Cours 07

Cours 07


48 Pages
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Two types of words• Content words:– nous, verbs, adjectifs, adverbs– open class– most are low-frequency words• Function words: – articles, pronouns, conjunctions, auxiliaries, etc…– closed class– tend to be highly frequentAcquisition of function words• Children typically omit function words(telegraphic style)– ex: ‘gros camion’, ‘Papa donne’• Hypothesis: young children do not processfunction words– they are not perceptually salient (monosyllabic, reduced vowels)– they have no observable meaning• Experimental tests of this hypothesisProduction: repetition taskcontent word functor (function stringword/morpheme)English English Pete pushes the dogEnglish Nonsense Pete pusho na dogNonsense English Pete bases the depNonsense Nonsense Pete baso na depSubjects: 2-year-old English-speaking toddlersProduction: repetition task• Hypotheses and predictions– children fail to encode weakly stressed syllables in the input content words (English or nonsense): preservedfunctors (English or nonsense): omitted – children selectively attend to words with familiar referents English content words: preservedall else: omitted– children's functor omissions are due in part to their recognition of these elements as separable morphemes content words (English or nonsense): preservedfunctors: English ones omitted more than nonsense onesResults (low MLU subgroup)content functor504030• more omissions of functors than 20of content words• content words: no ...



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Language English
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Two types of words
Content words: – nous, verbs, adjectifs, adverbs – open class – most are low-frequency words
Function words: – articles, pronouns, conjunctions, auxiliaries, etc… – closed class – tend to be highly frequent
Acquisition of function words
Children typically omit function words (telegraphic style) – ex: ‘gros camion’, ‘Papa donne’
Hypothesis: young children do not process function words – they are not perceptually salient (monosyllabic, reduced vowels) – they have no observable meaning
Experimental tests of this hypothesis
Production: repetition task
content word
functor (function word/morpheme) English
Pete pushes the dog
Pete pusho nadog
Petebases thedep
Petebaso nadep
Subjects: 2-year-old English-speaking toddlers
Production: repetition task
Hypotheses and predictions –children fail to encode weakly stressed syllables in the inputcontent words (English or nonsense): preserved functors (English or nonsense): omitted –children selectively attend to words with familiar referentsEnglish content words: preserved all else: omitted –children's functor omissions are due in part to their recognition of these elements as separable morphemescontent words (English or nonsense): preserved functors: English ones omitted more than nonsense ones
Results(low MLU subgroup)
content functor
Gerken, Landau & Remez (1990)
• more omissions of functors than of content words contentwords: no difference between English and nonsense functors: more omissions of English than of nonsense ones
omission as a function of knowledge of content words
Gerken, Landau & Remez
Comprehension: picture identification task
Picture book with 4 pictures per page, one depicting the target word
– Findthebird for me
– Find * bird for me
– Findwasbird for me
– Findgubbird for me
Synthetic speech
90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
Results (2-year olds)
Voice 1
Gerken & McIntosh (1993)
Voice 2
the * was gub
Two-year old children typically do not produce function words
However, they process these words
– when they repeat a sentence, they omit real function words more often than nonsense function words
– they better understand phrases containing correct function words than phrases containing no, incorrect, or nonsense function words
Acquisition paradox
Knowing function words can help you learn content words: – determiners co-occur with nouns (le toucale,ta jaurime) – pronouns co-occur with verbs (elle toucale,tu jaurimes)
Knowing content words can help you learn function words: – nouns co-occur with determiners (x biberon) – verbs co-occur with pronouns (x mange)
stem?htsic riucal rys otni kaerb stnanf idow Ho
Acquisition paradox
Semantic bootstrapping(Pinker, 1984): – infants learn a few nouns that refer to concrete objects and a few verbs that refer to concrete actions – based on the syntactic distribution of these items, they can then learn other nouns and verbs (as well as the co-occurring function words)
Phonological bootstrapping(Shi et al., 1998): – infants learn to distinguish function words and content words on the basis of phonological (and distributional) differences between the two categories – note that they then need to sort function words and content words into two categories (nominal/nouns and verbal/verbs)