The Poverty of the Stimulus What has happened so far: * Speakers off language a body of tacit knowledge: competence * Not everyone agrees with this. Behaviorism wanted to reduce ‘knowledge of language’ to behavioral dispositions * Behavioral disposition doesn’t capture what it meaner to be a speaker off language. Chomsky: language is stimulus independent and creative * Children have competence of their native languages by the age of 5 (roughly) How is knowledge acquired in general (or skills, dispositions)?
What would parental teaching look like? * Explicit instruction (on grammar and vocabulary) * Examples of all the grammatical rules * Gradual increase in complexity * Corrective feedback for grammatical errors (negative evidence) Parental Replies: * Explicit correction: “don’t say X” * Explicit approval “yes, that’s right! ” * Recasting, expansion Child: “doggie has four feet” Adult: “doggie has four feet.
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All doggies have four feet” Findings: * When parent’s correct their children, it is usually for content (truth), not for rammer * All kinds of responses are used with both grammatical and ungrammatical utterances (noisy feedback) * Parent’s’ comprehension is unaffected by ungrammaticality Children tune out explicit corrections. Hypothalamic- (case study from sis, Storerooms) * Child who didn’t talk until around 5 * When he started: age-appropriate Cleft palate * Often: cannot talk until operated once operated: quickly reach age-mates Children who don’t speak make no mistakes – no chance to get corrected.