Language acquisition. LING 200 Spring 2003. First language acquisition. (a.k.a. developmental psycholinguistics, L1). How is it that by age 5 children know their language? What they do along the way and why?. Methods for studying L1. Production studies
(a.k.a. developmental psycholinguistics, L1)
Or indirect forms like: ‘I would like some candy.’ ‘May I have some candy?’
Indirect forms were judged more polite.
Inventory of English consonants, age 4
...language appears to be a true species property, unique to the human species in its essentials and a common part of our shared biological endowment, with little variation among humans apart from rather serious pathology. (p. 2)
...the language faculty does appear to be a unique human possession. Other organisms have their own systems of communication, but these have properties radically different from human language...In the past years there have been numerous efforts to teach other organisms (forexample, chimpanzees and gorillas) some of the rudiments of human language, but it is now widely recognized that these efforts have failed, a fact that will hardly surprise anyone who gives some thought to the matter. The language faculty confers enormous advantages on a species that possesses it. It is hardly likely that some species has this capacity but has never thought to use it until instructed by humans. That is about as likely as the discovery that on some remote island there is a species of bird that is perfectly capable of flight but has never thought to fly until instructed by humans in this skill. Although not a logical impossibility, this would be a biological miracle, and there is no reason to suppose that it has taken place. Rather, as we should have expected all along, the evidence suggests that the most rudimentary features of human language are far beyond the capacity of otherwise intelligent apes, just as the capacity to fly or the homing instinct of pigeons lie beyond the capacity of humans.