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7. Learning Syntax
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the acquisition of syntax (correct word order), focusing in particular on: (i) the typical word orders that one finds in languages around the world: subject-verb-object (SVO), subject object verb (SOV) and verb subject object (VSO); (ii) the two main current theories for explaining how children acquire language – universal grammar and emergentism – and what each says about the acquisition of syntax; and (iii) the work of Nameera Akhtar and the attempt to test syntax acquisition in children experimentally.
In this course, Professor Henriëtte Hendriks (University of Cambridge) provides an introduction to child language acquisition. In the first module, we provide an introduction to the study of language acquisition, before turning in the second module to explore three theories of child language acquisition: the behaviourist theory of language acquisition; the work of Noam Chomsky and the concept of universal grammar (UG); and the emergentist theory of language acquisition. In the six modules that follow, we go through each stage of language acquisition. In the third module, we explore the how children learn to segment the speech stream and begin to recognise individual sounds. In the fourth module, we think about how children start to produce sounds for themselves, and the extent to which 'babbling' is associated with language. In the fifth and sixth modules, we explore two theories for how children acquire words, before turning in the seventh module to consider the acquisition of syntax (or word order). Finally, in the eighth and ninth modules, we think about the acquisition of morphology, including the work of Roger Brown and Jean Berko's Wug Test.
Prof. Henriëtte Hendriks is Professor of Language Acquisition and Cognition at the University of Cambridge. Her principal interests are in applied- and psycholinguistics and more specifically in the interaction between language acquisition and cognition and language acquisition and culture, involving languages as different as Dutch, German, English, French, Chinese and Polish.
Cite this Lecture
Hendriks, H. (2022, April 21). Child Language Acquisition - Learning Syntax [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/child-language-acquisition-hendriks/learning-syntax
Hendriks, H. "Child Language Acquisition – Learning Syntax." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 21 Apr 2022, https://www.massolit.io/courses/child-language-acquisition-hendriks/learning-syntax