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Children’s Creativity In Constructing Language Essay

961 words - 4 pages

Behaviorists view children’s mind as a blank slate, which means that children develop language only by imitating the adults’ version of the language. As a result, parents can construct their child language based on their beliefs and what they want. However, that cannot be accurate all the time. Children are creative. They create their own language rules by themselves. As the get exposed more to the language, they form their own hypotheses about the language rules. They use these rules and test them while speaking. These hypotheses are important part of children’s first language acquisition and development because they help children in understanding the concepts and how to use the language. ...view middle of the document...

They were able to provide that the plural of ‘wug’ is /wugz/. They also were able to indicate the progressive verbs easily. For example, they were able to say that the man who knows how to ‘zib’ is ‘zibbing’, even if they did not hear the word ‘zib’ before (p. 174).
Children also make language hypothesis at the domain of syntax when they create new words by conversion. There are many nouns in English that can be converted to verbs such as box, fan, and fish. On this basis children form new words such as ‘to earth’ (Peccei, 1999, p. 50). For example, a child may say ‘I earthed the car’ to indicate the location of his toy. This suggests that children form a hypothesis of the conversion rule from nouns to verbs, but they overgeneralized it. As they progress in language, they will be able to identify their mistakes and correct them automatically.
Another language domain in which children make their own language hypotheses is semantics. Peccei (1999) suggested that the early words of children have different meanings from adults’ words sometimes. For example, children use overextensions and underextensions to communicate using language (p. 11). My young sister used to refer to all animals by the word ‘rose’. Rose is our pet cat. When my sister progressed in language acquisition, she noticed that ‘rose’ does not refer to all animals, but to a specific one. Therefore, she started to refer to different animals by their correct names. Another example of overextensions is when children refer to anything round by the word ‘ball’. They start to use this word to refer to stones, radishes, and eggs (Peccei, 1999, p. 12). This indicates that children make hypotheses when they find similarities and differences between different objects. They use the same word to refer to objects that have a similar feature, until they acquire the accurate names of these objects.
Moreover, children are creative in the domain of vocabulary. Children do not imitate adults’...

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