Reading Questions 

Child Language, Fall 1999


Chapter 3

Prelinguistic communicative competence and the early lexicon

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  1. What is "the naming insight"?
  2. When are children out of the prelinguistic stage and into the linguistic stage?
  3. How are comprehension, production, and competence involved in any answer to #12?
  4. What is the contrast between having innate sensitivity to some of the differences between speech sounds, and knowing which sound differences result in meaning differences in words?
  5. What are canonical forms and how do they tend to be similar?
  6. What processes of child word production are discussed? (You may want to see how well these match waht you observe. See also the "Developing word forms for one child" hanout.) How do these processes indicate that children have a system at work?
  7. Why should we be very careful about assuming that a child "can't pronounce" a certain speech sound?
  8. What is a prosodic frame (and other terms meaning the same thing)?
  9. When do stress patterns appear to be mastered? What does this indicate about when children can be said to have "mastered" their first language?
  10. Why is there so much variability in the development of word preception?
  11. What are acoustic cues?
  12. What types of words are common in early vocabularies? What three types of control may children have over words in their early vocabulary?
  13. What is known about rates of development for comprehended and productive vocabulary?
  14. What are the differences between referential and expressive style children?
  15. What are overextension and underextension?
  16. What is the main problem with the various taxonomies for describing early functions?
  17. What is the role of gestures in early speech acts?
  18. How might children select what to encode in words and what not to encode?
  19. What steps are involved in initiating a topic for conversation?
  20. What is the order of emerging topic-types?
  21. Why are early topics short? How are they sometimes lengthened?
  22. How does the emergence of real words change topic-types?
  23. In the prelinguistic and one-word stages, how is pragmatic development ahead of lexical, phonological, morphological, and syntactic development? How is conversational exchange structure important for learning these other parts of grammar?

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