Knowledge and Learning in Natural Language

Paperback | November 1, 2002

byCharles D. Yang

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This book presents a new theory of how children acquire language and discusses its implications for a wide range of topics. It explores the roles of innateness and experience in language acquisition, provides further evidence for the theory of Universal Grammar, and shows how linguisticdevelopment in children is a driving force behind language shifts and changes.Charles Yang surveys a wide range of errors in children's language and identifies overlooked patterns. He combines these with work in biological evolution in order to develop a model of language acquisition by which to understand the interaction between children's internal linguistic knowledge andtheir external linguistic experience. He then presents evidence from his own and others' research in the acquisition of syntax and morphology and data from historical language change to test its validity. The model is the first to make quantitative and cross-linguistic predictions about childlanguage. It may also be deployed as a predictive model of language change which, when the evidence is available, could explain why grammars change in a particular direction at a particular time.Knowledge and Learning in Natural Language is a pioneering work at the centre of current concerns in linguistics and cognitive science. It will interest all those concerned to understand and explain language acquisition, Universal Grammar, and language change.

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This book presents a new theory of how children acquire language and discusses its implications for a wide range of topics. It explores the roles of innateness and experience in language acquisition, provides further evidence for the theory of Universal Grammar, and shows how linguisticdevelopment in children is a driving force behind ...

Charles Yang has been teaching computational linguistics and language acquisition at Yale since receiving his Ph.D. in computer science at MIT.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:188 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.55 inPublished:November 1, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019925415X

ISBN - 13:9780199254156

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Table of Contents

1. The Study of Language and Language Acquisition2. A Variational Model of Language Acquisition3. Rules Over Words4. Grammar Competition in Children's Syntax5. The Dynamics of Language Change6. SummaryBibliography

Editorial Reviews

`Yang's carefully crafted and impressively argued study is a significant contribution to the exciting field of language acquisition, and cognitive growth more generally. He has shown how conceptions of 'universal grammar' can be integrated with precise ideas about learning/growth mechanismswithin a variational model of language acquisition that yields sharp and well-confirmed predictions over quite an interesting range, with implications for language change as well. It is a substantial achievement, sure to become the basis for much fruitful inquiry and research.'Noam Chomsky