grammar starts as proto-grammar with language-specific operators and category-neutral content words X o . The first content words are used as proper names with topic-intention and as brand names with characterizing-intention. The language-specificity of early operators may be illustrated by the use of wh-pronouns (what/where?) in English versus the use of illocution particles ( nou/denn?) in Dutch/German child language. Subsequently, deictic operators for topic are regularized as D o and deictic operators for comment as I o . These functional categories are the bootstraps for category assignment <+V> and <+N>, as a subdivision of the lexicon. The generalized conclusion is that language-specific systems are not acquired due to a common UG entrance. They rather are highly frequent language-specific bootstraps that coax the child into an adult system that eventually fits UG principles. The operators in proto-grammar are situation-related, whereas the functional categories I o /D o are highly sensitive to syntactic context. This explains why, in a bilingual situation, a language switch in the context-free operators will be relatively easy. A language switch in functional categories, by contrast, will have a reflex on the syntactic context and be less easy.
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Learnability of the universal categories Noun and Verb from the language-specific categories Inflection and Determiner with examples from Dutch language acquisition.
Article
Our target article argued that a genetically specified Universal Grammar (UG), capturing arbitrary properties of languages, is not tenable on evolutionary grounds, and that the close fit between language and language learners arises because language is shaped by the brain, rather than the reverse. Few commentaries defend a genetically specified UG. Some commentators argue that we underestimate the importance of processes of cultural transmission; some propose additional cognitive and brain mechanisms that may constrain language and perhaps differentiate humans from nonhuman primates; and others argue that we overstate or understate the case against co-evolution of language genes. In engaging with these issues, we suggest that a new synthesis concerning the relationship between brains, genes, and language may be emerging.
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Strong support now exists for this claim: all the properties of the two-and three word stage of acquisition are direct projections from Universal Grammar.2
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Gegenstand des Aufsatzes ist der Erwerb komplexer Satzstrukturen des Deutschen im Kindesalter. Es wird gezeigt, daß das Ausmaß interindividueller und intraindividueller Variation größer ist, als in der Spracherwerbsforschung bisher angenommen wurde. Auf der Grundlage jüngerer Entwicklungen in der Syntaxtheorie werden einige einfache Prinzipien identifiziert, die für diese Variation und die jeweiligen Erwerbsverläufe verantwortlich gemacht werden können. Dabei wird versucht, eine Perspektive zu entwickeln, innerhalb derer linguistische Theorie und Spracherwerbsforschung empirisch relevant aufeinander bezogen werden können. Ja da bügelbrett war da gestanden und da hab ich runter des geschmeißt da war hoffentlich kein ding da drauf wo tut man bügeln und is nich kaputtgegang. (Benny 3;9.12: Schilderung eines komplexen Tathergangs).
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This book deals with the question of how children exposed to two languages simultaneously from birth learn to speak those two languages. After a critical and comprehensive survey of most of the literature on the subject, the author concludes that empirically well-documented knowledge in this area is very scant indeed. The core of the book concerns a naturalistic study of a Dutch-English bilingual girl around the age of three. The study's main aim is to explore the nature of early bilingual morphosyntactic development. Detailed analyses of most aspects of this development show that a child who hears two separate languages spoken to her reflects this distinctness in the utterances she produces: each language is handled as a system in its own right. Furthermore, the young bilingual three-year-old greatly resembles her monolingual peers in either language. Both these findings, the author concludes, highlight the language-specific nature of the morphosyntactic development process. This book will interest linguists, psycholinguists, developmental psychologists and child language specialists. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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When one form replaces another over time in a changing language, the new form does not occur equally often in all linguistic contexts. Linguists have generally assumed that those contexts in which the new form is more common are those in which the form first appears and in which it advances most rapidly. However, evidence from several linguistic changes (most importantly the rise of the periphrastic auxiliary do in late Middle English) shows that the general assumption is false. Instead, at least for syntactic cases, change seems to proceed at the same rate in all contexts. Contexts change together because they are merely surface manifestations of a single underlying change in grammar. Differences in frequency of use of a new form across contexts reflect functional and stylistic factors, which are constant across time and independent of grammar.
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We present a hypothesis for a specific kind of code-mixing in young bilingual children, during the development of their two first languages, one of which is considerably weaker than the other. Our hypothesis, which we label the Ivy Hypothesis, is that, in the interaction meant to be in the weaker language, the child uses portions of higher syntactic structure lexically instantiated in the stronger language combined with lower portions in the weaker language. Code-mixing patterns were studied in five Swedish-French/Italian children aged 2–4. The parts of the code-mixed utterances reflected as much syntactic structure of each language as was used in monolingual utterances in the same recording of each child. This uneven development, which is due to different amounts of input of the two languages, can be accounted for by assuming that syntactic structure is acquired by building each language from the bottom up through lexical learning.
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Much research on bilingual first language acquisition has stressed the role of the dominant or preferred language when the two languages have some influence on one another. The present paper tries to look at transfer or interference from the perspective of the input the child is exposed to. Transfer will be argued to occur in those domains of the grammar where the language learner is confronted with ambiguous input. The bilingual child may, as a relief strategy, use parts of the analysis of one language in order to cope with ambiguous properties of the other. Ambiguity of input is crucial and will be evaluated through a comparison with monolingual language acquisition: if monolingual children have problems with the language material in question, it may be suggested that the input contains evidence for more than only one grammatical analysis. A quantitative difference between monolingual and bilingual language acquisition will be interpreted as evidence in favor of cross-linguistic influence in bilingual language development. The paper reviews longitudinal studies on the acquisition of word order in German subordinate clauses.
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Lexically linked domains in language allow a speaker to formulate incompatible rules. How should they be represented theoretically? We argue that a speaker has a set of mini-grammars for different domains so that, in effect, every speaker is bilingual. It is argued that Tense or Agreement Checking, V-2 for quotation, and resumptive pronouns, all lead to bilingual representations. In addition, this perspective on Theoretical Bilingualism suggests that optionality and stages in the acquisition of an initial grammar should also be characterized as a form of bilingualism.
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It has been claimed that children simultaneously acquiring two languages go through an initial stage when they are unable to differentiate between their two languages. Such claims have been based on the observation that at times virtually all bilingual children mix elements (e.g. lexical, morphological) from their two languages in the same utterance. That most, if not all, children acquiring two languages simultaneously mix linguistic elements in this way is widely documented. Although such code-mixing is not well understood or explained, there are a number of explanations unrelated to lack of language differentiation that may explain it. Moreover, while language differentiation is widely attested among bilingual children once functional categories emerge, usually during the third year, there is still some question as to how early in development differentiation is present. In this study, we examined language differentiation in five bilingual children prior to the emergence of functional categories (they ranged in age from 1;10 to 2;2 and in MLU from 1.23 to 2.08). They were observed with each parent separately and both together, on separate occasions. Our results indicate that while these children did code mix, they were clearly able to differentiate between their two languages. We also examine the possibility that the children's mixing is due to (a) their language dominance, and (b) their parents' rate of mixing. We could find no evidence that their mixing was due to parental input, but there was some evidence that language dominance played a role.
Book
1. Linguistic Theory and Syntactic Development.- 1. Introduction.- 2. A Parameterized Theory of UG.- 3. An Overview.- 3.1 A Note on Methodology.- 4. The Theory of Grammar.- Notes.- 2. The Null Subject Phenomenon.- 1. Introduction.- 2. The Structure of INFL.- 2.1 Rule R.- 3. Null Subjects and the Identity of AG.- 3.1 The Properties of PRO.- 3.1.1 Control of AG/PRO.- 3.1.2 Arbitrary Reference of AG/PRO.- 3.1.3 The Auxiliary Systems of Italian and English.- 4. Summary.- Notes.- 3. The AG/PRO Parameter in Early Grammars.- 1. Introduction.- 2. Null Subjects in Early Language.- 2.1 The Avoid Pronoun Principle.- 3. The Early Grammar of English (G1).- 3.1 The Auxiliaries in Early English.- 3.2 The Filtering Effect of Child Grammars.- 3.2.1 The Semi-Auxiliaries.- 3.2.2 Can't and Don't.- 3.3 G1 and the Syntax of Be.- 4. The Restructuring of G1.- 4.1 The Triggering Data.- 4.2 The Avoid Pronoun Principle in Child Language.- 5. Summary.- Notes.- 4. Some Comparative Data.- 1. Introduction.- 2. The Early Grammars of English and Italian: A Comparison.- 2.1 Postverbal Subjects.- 2.2 Modals in Early Italian.- 2.3 Italian Be.- 3. Early German.- Notes.- 5. Discontinuous Models of Linguistic Development.- 1. Introduction.- 2. Semantically-Based Child Grammars.- 3. Semantically-Based Grammars: Some Empirical Inadequacies.- 3.1 Evidence from Polish and Hebrew.- Notes.- 6. Further Issues in Acquisition Theory.- 1. Summary.- 2. The Initial State.- 2.1 The Subset Principle.- 2.2 The Theory of Markedness.- 2.3 The Isomorphism Principle.- 3. Instantaneous vs. Non-Instantaneous Acquisition 168 Notes.- Index of Names.- Index of Subjects.
Chapter
This chapter provides an overview of language acquisition and cognitive development. The relationship between linguistic theory and the study of the way the (epistemic) speaker–listener understands and produces utterances is parallel to the position Piaget has adopted on logic and cognitive psychology. Logic is an axiomatization of reasoning and is a purely formal discipline. Starting from axioms, theorems are derived in a mechanical, deductive manner. There is, however, a corresponding experimental science, which should not be confused with the formal discipline, and that is the psychology of thinking. Recent studies show that there are close links between knowledge in one field and that in another but also show that what were initially described as universal cognitive structures are more properly considered as symptoms in the field of logical thinking of even more general structures that also underlie concepts of causality and time, where they may acquire rather different forms.
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Written by an expert in the field, this study examines the dynamics of contact between languages in an immigrant context. Michael Clyne discusses the dynamics of contact with English using data from a wide range of languages, including German, Dutch, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish, Croatian and Vietnamese. Clyne analyzes how and why these languages change in a country with many immigrants such as Australia, as well as why some languages survive longer than others.
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There is an ongoing linguistic debate as to whether or not the V2 effect in German main clauses results from movement of verbs into a head-initial C-head position (see Travis, 1984; Grewendorf, 1988; Vikner and Schwartz, 1991; Reis and Rosengren, 1991). In this paper, we shall link this question to a range of data from child language. We will argue that there are good reasons for doubting that children’s early V2 main clauses should be analyzed as CPs and - even more heretically - we will propose that V2 clauses never need to be reanalyzed as CPs on their way to the adult system.
Article
This paper is concerned with problems of learnability. It speculates on how learners, with the help of UG and a few common-sense strategies, go about discovering abstract relationships between superficially different structural formats available in the input. Far from being confused by variation, learners can use what they perceive as conflicts between UG and experience to infer new system properties. According to the multiple-roots perspective proposed here, the monolingual child starts out like a bilingual child, that is, with coexisting (but not arbitrary) sentential roots, eventually deciding where convergence is possible and where (as in the case of the real bilingual) it is not. The knowledge domain for which this scenario is explored is the acquisition of finite and nonfinite verb placement in German. The paper also addresses the issue of how different target languages enhance or slow down the overall process of structure building and relates this to asynchronies observed in bilingual children.
Article
Language mixing in young bilingual children is usually put down to language fusion or, on the assumption that they have available two linguistic systems, to insufficient pragmatic control and/or lack of code-switching constraints. It is rarely seen as a sign of what the child CAN do. In this paper we explore the linguistic knowledge that goes into the language mixing of young English/German bilinguals. It is shown that their language mixing helps them bridge not just lexical but also structural gaps. In particular, we suggest a connection between children's language mixing and the types of syntactic bootstrapping discussed in monolingual acquisition, where the child can use his or her expertise in one domain to solve problems in another. In a general sense, then, our bootstrapping metaphor avoids the negative connotations often associated with terms like interference or transfer and underscores the resourcefulness of the bilingual child.
Article
In this paper we want to compare the results from monolingual children with object omissions in bilingual children who have acquired two languages simultaneously. Our longitudinal studies of bilingual Dutch–French, German–French, and German–Italian children show that the bilingual children behave like monolingual children regarding the type of object omissions in the Romance languages. They differ from monolingual children with respect to the extent to which object drop is used. At the same time, the children differentiate the two systems they are using. We want to claim that the difference between monolingual and bilingual children concerning object omissions in the Romance languages is due to crosslinguistic influence in bilingual children: the Germanic language influences the Romance language. Crosslinguistic influence occurs once a syntactic construction in language A allows for more than one grammatical analysis from the perspective of child grammar and language B contains positive evidence for one of these possible analyses. The bilingual child is not able to map the universal strategies onto language-specific rules as quickly as the monolinguals, since s/he is confronted with a much wider range of language-specific syntactic possibilities. One of the possibilities seems to be compatible with a universal strategy. We would like to argue for the existence of crosslinguistic influence, induced by the mapping of universal principles onto language-specific principles – in particular, pragmatic onto syntactic principles. This influence will be defined as mapping induced influence. We will account for the object omissions by postulating an empty discourse-connected PRO in pre-S position (Müller, Crysmann, and Kaiser, 1996; Hulk, 1997). Like monolingual children, bilingual children use this possibility until they show evidence of the C-system (the full clause) in its target form.
Article
This paper argues that the traditional view of experience-dependent properties (learned properties) of language as developing late and non-experience-dependent properties as developing early is in fact often wrong. Parameters are set correctly very early (Very Early Parameter-Setting) and properties of inflectional items are also learned very early. On the other hand, some universal properties of language emerge later, presumably under a genetically-driven maturational program. The Optional Infinitive(OI) Stage (Wexler, 1990, 1992, 1994) of grammatical development is explained by the AGR/TNS Omission Model (ATOM) of Schütze and Wexler, (1996). This paper derives this model via a new proposal for a developmental constraint: the Unique Checking Constraint (UCC), which prevents a D-feature on DP from checking more than one D-feature on functional categories, thus forcing either AGR or TNS to be omitted. The Minimalist framework of Chomsky 1995 is assumed — in particular the assumption that a D-feature and not a case feature is the driving force for the Extended Projection Principle. With AGR and TNS both having a D-feature, UCC predicts that finite sentences will not converge. The model also predicts that subjects of OI's will raise to a higher functional projection, even when case is not assigned by INFL, thus solving a traditional problem in the theory of OI's. With natural assumptions on the nature of null-subject languages, the Null-Subjection/Optional Infinitive Correlation of Wexler (1996) is derived from the UCC — that OI's exist in early child language if and only if the adult grammar is not an INFL-licensed null-subject language. Thus the UCC is seen as a fundamental explanatory force for a range of phenomena in early child grammar. Moreover the child data provide strong evidence for the claim that a D-feature motivates the raising of the subject in UG, thus unifying child and adult grammar and demonstrating the usefulness of the investigation of child grammar in the study of UG.
Article
Discusses the theory that infants learn their language by 1st determining, independent of language, the meaning which a speaker intends to convey to them, and by then working out the relationship between the meaning and the expression they heard. The assumptions on which the thesis rests are discussed, especially the assumption that a speaker's linguistic system and his intentions are distinguishable. Evidence in support of the thesis itself is adduced at 3 levels: lexicon, syntax, and phonology. An attempt is made to describe the strategies, nonlinguistic as well as linguistic, by which children use meaning to decipher language. (55 ref.)
Article
The simultaneous acquisition of two languages in early childhood presents an interesting test case for language acquisition theories. Children in bilingual environments receive input which could potentially lead to output systems different to those of monolingual children. The speech of three bilingual German-English children was recorded monthly between the ages of 2;0 and 5;0. The analysis of word order in the verb phrase shows that initial structural separation was followed by an extended period of non-target structures in German before the children eventually worked out which structures overlap and which structures differentiate the two languages. The bilingual data point towards language being acquired incrementally, on the basis of cue strength and cue cost. It is suggested that the partially overlapping structures in the input from German and English create structural saliencies for the child before they are functionally accessible. Functional identification eventually leads to structural separation.
Functionalist approaches to language acquisition
  • E Bates
  • B Macwhinney
Die Rolle der Fokuspartikel AUCH im frühen kindlichen Lexikon
  • Z Penner
  • R Tracy
  • K Wymann
How tolerant is universal grammar: Essays on language learnability and language variation
  • M Verrrips
I want a chimney builden": The acquisition of infinitival constructions in bilingual children
  • I Gawlitzek-Maiwald
The acquisition of verb placement: Functional categories and V2 phenomena in language acquisition
  • I Gawlitzek-Maiwald
  • R Tracy
  • A Fritzenschaft
Where scrambling begins: Triggering object scrambling in early language acquisition
  • Z Penner
  • R Tracy
  • J Weissenborn