Reading Questions 
Child Language, Fall 1999 

Chapter 1 Background concepts


  1. What is the general schedule for communicative development? Why can it be only general? Why is age only a rough guide?
  2. Why is the goodwill of adults necessary in communication with young children? How are the "mistakes" that children make important?
  3. Should gestures be considered non-linguistic or linguistic?
  4. What are the different ideas about communicative competence? How do you define this term?
  5. What is a "modular approach"?

  Chapter 6 Studying Child Language


  1. Why is there confusion in the study of child language?
  2. What are the limitations to recording children talking?
  3. What are the three main approaches to getting around limited data?
  4. What advice in the chapter about recording will be useful to you in your observations of a child?
  5. What problems are there with ethnographic observation?
  6. How can you do experiments with small children?
  7. What problems are there with the experimental approach?
  8. What is the innateness argument?
  9. How does your role in this course compare to "researchers' needs to select the appropriate method for studying the particular question at hand"?
  10. What are competence and performance? Why has this distinction been called into question?
  11. What simplifications have researchers made? What should we remember about them?