Grammar as a developmental phenomenon

Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):615-637 (2012)
Abstract
More and more researchers are examining grammar acquisition from theoretical perspectives that treat it as an emergent phenomenon. In this essay, I argue that a robustly developmental perspective provides a potential explanation for some of the well-known crosslinguistic features of early child language: the process of acquisition is shaped in part by the developmental constraints embodied in von Baer’s law of development. An established model of development, the Developmental Lock, captures and elucidates the probabilistic generalizations at the heart of von Baer’s law. When this model is applied to the acquisition of grammar, it predicts that grammatical achievements that are more generatively entrenched will emerge earlier in development and will be more developmentally resilient than those that are less generatively entrenched. I show that the first prediction is supported by a wealth of psycholinguistic evidence involving typically developing children and that the second prediction is supported by numerous studies involving both children who receive deficient linguistic input and children who experience various language impairments. The success of this model demonstrates the analytic potential of a developmental approach to the study of language acquisition.
Keywords Development  Generative Entrenchment  Grammar  Innateness  Language  Syntax
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10539-012-9324-4
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 26,188
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
The Sciences of the Artificial.Herbert A. Simon - 1969 - [Cambridge, M.I.T. Press.
Rules and Representations.Noam A. Chomsky - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (127):1-61.

View all 13 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Articulating Babel: An Approach to Cultural Evolution.William C. Wimsatt - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):563-571.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
A Grammar Systems Approach to Natural Language Grammar.M. Dolores Jiménez López - 2006 - Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (4):419 - 454.
Road to Language: Longer, More Believable, More Relevant.R. Allen Gardner - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (3):285-286.
Nature, Nurture and Universal Grammar.Paul Pietrowski - 2001 - Linguistics and Philosophy 24 (2):139 - 186.
Nature, Nurture, and Universal Grammar.Stephen Crain & Paul M. Pietroski - 2001 - Linguistics and Philosophy 24 (2):139-186.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2012-05-26

Total downloads

22 ( #223,086 of 2,153,836 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #225,089 of 2,153,836 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums