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Directed towards general introductory linguistics courses, as well as courses in language acquisition, this textbook introduces the fundamentals of syntax and semantics in generative grammar and applies them to the study of child language. Assuming no prior knowledge of linguistics, it represents the theory of Universal Grammar and shows how the theory has proved helpful in understanding the process of language acquisition. Edited by two of the foremost researchers in the field, the book benefits from their insight into conceptual issues, their understanding of experimentation, and their own pioneering research.
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Table of Contents

Preface. Acknowledgments. Part I: Linguistic Knowledge:. Introduction. 1. Introduction to Language Acquisition. 2. Knowledge in the Absence of Experience. 3. Stages of Language Acquisition. 4. Why Language Does Not Have to Be Taught. 5. Dispelling a Common-Sense Account. 6. Universal Grammar. 7. The Modularity Hypothesis. Part II: Constituent Structure: . Introduction. 8. Phrase Structure. 9. Phrase Structure Rules and X-Theory. 10. Setting the X Parameters. 11. Phrasal Categories. 12. Ambiguity and Productivity. 13. Children's Knowledge of Phrase Structures. 14. Constraints on Reference. 15. Children's Knowledge of Constraints: Backwards Anaphora. Part III: Transformational Syntax:. Introduction. 16. A Transformation Generating Yes/No Questions. 17. Children's Adherence to Structure Dependence. 18. WH-Movement. 19. Crosslinguistic Aspects of WH-Questions. 20. The Acquisition of WH-Questions. 21. Successive Cyclic Movement. 22. Successful Cyclic Movement. 23. A Constraint on Contraction. 24. Acquisition of Wanna Contraction. 25. Principle C in WH-Questions. 26. Acquisition of Strong Crossover. Part IV: Universal Grammar in Visual Modality:. Introduction. 27. The Structure of American Sign Language. 28. The Acquisition of ASL. 29. The Structure and Acquisition of WH-Questions in ASL. 30. Parameter Setting. 31. Modularity and Modality. Part V: Semantics and Philosophy of Language:. Introduction. 32. Theories of Meaning. 33. Truth Conditional Semantics. 34. Compositionality I. 35. Compositionality II. 36. Intentional Semantics. 37. Learnability of Syntax and Semantics. 38. Acquisition of NPs with Modifiers. 39. Relative Clauses. 40. Universal Quantification. References. Index.

About the Author

Stephen Crain is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Maryland at College Park. He has written over sixty articles and is currently Associate Editor of two major journals in the field: Language Acquisition and Linguistics and Philosophy. Diane Lillo-Martin is Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. She is the author of Language and Cognition: The View from Sign Language and Deafness (with Marschauk, Siple, Campbell, and Everhart, 1997) and Universal Grammar and American Sign Language: Setting the Null Argument Parameters, (1991).


"It is perfect not just for courses in language acquisition, but more generally as an introduction to language for anyone interested in a psychological perspective. It presents generative grammar as a psychological model in a way that is both deep and easy for the student to understand." Juan Uriagereka, University of Maryland at College Park

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