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Linguistics course 2. For each pair of statements below, indicate which one is true and which one is false. For the true statement, say which theory of language acquisition best accounts for it as wel
2. For each pair of statements below, indicate which one is true and which one is false. For
the true statement, say which theory of language acquisition best accounts for it as well
as which theory is the least suited to explain the statement. Explain your answers.
a. • A Chinese child adopted soon after birth by a Danish family will learn Danish
like other children growing up in Denmark with Danish parents.
• A Chinese child adopted soon after birth by a Danish family will learn Danish
more slowly than other children growing up in Denmark with Danish parents because the child is genetically predisposed to learn Chinese.
b. • Children say things like foots and both mans before they master the correct forms feet
and both men because they overuse the rule for regular plural information.
• Children never say things like foots and both mans, because imitate what
adults say and no adult would say this.
3. Consider the following examples of children's speech taken from Clark (1995), and
answer the questions:
[playing with a toy lawnmower] "I'm lawning."
[pretending to be superman] "I'm supermanning."
[realizing his father was joking] "Daddy, you joked me.
[of food on his plate] "I'm gonna fork this."
i. Explain what the children are doing with language. How are these utterances different from the adult norm? What do the children not know about the English language yet? On the other hand, what do the children already demonstrate knowing
about English in order to use it so creatively?
ii. Which theory of language acquisition best accounts for these data? Why?
4. Consider the following exchange taken from Braine (1971). Discuss the effectiveness Of
the father's strategy in teaching the child. Also think about what the father's and child's
respective objectives are. Which theory of language acquisition does this example
Child: Want other one spoon, Daddy.
Father: You mean, you want the other spoon.
Child: Yes, I want other one spoon, please Daddy.
Father: Can you say "the other spoon"?
Child: Other ... one ... spoon.
Father: Say "other."
Father: "Other spoon."
Child: Other ... spoon. Now give me other one spoon.
8. The data below are from a child named Paul at the age of two. They were collected by
his father, Timothy Shopen. Consider each set of examples, and answer the questions
at the end of each section.
A. Adult Word Paul Adult Word Paul
a. sun [SAn] d. snake [nelk]
b. see [si] e. sky [kai]
c. spoon [pun] f. stop [tap]
i. State a principle that describes Paul's pronunciation of these words. That
is, how does Paul's pronunciation systematically differ from the adult pronunciation?
B. Adult Word Paul Adult Word Paul
g. bed [bet] w. bus [bAS]
h. wet [wet] n. buzz [bAS]
i. egg [ek] o. man [mien]
j. rake [lelk] p. door [d:)J]
k. tub [tAp] q. some [SAm]
I. soap [soup] r. boy [b:H]
ii. State another principle describing Paul's pronunciations here. Be sure to word
your statement in a way that reflects the fact that (o)-(r) are not affected.
C. Adult Word Paul
s. laugh [l<ep]
t. off [Jp]
u. coffee [kJfi]
iii. State a third principle describing Paul's pronunciation in this section.
Based on the principles you have seen so far, suggest how Paul would pronounce the word love.
D. Adult Word Paul Adult Word Paul
v. truck [tAk] aa. clay [keI]
w. brownie [bauni] bb. cute [kut]
x. plane [pem] CC. beautiful [butdpdl]
y. broken [boukan] dd. twig [tlk]
z. crack [k<ek]
iv. State a fourth principle describing the new aspects of Paul's pronunciation
in these examples.
E. Adult Word Paul
ee. quick [kWlk]
ft. quack [kw<ek]
v. Do these two words illustrate an exception to the fourth principle? If so, how?
9. The data below are taken from Fasold and Connor-Linton (2006). The data show words
pronounced by different children at about the same age. Are there any sounds or sound
sequences that seem to be particularly difficult? What patterns are evident in the children's pronunciations?
Adult Word/ Child Adult Word/ Child
a. bottle [boboJ h. key [til ]
b. [bAfm] i. duck [gAk]
c. tub [bAbJ j. water [wowo]
d. baby [bibiJ k. stop [tJp]
e. tree [til I. blanket [ba:ki]
f. candy [ka:kiJ m. doggie [gJgi]
g. banana [na:n;) n. this [dis]
10.) The children below pronounce some words differently than adults do, and differently from one another. Look at the examples of each child’s speech and determine how each will pronounce the target phrases that follow.
Adult word Child
A. ghost (doust)
B. dog (dag)
C. cat (kaet)
D. gopher (doufer)
E. muffin (mafin)
F. pig (pig)
Adult word Child
A. ghost (goust)
B. dog (dak)
C. cat (kaet)
D. gopher (gouf)
E. muffin (maf)
F. pig (pik)
15. For each word below, explain what a child has to learn about the word in order to use
16. This activity is adapted from Yule (1996). Show the following list of expressions to some
friends and ask them to guess the meaning:
ft. a snow-car
Now compare your friends' versions with those of a two-year-old child below (from
Clark 1993). What do the examples suggest about the nature of vocabulary acquisition?
b. [talking about a toy car completely painted white]
Child: This is a snow-car.
Parent: Why is this a snow-car?
Child: 'Cause it's got lots of snow on it. I can't see the windows.
Child: This is a running stick.
Parent: A running-stick?
Child: Yes, because I run with it.
Child: [in the bath] It's a water-cake.
Parent: Why do you call it a water-cake?
Child: I made it in the water.
Child: I bought you a toothbrush and a finger-brush.
Parent: 'vVhat's a finger-brush?
Child: It's for cleaning your nails.
Child: [wearing a sun hat] I look like a pony-kid.
Parent: What's a pony-kid?
Child: A kid who rides ponies.
17. Read the following "conversations!! between three-month-old Ann and her mother
(from Snow 1977). Which aspects of how adults talk to young children and what they
say to young children can you identify in each "conversation!!?
a. Mom: Oh you are a funny little one, aren't you, hmm?
Aren't you a funny little one?
b. Ann: abaabaa
Yes, that's you, what you are.
18. For each pair of sentences, which of the two would an adult most likely say to a young
child? Justify your answer.
a. Timmy, see the bird?
Do you see the bird?
b. You are taking a bath now.
Timmy is taking a bath now.
c. Look, the girl is eating. And now she is playing with the balL
Look, the girl is eating. And now the girl is playing with the ball.
d. That's a birdie.
That's a robin.
e, No, that's a kitty, not a doggy.
No, say went, not goed.
19. Many adults use child-directed speech to speak to children, and they seem to be able to
use child-directed speech in ways that are helpful to the child. How do you think adults
know what to do to be most helpful?