Syntactic Development: Generative Grammar Perspective

Tom Roeper

In: Encyclopedia of Language Development

Syntactic Development: Generative Grammar Perspective

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  • Classic folklore facts from early acquisition—including so-called overgeneralization errors like goed—show that children use rules as opposed to mere imitation in learning a language. Child creativity abounds everywhere and requires an intricate representational system to capture. How does a child know that a my pencil is not acceptable in English, even though it is perfectly fine in the Italian, una mia matita? How does a child know that inventing the recursive use of another, as one child did in there's another another box to refer to a second box, is a possible form of recursion in some languages but not in English? How does a 4-year-old quickly grasp that one sentence can be inside another entailing a whole range of points of view (I ...

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