Training Generative Repertoires within Agent-Action-Object Miniature Linguistic Systems with Children This study investigated processes responsible for generative language acquisition through the use of a miniature linguistic system. The miniature linguistic system consisted of nonsense syllables and concrete-enactive, agent-action referents. The purpose of: Experiment 1 was to determine (a) whether children would recombine agent and action constituents to produce novel utterances ... Research Article
Research Article  |   March 01, 1983
Training Generative Repertoires within Agent-Action-Object Miniature Linguistic Systems with Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Howard Goldstein
    George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 01, 1983
Training Generative Repertoires within Agent-Action-Object Miniature Linguistic Systems with Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 1983, Vol. 26, 76-89. doi:10.1044/jshr.2601.76
History: Received June 1, 1981 , Accepted February 22, 1982
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 1983, Vol. 26, 76-89. doi:10.1044/jshr.2601.76
History: Received June 1, 1981; Accepted February 22, 1982

This study investigated processes responsible for generative language acquisition through the use of a miniature linguistic system. The miniature linguistic system consisted of nonsense syllables and concrete-enactive, agent-action referents. The purpose of: Experiment 1 was to determine (a) whether children would recombine agent and action constituents to produce novel utterances and (b) whether children would generate further extensions of the linguistic system (e.g., agent-action-object sentences) following training of a novel syntactic construction. Four children (aged 8:8, 7:4, 4:9, and 4:5) produced novel utterances to describe untrained agent-action referents. They also progressed from agent-action learning to producing agent-action-object sentences after training on only one or two examples of this sentence type with the appropriate referents. Experiment 2 explored conditions more likely to facilitate recombinative generalization among preschoolers. In particular, how a history of lexical learning affects subsequent language learning was investigated with seven .4-year-olds. Results indicated that a history of lexical learning greatly enhanced generative production of untrained agent-action utterances. In addition, all seven children learned new syntactic rules to generate three-word utterances, regardless of the orderings of agent, action, and object words. Implications for developing efficient language remediation programs arc discussed.

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