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Nature of the Input

Nature of the Input. Dana Hughes. What is the Nature of Input in Regards to Language Acquisition?. Introduction. A long-standing debate of how children come to acquire their language Nature vs. Nurture

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Nature of the Input

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  1. Nature of the Input Dana Hughes

  2. What is the Nature of Input in Regards to Language Acquisition?

  3. Introduction • A long-standing debate of how children come to acquire their language • Nature vs. Nurture • Need for input is beyond dispute, it is agreed upon that children process input from their caregiver’s and use it in their speech output • The nature of this necessary input is disputed • Goal of my paper was to explore literature on this topic in hopes of determining the innateness of the human language

  4. What does the “nature of input” mean? • The subtle and obvious differences in caregiver’s speech to children • Types of input: • Positive evidence-grammatically correct utterances (utterances that are “allowed” in the native language). • Negative evidence-ungrammatical utterance which are not allowed to occur in a particular language.

  5. My Research Questions • 1. Is input necessary for language development? • 2. Which type of input (positive or negative) is most beneficial in language acquisition? • 3. Is the quality of the input more effective than the quantity of the input?

  6. Overarching Research Question • **Based on the nature of the linguistic input to children, does language acquisition seem to be established by nature or nurture?

  7. My Hypotheses: • Language Acquisition is due to the interaction between nature and nurture: DEBATED • Quantity was more important than quality: WRONG • Positive evidence/feedback is the most effective input: CORRECT

  8. Researchers: • Marcus (1993) • Brown and Hanlon (1970) • Anderssen, Bentzen, & Westergaard (2010) • Snow & Ferguson (1977) • Gathercole & Hoff (2007) • Gallaway & Richards (1994)

  9. Research Conducted by Others • Gallaway & Richards (1994)- Effects and Non-effects of Child-directed speech (CDS) • Brown & Hanlon- order of emergence is due to the derivational complexity of an utterance • Gathercole & Hoff (2007)- Examine nature of input to determine what children actually extract from it • Snow & Ferguson (1977)- Study the relevance of mother’s speech to their child’s language acquisition

  10. Others Continued • Anderssen, Bentzen, Westergaard (2010)- Review input properties: word frequency, overall amount of input, saliency of the sentence position, and word order variability Goal- to determine which, if any, of these properties affect language acquisition • Marcus (1993)- Concludes that positive evidence is the only evidence available to children • A.) Too weak • B.) Not provided to all children at all errors, yet ever child will one day overcome these errors • C.) Not consistent

  11. How Research Helped to Answer My Questions: • Anderssen et al. (2010)- Proved my hypotheses that positive input is most important • Gathercole & Hoff (2007)- Quality vs. Quantity • Snow & Ferguson (1977)- Study performed by Brown & Bellugi (1964) to test Hess & Shipman’s findings supported all three of my research questions • Gallaway & Richards (1994) and Marcus (1993)- Type of input most effective for language acquisition

  12. Conclusion • Concrete answers to my research questions may never be discovered • As discussed, only one of my original hypotheses proved correct through research analysis • Many studies conducted on CDS, which is positive input

  13. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQbYc7qLgBc

  14. References • Anderssen, Merete, Bentzen, Kristine, Westergaard, Marit. Variation in the Input: Studies in the Acquisition of Word Order. Springer Science. 2010. • Gallaway, Claire, Richards, Brian J. Input and interaction in language acquisition. Cambridge University Press. 1994. • Hoff, Erika, Shatz Marilyn. Blackwell Handbook of Language Development. Blackwell Publishing. 2007. • Marcus, Gary F. (1993). Negative Evidence in Language Acquisition. Cognition, 46, pgs. 53-85.  • Snow, Catherine E. & Ferguson, Charles A. Talking to Children: Language input and acquisition. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge. 1977.

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