Acquisition of a Verb-Subject-Object Miniature Linguistic System by Adults Two experiments are reported. In the first, ten college-aged adults were exposed to a miniature linguistic system (MLS) and the referents it encoded. The referents included three shapes which functioned as subjects in the MLS, three shapes which functioned as objects, and three actions which functioned as verbs. Nine nonsense ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1980
Acquisition of a Verb-Subject-Object Miniature Linguistic System by Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • James A. Till
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Howard Goldstein
    George Peabody College for Teachers, Nashville, Tennessee
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1980
Acquisition of a Verb-Subject-Object Miniature Linguistic System by Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1980, Vol. 23, 787-801. doi:10.1044/jshr.2304.787
History: Received January 25, 1979 , Accepted December 13, 1979
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1980, Vol. 23, 787-801. doi:10.1044/jshr.2304.787
History: Received January 25, 1979; Accepted December 13, 1979

Two experiments are reported. In the first, ten college-aged adults were exposed to a miniature linguistic system (MLS) and the referents it encoded. The referents included three shapes which functioned as subjects in the MLS, three shapes which functioned as objects, and three actions which functioned as verbs. Nine nonsense syllables were assigned to the referents. The MLS allowed only sentences of the form, verb-subject-object, to describe a subject-shape acting in a specific manner on an object-shape. Videotaped presentations of the shape and action referents and simultaneous auditory presentation of the appropriate MLS sentence were used during teaching trials. Testing trials containing no auditory presentations were alternated with the teaching trials. During testing trials, subjects were required to write MLS sentences to describe the shape-action referents presented. The data gathered during testing trials allowed the acquisition of each lexical item, each word-class, and the word-class ordering rule to be examined. The results of Experiment I showed that the actions were learned more quickly than either the subject-shapes or the object-shapes. Experiment II investigated possible reasons for the verb-learning advantage noted in Experiment I. Twelve college-aged adults learned shape names and action names as single word responses. The results of Experiment II suggest that the verb-learning advantage noted in Experiment I was due, at least in part, to a lexical learning effect rather than a syntactical learning effect, nonsense syllable mediation, or word position. Error analyses of Experiment I data support this conclusion. Implications of the findings and the experimental technique for language remediation are discussed.

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