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word-08-16 - IN A WORD The Acquisition of Rules October 30,...

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The Acquisition of Rules The Acquisition of Rules October 30, 2008 IN A WORD
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I – Words are acquired one by one, without any generalizations or overgeneralizations. II – The child applies rules to everything, including irregular forms that were previously acquired correctly one by one. A ‘decline’ in performance appears to occur III – The child recovers from over-generalizations Stage I Adult Stage II
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HOW DO CHILDREN RECOVER FROM OVERGENERLIZATIONS??? Typically, overgeneralizations do not get corrected, and they are perfectly comprehended by adults: Father: where is that big piece of paper I gave you yesterday? Abe: Remember? I writed on it Father: Oh, that’s right, don’t you have any paper down here buddy?
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And when they are corrected, Children usually ignore the Corrections: Child: My teacher holded the baby rabbits and we patted them Adult: Did you say your teacher held the baby rabbits: Child: yes Adult: What did you say she did? Child: she holded the baby rabbits and we patted them Adult: Did you say she held them tightly? Child: No, she holded them loosely
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Morgan and Travis (1989) studied negative evidence about overgeneralizations in the corpus of Adam, Eve, and Sarah (with respect to questions), including: Parental expansions Exact imitations; Partial imitations Clarification questions Confirmation questions Attempts to move the conversation on No response
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ADULTS AROUND ADAM: Clarification questions tended to following ungrammatical sentences
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ADULTS AROUND EVE: Expansions and partial imitations tended to follow ungrammatical sentences
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ADULTS AROUND SARAH: All categories of adult responses occurred more frequently after grammatical sentences than after ungrammatical sentences.
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As children grow older – all patterns of response to errors disappear altogether
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IN THE ABSENCE OF NEGATIVE EVIDENCE - How do children learn that the right form is held ? More importantly, how do children learn that holded is the wrong form (and that holded and held do not just alternate freely as the past tense of hold ?)
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BLOCKING? When the child learns held he gives up holded . The existence of held blocks holded. Some problems with blocking: Our kid actually comprehended held perfectly well. Why does he keep insisting on saying holded anyway? This seems to suggest he is perfectly comfortable with two forms of past tense for hold. Well, how can there be a U-shape behavior if blocking is true? Why would the child ever give up correct (irregular) forms for over-generalized ones?
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BLOCKING AND RETRIEVAL The child has problems retrieving the stored information that hold has an irregular past tense. So, the child is making use of a
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word-08-16 - IN A WORD The Acquisition of Rules October 30,...

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