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Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice

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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

By Rudolf Botha

Language Evolution: The Windows Approach addresses the question: "How can we unravel the evolution of language, given that there is no direct evidence about it?"


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Academic Paper


Title: Negative input for grammatical errors: effects after a lag of 12 weeks
Author: Matthew Saxton
Institution: University of London
Author: Phillip Backley
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Tohoku Gakuin University
Author: Clare Gallaway
Institution: University of Manchester
Linguistic Field: Psycholinguistics
Abstract: Effects of negative input for 13 categories of grammatical error were assessed in a longitudinal study of naturalistic adult–child discourse. Two-hour samples of conversational interaction were obtained at two points in time, separated by a lag of 12 weeks, for 12 children (mean age 2;0 at the start). The data were interpreted within the framework offered by Saxton's (1997, 2000) contrast theory of negative input. Corrective input was associated with subsequent improvements in the grammaticality of child speech for three of the target structures. No effects were found for two forms of positive input: non-contingent models, where the adult produces target structures in non-error-contingent contexts; and contingent models, where grammatical forms follow grammatical child usages. The findings lend support to the view that, in some cases at least, the structure of adult–child discourse yields information on the bounds of grammaticality for the language-learning child.

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This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 32, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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