5b%20grammatical%20development%20in%20Year%203

5b%20grammatical%20development%20in%20Year%203 -...

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Language Development  in Year 3: A Day of Shameless Self  Promotion Lecture 5b, Grammatical Development SHS 120
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Problems with MLU MLU (invented by Roger Brown) is a measure of length, not of structure. MLU is based on utterances, but what exactly are utterances?
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Length vs. Complexity We kick it right over there. Words = 6 Clauses = 1 Verb in the simple present You thought I had seen you. Words = 6 Clauses = 2 1 st verb past, 2 nd verb in the past perfect The sentences to the left have the same number of morphemes. However, the second sentence is arguably more complex. So, MLU is not a measure of language COMPLEXITY
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Tricks Rote Production: Memorized Chunks Initially children produce some combinations of morphemes as memorized chunks e.g. that’s a book A little later on in time the same child is apt to produce the following sentence: that’s are books These kinds of errors indicate that originally that’s was a memorized chunk, or a “rote”. In calculating MLU, that’s would be counted as two morphemes – crediting the child with more morphemes than is warranted
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Sentence Sentences are well defined structured object Sentences must have subjects and predicates They form obligatory contexts for grammatical morphemes, whereas “utterances” do not.
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Morpheme Acquisition One of the main findings of Roger Brown’s research was that there was an order in the acquisition of grammatical morphemes (P&J, p. 83) The order was based on percent correct in obligatory contexts If a child produces that’s by rote, the child is correct, but the percent correct measurement is inflated
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What are Brown’s 14 Morphemes? A smattering of affixes and closed class items that children acquire between 2 and 4 ½. They have a fairly consistent order of acquisition. Brown (1973), DeVilliers & Devilliers (1973). What does acquisition mean? Use in obligatory contexts of 90% of the time or higher. Brown added that this rate of use should be extended over three sampling periods (roughly a month and a half)
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Brown’s 14 acquired by 36 months of age -ing progressive aspect on verbs Mommy drive/ing In preposition ball in cup On preposition Doggie on sofa -s/es noun plural two book/ s These are the first four of Brown’s morphemes to be acquired by children. They are usually acquired by 33 months of age, or Brown Stage 3 (P&J p 92, Table 3.3)
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Brown’s 14 (cont’d) Acquired by 48 months of age Irregular Past Forms Came, fell, broke -’s possessive NP clitic Mommy’s book Copula Be (uncontractible) He is (in response to a question “Who’s sick?” A(n) / the definite and indefinite articles for noun phrases -ed regular past He walk/ ed - s/es third person singular verb agreement It fit/ s Irregular third person singular
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