Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Language acquisition, philosophy: here we are concerned with the exploration of the conditions and processes of language learning and the possible development of theories about this area. See also language development, language, language rules, transformational grammar, depth structures, surface structures, grammar, universal grammar, syntax, semantics, learning, memory.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
Gärdenfors I 6
Language acquisition/Tomasello/Gärdenfors: (Tomasello 2001)(1) Thesis: the child's attention is often focused on a single object.

1. Tomasello, M. (2001). Perceiving intentions and learning words in thesecond year of life. In M. Bowerman & S. Levinson (Eds.),Language Acquisition and Conceptual Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Upton I 75
Language acquisition/Tomasello/Upton: Tomasello (2006)(1) describes a similar approach in his usage-based theory, which argues that the essence of language is its symbolic dimension, not its grammatical construction. Language is learned as a specific tool for conversation and communication. Concrete words are learned initially, with no grammatical rules at all. All the child has is a collection of useful concrete speech units, which form the basic building blocks of language. Gradually, the ability to construct longer and more complex utterances emerges. Initially, children do not possess the fully abstract categories and schemas of adult grammar. Children construct these abstractions only gradually and in piecemeal fashion. ((s) Vs: Cf. >Myth of the museum.)

General cognitive process/Tomasello:

intention-reading (e.g. joint attention), by which they attempt to understand the communicative significance of an utterance;
pattern-finding (categorisation, schema formation), by which they are able to create the more abstract dimensions of linguistic competence.

Upton: This implies that language development follows on from the development of our thinking processes.

1. Tomasello, M. (2006) Acquiring linguistic constructions, in Kuhn, D and Siegler, R (eds) Handbook of Child Psychology, Vol. 2: Cognition, perception, and language (6th edn). New York: Wiley.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Tomasello I
Michael Tomasello
Die Ursprünge der menschlichen Kommunikation Frankfurt/M. 2011

Gä I
P. Gärdenfors
The Geometry of Meaning Cambridge 2014

Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011

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