First language acquisition (Languages And Linguistics)

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A Production System Model of First Language Acquisition

A Production System Model of First Language Acquisition

A PRODUCTION SYSTEM MODEL OF FIRST LANGUAGE ACQUISITION A PRODUCTION SYSTEM MODEL OF FIRST LANGUAGE ACQUISITION Pat Langley Department of Psychology Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania[.]

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A Data driven Investigation of Corrective Feedback on Subject Omission Errors in First Language Acquisition

A Data driven Investigation of Corrective Feedback on Subject Omission Errors in First Language Acquisition

We have investigated the impact of corrective feedback on first language acquisition, in partic- ular on the reduction of subject omission errors in English—a type of error which we found to be the most commonly met with CF in our corpus study. In contrast to previous small-scale stud- ies in psycholinguistics, we have addressed this problem using a comparatively large data-driven setting. We have used machine learning methods trained on manually annotated data and then ap- plied statistical modelling to the automatically ex- tracted instances of CF on SOEs. The annotated dataset is publicly available at http://tinyurl. com/cf-conll2016 .
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The Role of Input in First Language Acquisition

The Role of Input in First Language Acquisition

The current study investigates the accessibility of a systematic pattern to Iranian infants learning their first language, and also it is a try to show the effect of the quantity of input on first language acquisition. To these aims, two case studies were carried out on six Iranian infants learning Persian as their first language. The participants of the first study were three infants acquiring their first language in Iran being followed for 12 months (24-36 months) to see if they all passed the same pattern in language development. The participants of the second study were three infants (who were exposed to less input) acquiring their first language in Iran being followed for 12 months (24-36 months) to see if the language development was affected considering the amount of input they were exposed to. In-depth interviews, observations, audio and video recordings, notes and reports were used to collect the data for this study. The data collected for each infant was analyzed separately, and the stages of development were reported for each infant accordingly. The findings support the claim that the process of language acquisition depends on an innate language ability which holds that at least some linguistic knowledge exists in humans at birth, and also the input that learners receive plays a very important role in the language acquisition since the input activates this innate structure.
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The rise of functional categories: Syntactic parallels between first language acquisition and historical change

The rise of functional categories: Syntactic parallels between first language acquisition and historical change

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my supervisor Neil Smith for his continuous support. When I listened to his lecture on first language acquisition at UCL, I got the inspiration that this might provide a solution to something which had puzzled me for a long time, that is, the question why syntax should change at all over time. This was the starting point where a long journey began, although I do not think that the itinerary of this journey has been exhausted. He has been a constant source of countless suggestions which have helped me shape my ideas. When I was overwhelmed by anxieties and worries, he encouraged me with his sense of humor and kindness. I have abused his generosity throughout these years. When I was lost in the mist, his broad knowledge and great insight helped me find a way out. He sorted out every problem which occurred to me one after another. Without his constant support, I could not have completed this thesis.
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First language acquisition vs second language learning: What is the difference?

First language acquisition vs second language learning: What is the difference?

Language acquisition is one of the most impressive aspects of human development. It is an amazing feat, which has attracted the attention of linguists for generations. First Language Acquisition (FLA) and New Language Learning (NLL) have sometimes been treated as two distinct phenomena creating controversy due to their variability in terms of age and environment. Oxford (1990: 4) in distinguishing between FLA and NLL argues that the first arises from naturalistic and unconscious language use and in most cases leads to conversational fluency; whereas the latter represents the conscious knowledge of language that happens through formal instruction but does not necessarily lead to conversational fluency of language. Fillmore (1989:311) proposes that this definition seems too rigid because some elements of language use are at first conscious and then become unconscious or automatic through practice. In another point of view, Brown (1994: 48) argues that both learning and acquisition are necessary for communicative competence particularly at higher skill levels. For these reasons, it can be argued that a learning acquisition continuum is more accurate than a dichotomy in describing how language abilities are developed.
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The emergence of inflection in bilingual first language acquisition : considerations for theories of grammatical development

The emergence of inflection in bilingual first language acquisition : considerations for theories of grammatical development

Studies of BFLA children acquiring language pairs that vary in morphological richness suggest that adult-like use of Inflection is achieved earlier in the morphologically richer language (Paradis & Genesee, 1997, 1997; Gawlitzek-Maiwlad & Tracy, 1996; Sinka & Schelletter, 1998). This suggestion is echoed in a cross-linguistic study of Italian and English children, aimed at identifying similarities and differences in lexical and grammatical development between the two languages, in the early stages of acquisition (Caselli, Casadio & Bates, 1999). Although Italian and English are both classified as fusional languages, they differ considerably in the extent to which they make use of Inflection and with respect to the distinctions marked by it. As pointed out by Hyams (1988), in Italian, uninflected stems are not possible words, whereas, in English, bare stems are allowed. As a consequence of this structural feature of the two languages, in Italian, all verbs, nouns and adjectives must bear an inflectional ending, whilst, in English, verbs, nouns and adjectives can surface as bare stems. As for the kinds of distinctions encoded by inflectional morphology, in Italian, nouns and adjectives are always morphologically marked for gender and number, whereas, in English, gender is never signalled by inflectional suffixes on nouns and adjectives, and number is morphologically marked only on plural nouns. English verbal morphology is similarly sparse. With the exception of the present tense third person singular marker -(e)s, person and number are never signalled by inflectional morphology on lexical verbs, but agreement is expressed by subject pronouns. Tense is encoded by an inflectional ending only in the simple present, which is said, under generativist accounts, to take a phonologically null suffix, the Ø marker, and the simple past, which takes the suffix –ed. All the other tenses are realised periphrastically. Conversely, in Italian, person and number are marked directly on the verb and tense is equally encoded by means of inflectional endings in all non-compound tenses.
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MoL 2016 01: 
  Corrective Feedback in First Language Acquisition

MoL 2016 01: Corrective Feedback in First Language Acquisition

An important argument in favor of the nativist viewpoint is the poverty of the stimulus hypothesis. Namely, the quality of the parental input is simply seen as too poor to enable acquisition of the correct grammar for the child, unless an important structural part of the grammar is already present before the learn- ing begins. This argument does seem intuitively convincing if we look at the many disfluencies, repetitions, non-sentential utterances, etc. which can be ob- served in spoken language. Compared to the actual rules for grammaticality of sentences such utterances are largely substandard. For example, Maclay and Osgood (1959) quantified the repeats and false starts observable in talks given at a linguistics conference. They found these irregularities to be ubiquitous. Now one should think that linguists do not form a subgroup of the population which makes particularly erroneous use of language. Hence the way a common child’s caregivers talk can reasonably be assumed to be just as ungrammatical. Clearly, if external input contains insufficient information to achieve the proficiency later on exhibited by the children, then the necessary structural framework for lan- guage acquisition must be innate. For example Chomsky (1965), as the most prominent proponent of the naturalist approach, uses this line of argument:
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Cross-linguistic influences on first language acquisition of olutachoni lexicon

Cross-linguistic influences on first language acquisition of olutachoni lexicon

Gender is an important subject variable which may influence analysis and interpretation of results in a child language acquisition research (Sanchez 2003). Many studies on language acquisition show that there are linguistic variations in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary attributed to gender differences among children (Crawford 1995). Studies conducted by Dressler (2007) and Gleason (1994) indicate that girls are usually more advanced in language development than boys. Girls begin to talk earlier; they articulate better and acquire a more extensive vocabulary than boys of the same age. Studies of verbal ability by Karmiloff- Smith (2002) have shown that girls and women surpass boys and men in verbal fluency, correct language usage, sentence complexity, grammatical structure, spelling, and articulation. Coates (1989) claims that female children are usually quicker than male children to obtain language. Everything from babbling to the timing of first words and speed of vocabulary growth, girls seem to be more ahead than boys. Another study by Ellis (1994) proves girls’ superiority in vocabulary growth. She studied the acquisition of vocabulary by eighteen children between the ages of one and two. Her study showed that all the boys fell in the group with the slower acquisition rate. The girls would have a vocabulary of fifty words at eighteen months old but the boys at twenty-two months.
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First Language Acquisition

First Language Acquisition

The two-word stage has been of great interest to many researchers because it is only with multi-word utterances that there is scope to investigate the early emergence of syntax. However, it has proven very difficult to provide a single characterization for all the utterances produced at the two-word stage. Different theories have been proposed. For example, Brown and Fraser (1964) suggested that early multi-word utterances are basically telegraphic – adult utterances with grammatical words like of, and or the missed out. This explains utterances like Sweater chair, Mommy sock, or Baby table, but not the many two-word utterances that do contain grammatical words, such as No down, She here, There high, or More noise. The alternative theory of ‘pivot grammar’, proposed by Braine (1963) and McNeill (1966), hypothesizes that children have two classes of words: pivot words and open words. Pivot words are restricted to one position in the utterance – first or second – and cannot occur alone. Instead they occur with open words, which can occur in either position, or alone. So a child might produce a set of utterances such as More milk, More juice, More read and More teddy, where each utterance ‘pivots’ around the fixed first word more. A comparable set with a second-place pivot might be Juice gone, All gone, Daddy gone. But again, this theory does not account for all the utterances produced by children in the two-word stage (you might be able to see why utterances like Outside more and No more 1 are problematic for this approach). There is also the problem that it is not clear how a child would transition from using a pivot grammar to using adult grammar. So the theory of pivot grammar is not ultimately satisfying as an explanation for usage of young children. However, a recent account by Tomasello (2003: 114-117) of early utterances based upon pivot schemas seems promising as an explanation for children’s utterances at this stage. Tomasello’s account is important as it preserves the insights of the pivot grammar approach, without the difficulty of a strict separation between pivots and open-class words. We will explore Tomasello’s ideas again later in the chapter.
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Semantic scaffolding in first language acquisition : the acquisition of raising-to-object and object control

Semantic scaffolding in first language acquisition : the acquisition of raising-to-object and object control

In Chapter 2 , I will consider in greater detail the task of verb learning: both the difficulty of acquiring verbs in general, as well as the specific problems posed by verbs whose meanings are abstract and whose syntax may include silent elements. Here I will discuss and assess several theories which have been put forth to explain how children over- come these learning difficulties. In Chapter 3 , I give an in-depth outline of the syntax of raising and control, as well as A-movement in general (of which raising is only one exam- ple), including syntactic controversies relating to these constructions, information about how these verbs pattern in adult speech, and what we currently know about them in child language acquisition. In Chapter 4 , I present some results from an exploratory corpus study of spontaneous child and adult uses of the RO verbs want and need, the OC verbs ask and tell, and matrix passives, as found in the CHILDES database ( MacWhinney , 2000 ). But spontaneous data is only so informative, especially as these constructions are fairly rare in children’s production. As a result, in Chapter 5 , I detail the first half of the experimental portion of the current research, including a series of truth-value judgment tasks with children, which examined the same verbs listed above. These tasks examine children’s comprehension of basic active RO and OC utterances, their comprehension of
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The ubiquity of frequency effects in first language acquisition

The ubiquity of frequency effects in first language acquisition

Frequency e ff ects are ubiquitous in virtually every domain of human cognition and behaviour, from the perception of facial attractiveness (Grammer & Thornhill,  ) and the processing of musical structure (Temperley,  ) to language change (Bybee,  ) and adult sentence processing (Ellis,  ). Our goal in this target article is to argue that frequency e ff ects are ubiquitous also in children ’ s fi rst language acquisition, and to summarize the di ff erent types of frequency e ff ect that are observed across all of its subdomains. We argue, very simply, that frequency e ff ects constitute a phenomenon for which any successful theory must account. Such a theory might be a generativist/nativist account, under which children have innate knowledge of abstract categories, but are sensitive to the fre- quency with which exemplars of these categories are present in the input (e.g. see Yang,  , for a review). It could equally be a constructivist/ usage-based account, under which children build up abstract constructions on the basis of the input, with the aid of little or no innate linguistic knowledge (e.g. Tomasello,  ). Regardless of whatever other theoretical assumptions are made, any successful account of language acquisition will need to incorporate frequency-sensitive learning mechanisms.
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INTERVIEW: An Interview with Professor Alison Wray

INTERVIEW: An Interview with Professor Alison Wray

AW: I was an avid language learner when I was in my teens and twenties, and developed my own methods for vocabulary learning. Near the end of my doctoral studies I met the famous vocabulary researcher Paul Meara, whom I was later lucky enough to work with at Swansea. So my interest in vocabulary learning was definitely developed. One year at the annual conference of the British Association for Applied Linguistics, I happened to sit in on a symposium on ‘formulaic language’. I was fascinated to hear one presenter observe how easily we use formulaic language every day, another show how easily children pick it up in first language acquisition, and a third explain how it is so deep engrained that it is often all that survives after a stroke, when novel language construction is no longer possible. Then the fourth speaker demonstrated how hard formulaic language is for L2 learners – and that struck me as odd: how could something that is so easy and so resilient for L1 speakers be so hard for L2 speakers? I decided to find out the answer, and that is how I got started on research in that area.
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Meaning theory and the problem of the acquisition of a first language.

Meaning theory and the problem of the acquisition of a first language.

Given these accounts of the nature of philosophy of language and meaning theory it is possible to identify an account of first-language acquisition although, unfortunately, it is more[r]

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Motivation and Second Language Acquisition

Motivation and Second Language Acquisition

The questionnaire was designed to measure the subjects’ intrinsic motivation and instrumental motivation with regard to the learning of English. Instrumental motivation is present when the learner has a specific functional goal that depends on acquiring a certain level of competence in the target language: to win a place at university, to get a job or a promotion, to be able to consult scientific papers, and so on. Powerful instrumental motivation may be strong enough to overcome a lack of integrative motivation – the desire to ‘to learn a language because of positive feelings toward the community that speaks that language’ (Gardner 1985, 82–3) – and will thus allow a person to acquire the target language despite negative attitudes towards the TL community; millions of users of ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) can express their distaste for American or British culture and people with impressive fluency. Much depends on the degree of communicative competence required; those whose motivation is entirely instrumental, and who only need to use a specific variety of the TL in a limited range of situations, may find that their L2 fossilizes, or to use Schumann’s (1978) preferred term, pidginizes, once those circumscribed skills have been acquired.
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The effectiveness of L2 vocabulary instruction: a meta-analysis

The effectiveness of L2 vocabulary instruction: a meta-analysis

The purpose of the present meta-analysis is to the investigate the overall effectiveness of L2 vocabulary instruction and to find the moderator variables affecting its effectiveness. By defining a rigorous inclusion and exclusion criteria, a total number of 16 primary studies (N = 1008), 7 published and 9 Ph.D. dissertations, were included. Under Random-Effects Model, the overall effect size of (d = 0.80) was observed. After conducting Q test of heterogeneity, a number of moderator variables were examined; context of instruction, publication type, age and L2 learners ’ proficiency level. It was found that (a) studies conducted in foreign language contexts generated larger effect sizes than ones conducted in SL contexts.(b)intermediated learners show a larger effect size than advanced and elementary students. (c) child learners were better than adult learners in Learning L2 vocabulary. (d) Published studies generated larger effect size than doctoral dissertations. (e) employing “ posters ” for teaching L2 vocabulary items generated higher effect size than reading activities, CALL, and songs. (f) abstract words generated higher effect size than concrete ones. Possible explanations of the findings are discussed with regard to the similar meta-analyses in the field and directions for future research are proposed.
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Language acquisition in developmental disorders

Language acquisition in developmental disorders

acquisition progresses in a given disorder). Their common conclusion was that these similarities must be the result of invariant internal biological constraints that shape language development in all the disorders. Thus Fowler argued that “…language acquisition [is] heavily constrained by brain structure” (1998, p.309), while Tager- Flusberg and Sullivan concluded that “there are not multiple alternative ways of acquiring language, though as each of these components [phonology, semantics, and syntax] develops over time, they may become integrated in different ways, which lead to syndrome-specific profiles” (1998, p.231). An alternative possibility is that, on computational grounds, some of the similarities to typical development are to be expected since learning systems with different properties are nevertheless trying to solve the same problem; that is, all the children are trying to solve the problem of communicating meaning via sound (Thomas, 2005a).
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Alternative Paradigm for Language  Acquisition

Alternative Paradigm for Language Acquisition

The Mentalist paradigm emphasizes the role of the mind in the cognitive process (Chomsky, 1995: pp. 47-55). The mind and the brain are two realities of different substances, the first is spiritual and the second is physical. The cognition is processed through the inborn rules hypothesize through the representation of the world in the mind by serial processing of abstract and fixed symbols (Poersch, 2005: p. 165). Chomsky believes that this process proposes the inborn existence of the mind through the cognitive process that has been influenced by the surrounding. The brain contains thousands of neurons connected and constituted of a body and two kinds of fi- laments that are responsible for the net formation; the axon and the synapse. The axon is electrical transmitters connecting a neuron body to synapse and other neurons. When an axon reaches a dendrite, there is a space in which chemical reactions are processed. The synapse reactions are responsible for learning process (Poersch, 2005: p. 168). As a result of the above case, the synthesis of philosophical grammar and structural linguistics that were introduced by mentalist begin to refute the behavioral sciences that are not sciences of the mind, avoiding the metaphysics issues, but discover the procedures apparently. Language is the mirror of the mind, it constructs data with innate property, then called “universal grammar”. Thus, Chomsky believed that to under- stand the deep structure in generative grammar, the mental process is needed in order to explain the evolution of human language (Chomsky, 2006: pp. 107-108).
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A Selectionist Theory of Language Acquisition

A Selectionist Theory of Language Acquisition

A statistical learner, one which builds knowledge purely on the basis of the distribution of the input data, predicts that English obligatory subject use should be learned much earlier t[r]

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Second Language Acquisition Modeling

Second Language Acquisition Modeling

Among our key findings is the observation that, for this particular formulation of the task, the choice of learning algorithm appears to be more important than clever feature engineering. In par- ticular, the most effective teams employed se- quence models (e.g., RNNs) that can capture user performance over time, and tree ensembles (e.g., GBDTs) that can capture non-linear relationships among features. Furthermore, using a multitask framework—in this case, a unified model that leverages data from all three language tracks—can provide further improvements.

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The Effect of Metacognitive Listening Instruction on EFL Young Language Learners’ Acquisition of Simple Past Tense

The Effect of Metacognitive Listening Instruction on EFL Young Language Learners’ Acquisition of Simple Past Tense

The same as data collection procedure, data analysis was of two types, i.e. quantitative and qualitative data analysis. As to the first research question (i.e. does metacognitive listening instruction result in the EFL young language learners’ acquisition of simple past tense?), the learners’ pre- and post-test scores were measured both descriptively and inferentially by independent sample t-test through SPSS software (version 20). On the other hand, the second research question (i.e. what are the EFL young language learners’ beliefs about grammar learning?), which is the qualitative part of the study, was analyzed by the application of grounded theory methodology (Glaser & Strauss, 1967), which is in favor of coding the data to find out the main categories emerged in the learners semi-structured interview transcriptions for the purpose of figuring out the main beliefs they held about grammar learning.
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