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Cognition and Development – Child Language Acquisition

4. Syntax

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this lecture, we think about how children learn the rules of syntax that govern their native language, and how we can test for that understanding, focusing in particular on: (i) what we mean when we talk about syntax; (ii) the importance of word order in English – compare ‘the dog bites the man’ to ‘the man bites the dog’; (iii) two accounts of how children learn the syntactical rules of a language; (iv) the different ways of testing for syntactical understanding, including production studies with novel verbs, production studies with novel verbs and unusual syntax, act-out studies, and preferential looking studies; and (v) our current understanding of the extent to which children have an innate sense of syntax based on these studies.

Course

In this course, Professor Ben Ambridge (University of Liverpool) explores childhood language acquisition. In the first lecture, we explore how children learn to distinguish the basic sounds (phonemes) that make up their mother tongue. In the second lecture, we think about how children learn new words. In the third lecture, we explore how children learn the rules of morphology and how we can test for that understanding. Next, we think about how children learn the rules of syntax. In the fifth and final lecture, we review a general timeline of child language acquisition from the middle of the second trimester to five years old.

Lecturer

Professor Ben Ambridge is Professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Liverpool. His research focuses on children's first language acquisition, mostly using judgment and production methodologies. He is particularly interested in children's errors involving question formation (e.g., *What he doesn't like?) and verb argument structure overgeneralisation errors (e.g., *The joked giggled him; *I falled over). One of Professor Ambridge’s recent publications is ‘Syntactic representations contain semantic information: Evidence from Balinese passives’ (2022), and he is also the author of the popular science book Psy-Q, Are You Smarter than a Chimpanzee? (2014).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Ambridge, B. (2021, January 05). Cognition and Development – Child Language Acquisition - Syntax [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/child-language-acquisition/syntax-4b135ecd-aa27-455d-af55-0b215d448b82

MLA style

Ambridge, B. "Cognition and Development – Child Language Acquisition – Syntax." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 05 Jan 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/child-language-acquisition/syntax-4b135ecd-aa27-455d-af55-0b215d448b82

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