By William O'Grady

Demonstrating how little ones learn how to produce and distinguish among sounds, and their acquisition of phrases and meanings, this ebook explains their brilliant mastery of language. William O'Grady offers readers with an summary not just of the language acquisition technique itself, but in addition of the inventive experiments and strategies that researchers use to enquire this mysterious phenomenon.

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Correct 100 80 60 40 20 0 35 (age in months) 37 39 41 43 U-shaped development of the correct past tense for irregular verbs31 Recently, however, linguists have begun to think that this picture might not be entirely accurate. 32 To the surprise of almost everyone, they found that children apparently don’t use incorrect past tense forms all that often. In fact, on average, children aged two to five make mistakes with irregular verbs only 10 percent of the time. Moreover, none of the The great word hunt 23 more than eighty children in the study produced incorrect past tense forms more than 25 percent of the time.

31 The Basic Level Assumption A new word refers to types of objects that are alike in basic ways. 32 Three word-learning strategies for getting started The Whole Object Assumption: A new word refers to a whole object. The Type Assumption: A new word refers to a type of thing, not just to a particular individual. The Basic Level Assumption: A new word refers to types of objects that are alike in basic ways. These are very sensible strategies to follow and their effects are easy to observe – many of children’s first nouns do in fact refer to types of objects that are alike in basic ways.

That’s also why we say hot dog for the thing that we eat, but hot dog for an overheated canine. ) Children don’t just learn words. They create their own, including many that are not found in adult speech. ) Others, like brakers for “car brakes” and cooker for a “cook,” involve the overapplication of a derivational suffix. 39 As we’ll see next, these are more than just cute errors – they are valuable clues that can be used in conjunction with experiments to The great word hunt 29 figure out how children go about building words.

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