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Testing Assumptions about the Input: Empirical Evidence on Negative Evidence. Matthew Saxton. January 29 th 2008. Errors in language acquisition. defining feature of a language learner all (typical) children retreat from error but how?. Negative evidence.

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Matthew saxton

Testing Assumptions about the Input:Empirical Evidence on Negative Evidence

Matthew Saxton

January 29th 2008


Errors in language acquisition
Errors in language acquisition

  • defining feature of a language learner

  • all (typical) children retreat from error

  • but how?


Negative evidence
Negative evidence

  • evidence that a given structure is ungrammatical

  • parental correction of child errors


No negative evidence problem
‘No negative evidence’ problem

  • longstanding assumption:

  • parents do not correct their children’s errors

  • ‘no negative evidence’


“A basic premise of almost all work on language acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

Weissenborn, Goodluck & Roeper (1992, p.9)


Does it matter
Does it matter? acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • ‘no negative evidence’ assumption

  • “ ..... one of the most important discoveries in the history of psychology”(Pinker, 1988, p.104)


Empirical support for aps
Empirical support for APS acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • parental Approval and Disapproval:

    Eve: Mama isn’t boy, he a girl.

    Mother: Yes, that’s right.

    (Brown & Hanlon, 1970)


There is not acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”“even a shred of evidence that approval and disapproval are contingent on syntactic correctness.”

Brown & Hanlon (1970, p.201)


Forms of correction acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • signal of Disapproval

  • informant

  • meaningful look or pause

  • explicit grammar lesson

  • differential responding

  • clarification requests

  • direct contrast between child and adult forms


Beyond disapproval
Beyond disapproval acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

“repeats of ill-formed utterances usually contained corrections and so could be instructive.”

Brown & Hanlon (1970, p.197)


Direct contrast hypothesis
Direct Contrast hypothesis acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • Child: He was the baddest one.

  • Adult: Yeah, he sounds like the worst.

  • juxtaposition of erroneous and correct forms:

  • unique discourse context

  • child may perceive adult form as being in contrast with their own


Immune to correction
Immune to correction? acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

“Anyone who has attempted to correct a two-year-old’s grammar will know that it can’t be done”

Jackendoff (1993, p.22)


McNeill (1966, p.69) acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

Child: Nobody don’t like me.

Mother: No, say “nobody likes me”.

Child: Nobody don’t like me.

[ repeated 8 times ]

Mother: No, now listen carefully.

Say “NOBODY LIKES ME”.

Child: Oh, nobody don’t likes me.


Diary study
Diary study acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • Matthew with Alex (aged 4 years)

  • aim: deliberately correct child’s errors and gauge effect


A: acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.” That .... that ... that says you can’t go there.

M: Hmm.

A: That says you can’t go there.

M: Why can’t you go there?

A: Cos that’s the part who you / l / .... who you see ....

M: It’s the ....

A: .... over.

M: It’s the part where you what?

A: Where you look over.


A: acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.” I’m easy to eat you up.

M: You can eat me up easily?

A: Yeah.

M: What?

A: I can eat you up.... [ bang ]

M: I bet you can’t.

A: I bet you I .... I, I, I can.

I bet you can’t eat me up easily.


M: acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.” What you doing?

A: I’m rolling about.

M: You’re spinning round, are you?

A: I’m rolling ....

I’m spinning around ....

.... on your chair.

M: Hmm.


M: acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.” You have to shut the doors / w / in winter.

A: Yeah, but I don’t want to.

It’s too bored if I shut the door every day.

M: It’s not boring.

A: It is.

M: What do you mean?

A: What?

M: Why do you say that?

A: Because it’s .... because it’s .... too....

It’s too boring.


A: acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.” I drawed a lovely picture for you,didn’t I?

M: You drew a picture?

Where?

A: I drew lots of lovely pictures.


A: acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.” I don’t like Marmite.

M: Mm, yummy. ‘Course you like Marmite. You always have Marmite.

A: But I don’t ... but I ^ gone off it now.

M: You have not gone off it.

A: I have. I have gone off it. I have.

M: Well, you’re a terror.


Effects of direct contrasts
Effects of direct contrasts acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • % switch from error to correct:

  • Farrar (1992): 12 - 45

  • Morgan et al. (1995): 23 – 58

  • Saxton (2000): 8

  • Strapp & Federico (2000): 11


An experimental approach
An experimental approach acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • compare effects of positive versus negative input

  • control over input information via novel verbs

  • irregular past tense forms


Positive input
Positive input acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • any linguistic form modelled by an adult


Novel verbs
Novel verbs acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • longstanding paradigm (Berko, 1958)

  • aim: isolate the effects of input


Supplying negative evidence
Supplying negative evidence acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

Adult: What happened?

Child: He pelled his leg.

Adult: Oh yes, he pold his leg.


Supplying positive input
Supplying positive input acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

Adult: Look, he pold his leg.


Negative positive
Negative > positive acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • % production of correct form:

  • negative: 43

  • positive: 0

  • 81% of children produced at least one correct form following negative evidence


Empirical support i
Empirical support I acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • experimental and observational(Farrar, 1992; Saxton, 1997)

  • mother, father, siblings (Strapp, 1999)

  • working class (Post, 1992)

  • immediate and longer-term effects(Saxton, 2000; Saxton et al., 2005)


Empirical support ii
Empirical support II acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • beyond L1 English: French; Japanese; Korean (Chouinard & Clark, 2002; Izumi, 2002; O’Grady & Lee, 2006)

  • L2 acquisition (Mackey et al., 2003)


Theoretical status
Theoretical status acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • universality

  • inevitability

  • necessity


Mother eased out
Mother eased out acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

“in many communities of the world, parents do not indulge their children in Motherese”

Pinker (1994, p.40)

“motherese is not a universal part of L1 acquisition”

Ayoun (2003, p.51)


Trackton acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

“Now just how crazy is dat? White folks uh hear dey kids say sump’n, dey say it back to ‘em, dey aks ‘em ‘gain ‘n’ ‘gain ‘bout things, like they ‘posed to be born knowin’. You think I kin tell Teegie all he gotta know? Ain’t no use me tellin’ him: learn dis, learn dat. What’s dis? What’s dat? He just gotta learn, gotta know”

(Heath, 1983, p.84).


Haggan 2002
Haggan (2002) acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • the way people say they talk to children

    versus

  • the way people actually talk to children


Myth of non universality
Myth of non-universality acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • selective focus on anthropological data

    absent features of CDS ≠ absence of CDS in toto

  • critical features that are present have been ignored


Universality acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

“understanding of language is made easier by the habit that mothers and nurses have of repeating the same phrases with slight alterations”Jespersen (1922, p.142)

“random affection for repetitiousness makes an excellent atmosphere in which the child acquires speech”Mead (1930, p.35)


Universal negative evidence
Universal negative evidence acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • Arabic, Danish, French, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Manus, K’iche Mayan, Samoan

  • and English:

  • every single child and every single structure examined so far (> 20 studies)


Inevitability
Inevitability acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • recasts (including negative evidence):

  • an artefact of conversation between a linguistic sophisticate and a cognitively naive learner

  • adults naturally follow the child’s lead


Necessity
Necessity acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • facilitative, yes

  • necessary?

  • onus on nativists to find even one deprived child


Aps revisited
APS revisited acquisition in a generative framework is that learning must progress without the aid of overt correction ― that is, the learner will not receive "negative evidence," in the form of adult feedback telling the child that his or her utterances do not conform with those of the adult grammar.”

  • no empirical support for ‘no negative evidence’ assumption

  • of little value in specifying principles of Universal Grammar


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