Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

Words Onscreen

By Naomi S. Baron

Words Onscreen "explores how technology is reshaping our understanding of what it means to read."


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Communication Accommodation Theory

Edited by Howard Giles

Most people modify their ways of speaking, writing, texting, and e-mailing, and so on, according to the people with whom they are communicating. This fascinating book asks why we 'accommodate' to others in this way, and explores the various social consequences arising from it.


Academic Paper


Title: Usage-based vs. rule-based learning: the acquisition of word order in wh-questions in English and Norwegian
Author: Marit Westergaard
Institution: Center for Advanced Study in Theoretical Linguistics, U Tromsø
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Syntax
Subject Language: English
Norwegian Bokmål
Abstract: This paper discusses different approaches to language acquisition in relation to children's acquisition of word order in wh-questions in English and Norwegian. While generative models assert that children set major word order parameters and thus acquire a rule of subject–auxiliary inversion or generalized verb second (V2) at an early stage, some constructivist work argues that English-speaking children are simply reproducing frequent wh-word+auxiliary combinations in the input. The paper questions both approaches, re-evaluates some previous work, and provides some further data, concluding that the acquisition of wh-questions must be the result of a rule-based process. Based on variation in adult grammars, a cue-based model to language acquisition is presented, according to which children are sensitive to minor cues in the input, called micro-cues. V2 is not considered to be one major parameter, but several smaller-scale cues, which are responsible for children's lack of syntactic (over-)generalization in the acquisition process.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 36, Issue 5.

Return to TOC.

Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page