Analysis of longitudinal recordings of children's spontaneous speech can illuminate both the format of children's (and adults') grammatical knowledge, and the process by which that knowledge is acquired. Snyder & Stromswold (1997) applied this methodology to the acquisition of English argument structure (datives, causatives, verb-particle constructions), and found that acquisition is (i) incrementally additive (over time, the child's repertoire of grammatical structures is monotonically increasing), and (ii) parametric (multiple structures can be added in a single step). Likewise, Sugisaki & Snyder (2006) examined prepositional questions in children's English and Spanish, and found evidence that acquisition is also (iii) deterministic (no backtracking). Models of grammar and acquisition compatible with (i-iii) are discussed in light of evidence from Snyder's (2001) Compounding Parameter: treelets and the Structural Trigger Learning algorithm (Fodor 1998), cues (Lightfoot 1999, 2006), and learning paths (Dresher 1999).
Proceedings of the 6th Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA 2015)
edited by Laurel Perkins, Rachel Dudley, Juliana Gerard, and Kasia Hitczenko
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