LINGUIST List 13.3266

Wed Dec 11 2002

Books: Language Acquisition: Yang

Editor for this issue: Marisa Ferrara <>

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  1. bartonm, Knowledge and Learning in Natural Language: Yang

Message 1: Knowledge and Learning in Natural Language: Yang

Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 10:28:16 +0000
From: bartonm <>
Subject: Knowledge and Learning in Natural Language: Yang

Title: Knowledge and Learning in Natural Language
Publication Year: 2002
Publisher: Oxford University Press		 
Book URL:
Author: Charles Yang, Yale University 

Hardback: ISBN: 0199254141, Pages: 220 pp, Price: $ 72.00
Paperback: ISBN: 019925415X, Pages: 220 pp, Price: $ 21.95

"According to Yang, many of today's irregular verbs are historical
survivors of what were once systematic rules ... By neglecting this
historical evidence Pinker mistakenly supposes that the irregular
cases have to be memorized on a case-by-case basis, whereas according
to Yang what has to be memorized is which rule applies. Yang
strengthens his argument by bringing in evidence from other
languages. Yang argues that these irregular patterns are rule-based
and that the child's task is not to memorize plurals on a word-by-word
basis, but to figure out which rule applies, to which set the noun
belongs. If Yang is right, and I think he is, then Pinker's irregulars
are not illustrations of the words-and-rules thesis, but the
less-general-rules-and-more-general-rules thesis." --New York Review
of Books

Lingfield(s): Language Acquisition
Written In: English (Language Code: ENG)

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