This book explains a well-known puzzle that helped catalyze the establishment of generative syntax: how children tease apart the different syntactic structures associated with sentences like John is easy/eager to please. The answer lies in animacy: taking the premise that subjects are animate, the book argues that children can exploit the occurrence of an inanimate subject as a cue to a non-canonical structure, in which that subject is displaced (the book is easy/*eager to read). The author uses evidence from a range of linguistic subfields, including syntactic theory, typology, language processing, conceptual development, language acquisition, and computational modeling, exposing readers to these different kinds of data in an accessible way. The theoretical claims of the book expand the well-known hypotheses of syntactic and semantic bootstrapping, resulting in greater coverage of the core principles of language acquisition. This is a must-read for researchers in language acquisition, syntax, psycholinguistics and computational linguistics.Read more
- Provides an answer to a well-known puzzle in syntactic theory and exposes readers to a learnability puzzle that served as a main catalyst in the establishment of generative syntax
- Draws on evidence from a range of linguistic sub-fields and will be of interest to readers with different areas of expertise
- Presents computational models of language learning, which represent a new advance in language acquisition research and are accessible to non-computationalists
Reviews & endorsements
'This book is a major milestone for acquisition research in the 'strict' sense: what exactly does the adult know, and how do children acquire that knowledge? Becker is conversant with an unusually broad range of disciplines, including generative grammar, developmental psychology, and computational modeling. This enables her to support the book's central thesis - that children use animacy cues for detecting syntactic displacement - with strong, converging evidence from cross-linguistic comparisons, adult psycholinguistics, Bayesian models, transcripts of child-directed speech, and laboratory experiments with children.' William Snyder, University of Connecticut
Not yet reviewed
Be the first to review
Review was not posted due to profanity×
- Date Published: April 2014
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107007840
- length: 342 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 155 x 23 mm
- weight: 0.63kg
- contains: 32 b/w illus. 26 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
2. The syntax of displacing and non-displacing predicates
3. Argument hierarchies
4. Animacy and adult sentence processing
5. Animacy and children's language
6. Modeling the acquisition of displacing predicates
7. Conclusions and origins.
Sorry, this resource is locked
Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email firstname.lastname@example.orgRegister Sign in
You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner www.ebooks.com. Please see the permission section of the www.ebooks.com catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.Continue ×
Are you sure you want to delete your account?
This cannot be undone.
Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.
If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.×