the infinite gift how children learn and unlearn the languages of the world

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The Infinite Gift

Author : Charles Yang
ISBN : 074329338X
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 90. 24 MB
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A child's very first word is a miraculous sound, the opening note in a lifelong symphony. Most parents never forget the moment. But that first word is soon followed by a second and a third, and by the age of three, children are typically learning ten new words every day and speaking in complete sentences. The process seems effortless, and for children, it is. But how exactly does it happen? How do children learn language? And why is it so much harder to do later in life? Drawing on cutting-edge developments in biology, neurology, psychology, and linguistics, Charles Yang's The Infinite Gift takes us inside the astonishingly complex but largely subconscious process by which children learn to talk and to understand the spoken word. Yang illuminates the rich mysteries of language: why French newborns already prefer the sound of French to English; why baby-talk, though often unintelligible, makes perfect linguistic sense; why babies born deaf still babble -- but with their hands; why the grammars of some languages may be evolutionarily stronger than others; and why one of the brain's earliest achievements may in fact be its most complex. Yang also puts forth an exciting new theory. Building on Noam Chomsky's notion of a universal grammar -- the idea that every human being is born with an intuitive grasp of grammar -- Yang argues that we learn our native languages in part by unlearning the grammars of all the rest. This means that the next time you hear a child make a grammatical mistake, it may not be a mistake at all; his or her grammar may be perfectly correct in Chinese or Navajo or ancient Greek. This is the brain's way of testing its options as it searches for the local and thus correct grammar -- and then discards all the wrong ones. And we humans, Yang shows, are not the only creatures who learn this way. In fact, learning by unlearning may be an ancient evolutionary mechanism that runs throughout the animal kingdom. Thus, babies learn to talk in much the same way that birds learn to sing. Enlivened by Yang's experiences with his own young son, The Infinite Gift is as charming as it is challenging, as thoughtful as it is thought-provoking. An absorbing read for parents, educators, and anyone who has ever wondered about the origins of that uniquely human gift: our ability to speak and, just as miraculous, to understand one another.

Knowledge And Learning In Natural Language

Author : Charles D. Yang
ISBN : 019925415X
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 67. 72 MB
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The model is makes quantitative and cross-linguistic predictions about child language. 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.

The Wonders Of Language

Author : Ian Roberts
ISBN : 9781316943199
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 24. 29 MB
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Ian Roberts offers a stimulating introduction to our greatest gift as a species: our capacity for articulate language. We are mostly as blissfully unaware of the intricacies of the structure of language as fish are of the water they swim in. We live in a mental ocean of nouns, verbs, quantifiers, morphemes, vowels and other rich, strange and deeply fascinating linguistic objects. This book introduces the reader to this amazing world. Offering a thought-provoking and accessible introduction to the main discoveries and theories about language, the book is aimed at general readers and undergraduates who are curious about linguistics and language. Written in a lively and direct style, technical terms are carefully introduced and explained and the book includes a full glossary. The book covers all the central areas of linguistics, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, as well as historical linguistics, sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics.

Language And The African American Child

Author : Lisa J. Green
ISBN : 9781139495028
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 27. 32 MB
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How do children acquire African American English? How do they develop the specific language patterns of their communities? Drawing on spontaneous speech samples and data from structured elicitation tasks, this book explains the developmental trends in the children's language. It examines topics such as the development of tense/aspect marking, negation and question formation, and addresses the link between intonational patterns and meaning. Lisa Green shows the impact that community input has on children's development of variation in the production of certain constructions such as possessive -s, third person singular verbal -s, and forms of copula and auxiliary be. She discusses the implications that the linguistic description has for practical applications, such as developing instructional materials for children in the early stages of their education.

Bilingual Development And Literacy Learning

Author : Norbert FRANCIS
ISBN : 9789629372057
Genre : Education
File Size : 75. 10 MB
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A major part of this book is devoted to the presentation of a series of proposals for collaborative research with investigators working in East Asia on cross-writing system comparisons and bilingual literacy - comparing alphabetic and morpho-syllabic literacy.

Creating Language

Author : Morten H. Christiansen
ISBN : 9780262034319
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 70. 28 MB
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A work that reveals the profound links between the evolution, acquisition, and processing of language, and proposes a new integrative framework for the language sciences.

Varieties Of Modern English

Author : Diane Davies
ISBN : 9781317878148
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 31. 66 MB
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The 'story' of English is continually re-told and re-written, as more and more people use the language and have a part in shaping the way it develops. Varieties of Modern English provides a critical introduction to the study of regional, social, gendered, context- and medium-related varieties of the language, and explores some of the debates concerning the role and impact of English in different parts of the world today. Beginning by outlining the main types of variation in language, the book focuses on the link between language or dialect and the construction of both group and individual identities. Issues of identity are crucial to chapters on the roots of Modern English, on gender and English, on ethnicity and English and on English as an international language. As well as looking at a range of 'users' of the language, Davies also explores many of its 'uses' and modes, including the English of literary texts, advertising, newspaper reporting and commentary, political speeches, email and text messaging. Written in a discursive, student-friendly style, the book also provides: * A rich mix of illustrative material * End-of-chapter Activities and related Comments at the end of the book * Suggestions for further reading Varieties of Modern English provides a thought-provoking overview of its subject and will be invaluable reading for students of English Language and Linguistics.

The Price Of Linguistic Productivity

Author : Charles Yang
ISBN : 9780262035323
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 28. 21 MB
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An investigation of how children balance rules and exceptions when they learn languages.

Introducing Phonetics And Phonology

Author : Mike Davenport
ISBN : 9781444128413
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 48. 29 MB
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This book examines some of the ways in which linguists can express what native speakers know about the sound system of their language. Intended for the absolute beginner, it requires no previous background in linguistics, phonetics or phonology. Starting with a grounding in phonetics and phonological theory, the book provides a base from which more advanced treatments may be approached. It begins with an examination of the foundations of articulatory and acoustic phonetics, moves on to the basic principles of phonology, and ends with an outline of some further issues within contemporary phonology. Varieties of English, particularly Received Pronunciation and General American, form the focus of consideration, but aspects of the phonetics and phonology of other languages are discussed as well. This new edition includes more discussion of Optimality Theory and a new glossary of terms. It has been updated throughout to take account of the latest developments in phonological theory, but without sacrificing the book's ease of use for beginners.

Introduction To English Syntax

Author : Jim Miller
ISBN : 9780748633623
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 45. 36 MB
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REVIEW FROM PREVIOUS EDITION: 'A slim and useful student textbook for English Syntax. Although most of the examples are from English, the book introduces general concepts which provide the necessary tools for a basic syntactic analysis of any language. The book concentrates on topics that will remain useful to the student who does not go on to study linguistics but, say, literature or EFL teaching.' - The Year's Work in English StudiesIn this revised and fully updated new edition of his popular textbook, Jim Miller discusses the central concepts of syntax which are applied in a wide range of university courses, in business communication, in teaching and in speech therapy. The book deals with concepts which are central to traditional grammar but have been greatly refined over the past forty years: parts of speech and how to recognise them, constructions and their interrelationships, subordinate clauses and how to recognise the different types, subjects and objects, Agents and Patients and other roles. The book draws out the connections between syntax and meaning and between syntax and discourse; in particular, a new chapter focuses on the analysis of discourse and the final chapter deals with tense, aspect and voice, topics which are central to the construction of texts and are of major importance in second language learning. They are also areas where meaning and grammar interconnect very closely.Key FeaturesCoverage of central themes with a wide application outside the study of syntaxExplains basic concepts, supported by a glossary of technical termsExercises and sources for further reading provided.

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