What Infants Know and What They have to Learn about Language
The study of language acquisition during the first year of life is reviewed. We identified three areas that have contributed to our understanding of how the infant copes with linguistic signals to attain the most basic properties of its native language. Distributional properties present in the incoming utterances may allow infants to extract word candidates in the speech stream as shown in the impoverished conditions of artificial grammar studies. This procedure is important because it would work well for most natural languages. We also highlight another important mechanism that allows infants to induce structure from very scarce data. In fact, humans tend to project structural conjectures after being presented with only a few utterances. Finally, we illustrate constraints on processing that derive from perceptual and memory functions that arose much earlier during the evolutionary history of the species. We conclude that all of these machanisms are important for the infants to gain access to its native language.
|Year of publication:||
|Authors:||Mehler, Jacques ; Nespor, Marina ; Peña, Marcela|
European Review. - Cambridge University Press. - Vol. 16.2008, 04, p. 429-444
Cambridge University Press
|Description of contents:||Abstract|
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