Beyond communicative adequacy: From piecemeal knowledge to an integrated system in the child's acquisition of language
Beyond communicative adequacy: From piecemeal knowledge to an integrated system in the child's acquisition of language. Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, 20
This study investigates the onset at periodic intervals in the age range of about two to five years of various kinds of recurrent and systematic errors in word choice and/or syntactic structure. Acquisitional processes and their implications are outlined. Sections address: (1) the kinds of processes that can be inferred to underlie errors ("late errors") that do not set in until after a period of correct usage; (2) the currently dominant model of how linguistic forms, meaning, and communication are interrelated in the acquisition of language; (3) challenging problems for this model; (4) a suggestion that the notion of "meaning" in language must be reconceptualized before the problems can be solved; and (5) evidence from several types of late errors that supports the arguments. The error types discussed show the ways in which the relationship between form and meanings can change in the course of language development. These changes occur after the child would ordinarily already be credited with having "acquired" the forms in question. This indicates that achieving fluent, productive use of a form and achieving adult-like knowledge of its structure are not necessarily isomorphic.