Why In Your View Do Children Use Functional Elements Optionally When They Are First Acquired?

593 words - 3 pages

There have been many theories and approaches that have been published in regards to children’s use of functional elements which appear to be used optionally when first acquired. Functional elements are considered as words which have little lexical meaning although serve to express grammatical relationships between other words within a sentence. Children appear to have difficulty in presenting these functional elements and focus on lexically meaningful content words. Content words denote some entity, activity, property or relation and are therefore lexically meaningful. One paper edited by Judith Goodman and Howard.C.Nusbaum looks at various authors’ views on this phenomenon. One approach looks at how Children are recurrently unsuccessful in producing functional morphemes during their earliest utterances. This information was used as a primary indication for a view that children’s initial representation of language is based on referential content words, meaning that when children hear utterances they instantaneously search for familiar content words which were learnt in isolation, and therefore treat function morphemes as unfamiliar noise, disregarding them completely. Goodman and Nusbaum looked at evidence demonstrating that children do in fact regard function morphemes when listening to utterances although they are still incapable of consistently producing them when speaking. Functional morphemes belong under the category of functional elements, which includes determiners, pronouns, quantifiers, negation markers, complementizers and inflection. Functional morphemes belong under the category of inflection and include conjunctions, propositions, articles and pronouns.
A predominantly innovative account of the production of finiteness markers is the optional infinitive hypothesis. (Wexler, 1994). The OI stage, during which children are lacking particular awareness that tense is mandatory in finite clauses, this particular awareness matures at a later stage of development. Wexler...

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