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Intuitive Grammar Develops By Age Six, Say Researchers
Science Daily ^ | 4-28-2008 | University of Liverpool

Posted on 04/28/2008 7:42:26 PM PDT by blam

Intuitive Grammar Develops By Age Six, Say Researchers

ScienceDaily (Apr. 29, 2008) — Psychologists at the University of Liverpool have discovered that children as young as six are as adept at recognising possible verbs and their past tenses as adults.

In a study conducted by the University's Child Language Study Centre, children aged between six and nine were given sentences containing made-up verbs such as 'the duck likes to spling' and were asked to judge the acceptability of possible past tense forms. The study focused on the process the children used to come to their conclusions rather than whether their answers were right or wrong.

They found that the children's judgements followed a virtually identical pattern to those of linguistics students who took part in a similar study at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the US.

University of Liverpool psychologist, Ben Ambridge, said: "Previous studies have concentrated on getting children to produce past tense forms for made-up words. This study is unique in that the children were asked to judge the acceptability of different forms that we gave them.

"One of the main questions raised when looking at children's ability to pick up their native language is whether abstract symbolic rules or the use of memory and comparison affect how a child attributes past tenses to words.

"The study was designed to investigate whether we coin novel past-tense forms like 'emailed' by applying the default rule of adding 'ed' to the present-tense form or by making an analogy with similar-sounding words stored in the memory, for example in the way we know to form 'sailed' from 'sail' by linking it to like-sounding words such as 'tail' or 'fail'. The study found evidence for the latter, supporting the view that we solve problems by making analogies with similar events stored in our memory rather than by applying abstract mental rules."

He added: Grammaticality judgements are generally used by adult linguists so it's impressive that children have been able to make them. They can't tell you how they do it, but even six-year-olds know when a made-up word just doesn't sound right."

Adapted from materials provided by University of Liverpool.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: grammar; intuitive; language; linguistics

1 posted on 04/28/2008 7:42:26 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam
If it splings like a duck...
2 posted on 04/28/2008 7:46:56 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand ("resort not to force until every just law be defied")
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To: blam

At what age do they learn to end sentences with prepositions?

“Where’s that duck, that likes to spling, at?”

Man that’s a pet peeve of mine!


3 posted on 04/28/2008 7:48:35 PM PDT by infantrywhooah
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To: 4mer Liberal

Spling Ping!


4 posted on 04/28/2008 7:55:38 PM PDT by T Minus Four
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To: infantrywhooah
At what age do they learn to end sentences with prepositions? “Where’s that duck, that likes to spling, at?” Man that’s a pet peeve of mine!

That reminds me of an old joke.

Travelers at Interstate rest stop-"Ma'am, could you tell us where the restroom's at?

Attendant- You shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition!

Travelers- Ahem. Could you tell us where the restroom's at, B****?

5 posted on 04/28/2008 7:56:49 PM PDT by SnuffaBolshevik
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To: blam
Into it if what?
6 posted on 04/28/2008 7:57:01 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (You're gonna cry 96 tears!)
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To: blam
In a study conducted by the University's Child Language Study Centre, children aged between six and nine were given sentences containing made-up verbs such as 'the duck likes to spling'

Um, I know I'm not smarter than a 6 year old here, but I'm pretty sure that in the sentence above, the verb is "likes".
7 posted on 04/28/2008 7:58:33 PM PDT by Question Liberal Authority (There's more proof that Operation Chaos is working than there is proof that Global Warming is real.)
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To: infantrywhooah

Around here it is “what bees dat duck dat splings dat #&@@T”. I am just waiting for the anouncement that ebonics is the official language here in the Denver metro area.


8 posted on 04/28/2008 7:59:41 PM PDT by MtnClimber (Obama pledges to give every typical small town white family a possum sandwich)
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To: blam

spling, splung, sploing


9 posted on 04/28/2008 8:01:23 PM PDT by T Minus Four
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To: blam

Splunge...


10 posted on 04/28/2008 8:05:35 PM PDT by Zeppo (Every mighty mild... seventies child... Beats me (Metric - Combat Baby))
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To: T Minus Four
Spling Ping!

LOL!

11 posted on 04/28/2008 8:06:38 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand ("resort not to force until every just law be defied")
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To: SnuffaBolshevik

LLOL. I like it.


12 posted on 04/28/2008 8:09:31 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: Question Liberal Authority

You are obviously no spling chicken!


13 posted on 04/28/2008 8:14:57 PM PDT by TigersEye (Berlin 1936. Olympics for murdering regimes. Beijing 2008.)
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To: the invisib1e hand

Who woulda thunk it?


14 posted on 04/28/2008 8:15:57 PM PDT by Erasmus (Nihilism never amounted to anything.)
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To: SnuffaBolshevik

That is the sort of nonsense up with which I shall not put.—Winston Churchill.


15 posted on 04/28/2008 8:24:08 PM PDT by scrabblehack
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To: T Minus Four

spling, splang, splung


16 posted on 04/28/2008 8:38:29 PM PDT by donna (The United States Constitution and the Koran are mutually exclusive.)
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To: blam
So, what happens to them after age six, when most become functionally illiterate?
17 posted on 04/28/2008 8:48:09 PM PDT by Mad_Tom_Rackham ("The land of the Free...Because of the Brave")
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To: infantrywhooah

“It’s like ‘Where’s that duck, that so likes to spling, at?’”


18 posted on 04/28/2008 10:44:24 PM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: blam

Holy cow, I had horrible teachers.


19 posted on 04/28/2008 10:52:28 PM PDT by wastedyears (The US Military is what goes Bump in the night.)
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To: blam

This is the logical extension of New Math. When I was young I studied a few languages including English. While I am far from expert, I can say that grammar in any language is not intuitive. There are rules and exceptions that must be learned. Period!


20 posted on 04/29/2008 12:47:56 AM PDT by OldEagle
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To: donna

spling, splought, has splung.


21 posted on 04/30/2008 11:28:13 PM PDT by Excuse_Me (Global Waning fanatics--As FDR almost said, the only thing we have to fear is Gore himself.)
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To: T Minus Four

Theese weedeo is sploingEd...ah bleen...


22 posted on 06/25/2008 10:03:20 PM PDT by 4mer Liberal
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To: 4mer Liberal

ping


23 posted on 06/25/2008 10:04:15 PM PDT by 4mer Liberal
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To: blam

My conclusion:

Linguistics students at the University of California, Los Angeles are smart as six year olds.


24 posted on 06/25/2008 10:07:42 PM PDT by ThomasThomas ( Tagline: (optional, printed after your name on post):)
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