Resources for Communication Problems

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Lenneberg (1967) 290-310 G4

Lenneberg (1967) 290-310 G4

負責人:9580027曾子倫 負責頁數:p290的最後一段~p294


p290 Primitive stage in language development

Grammatical understanding cannot always be explained simply by looking at the immediately underlying phrase-makers, but two semantic interpretations are possible in the presence of one and the same phrase-makers. In most cases, there are much more intricate relationships. Chomsky has demonstrated this by the ambiguous phrase.

the shooting of the hunters,

where the ambiguity cannot be explained through an option of analysis in terms of either of two possible. But different phrase-makers, but two semantic interpretations are possible in the presence of one and the same phrase-maker. There is, then, something even more abstract which differentiates the meanings of this phrase. One interpretation is related to the sentence

Hunters shoot,

whereas the other has a grammatical affinity to

Hunters are shot.

Each of these latter sentences has a distinct phrase-maker. Each of these sentences (that is, one that has either of these grammatical structures) may be cast into a different grammatical form, namely a gerundial phrase. More succinctly stated: the first phrase“the shooting of the hunters,” may be interpreted in either of two ways is that speakers of the language see grammatical relatedness to two semantically very different sentences. The fact that all speakers immediately see these relationships clearly indicates that this must be based on some underlying grammatical principle by which one grammatical structure, that is, one type of phrase-marker, may be related to another .We have illustrated a universal principle of grammatical knowledge or understanding: there must be lawful ways in which certain types of structure may be related to other types of structure. The grammatical laws that control these relations have come to be called transformations.Transformations are statements of grammatical as well as semantic and phonological connections.

In Fig. 7.6 are diagrammed varying levels of ambiguity. In Fig. 7.6a the ambiguity may be resolved by direct reference to immediate phrase-markers that may underly the sentence, whereas in Fig. 7.6b there is only one phrase-marker-interpretation possible, and therefore there is a still deeper level on which the ambiguity must be resolved.

Another prominent feature in the understanding of sentences is the ubiquitous possibility of seeing relationships and various types of affinities between sentences that have very different types of structure and are also phonetically and lexically different from one another. This is diagrammed in Fig. 7.6c, and an example is the passive transformation. Apparently, grammatical structures constitute intricate networks of transformational interrelations and complex systems of overlapping syntactic categories containing similarly functioning elements or sets of elements.

(FIG. 7.6. Structural interpretations have varying levels of depth. Semantic interpretation is another level. (The diagram is not meant to convey any depth-ordering between semantic and structural interpretations.)

p292 Primitive stage in language development

(4) Structural Characteristics of Children’s Primitive Sentences

In the absence of systematic research on children’s understanding of adult sentences, and hence of their developing “analytic equipment” for syntax, we can only make educated guesses at how grammar actually develops. The study of adult syntax makes it clear that discourse could not be understood, and that no interpretable utterances could be produced, without syntactic development pari passu with lexical and phonological development. Syntax is the calculus, so to speak, of functional categories, and the categories are arranged hierarchically from the all-inclusive to the particular.

The child whose language consists of nothing but single word utterances has obviously a more primitive syntactic understructure than the mature speaker. Syntactic categorization is the speaker’s act of super-imposing structure; he assigns given lexical items to parts of speech. The child’s syntax is primitive because all of his words have the same syntactic function: they may be used as a self-sufficient utterance. There is just one undifferentiated syntactic category, and any word heard or produced is assigned to it. If we wish to introduce Chomskian notation already at this primitive stage. We might use the equation or rewriting instruction as he calls it,


which reads in this grammar a sentence S is formed by the use of any word that belongs to the class, and all of the child’s words do belong to it.

III. Evolvement of language in the healthy child-----------p293

Notice that it would make no sense to ask whether the child, at this stage, knows more adjectives than nouns or whether he has any verbs. Strictly speaking, adjectives, nouns, verbs are modes of functioning, given a complex syntax. But since the syntactic conditions for such functioning are not yet present, we cannot ask whether the infant has verbs. We do not ask whether a fertilized human egg thinks or what the social order among chicks is before they have hatched.

The joining of two words in a single utterance is a sign that the initial global category, labeled, is splitting up into two functionally distinct categories. The following example , collected from Braine (1963), Brown and Fraser (1963), Brown and Bellugi (1964), and Ervin (1964), show that the two words are not random concatenations but that a functional distinction is emerging.

“find it” “here sock” “more milk”

“fix it” “here allgone” “more nut”

“drink it” “here is” “more up”

etc. etc. etc.

A paradigm is clearly being formed.

One of the two words has a higher frequency of occurrence and seems to be a grammatical functor, whereas the other word appears to come from a large pool of lexical items with a great variety of meanings. Braine (1963) has called the functor words the pivot of these two-word sentences. The entire utterance seems to “turn around them.”

It is not always easy to recognize the pivot of the two-word utterances, and we cannot always be sure how to characterize the sentences formally. For instance, “mommy sandwich,” “baby highchair,’ ‘throw daddy,” “pick glove” are all quite typical productions. At present, there are no reliable procedures to demonstrate that the two elements of these sentences belong to two different syntactic categories, although such an assumption is not unreasonable. We may have the primitive subject-predicate distinction.

The structure of these second-stage sentences might be characterized formally by diagrams such as these:

P294 Primitive stage in language development

By the time he uses three-word sentences, further differentiations of categories have taken place. We now find utterances such as these:

“fix a Lassie” “my horsie stuck”

“here two sock” “poor Kitty there”

“more nice milk” “that little one”

At this stage, many types of utterances are heard, and it becomes increasingly difficult to describe the child’s syntactic skills by an exhaustive catalogue of phrase-markers. Instead we endeavor to discover the principles by which these structures are recognized and produced.

The last examples cited illustrate, however, the progressive differentiation of syntactic categories. The structure of these sentences may be characterized by postulating a splitting of the earlier category into two, namely a modifier m and a noun N. A tree diagram might look like the following:





兒童的語言一開始只能由單一句所構成,依照Chomskian notation的方法,他把兒童早期的語言結構用S→w這個方程式代替,就是句子只由單一句所構成。這個時期認識的形容詞比起名詞來的多,甚至還沒認識所謂的動詞。慢慢的兒童由單一句變成了雙詞句,詞形變化也慢慢發展,而且學到了動詞。但是還是很難辨認他們所要表達的是什麼,像“mommy sandwich,” “baby highchair,’ ‘throw daddy,” “pick glove”,無法明確了解他們所想表達的意思。雙詞句的結構可用以下圖示來說明:

雙詞句過後,接著就是三詞句,例如 “fix a Lassie”“my horsie stuck”“here two sock”“poor Kitty there”“more nice milk”“that little one”,在這個階段,很多語詞的型態就會被我們所聽到了,兒童也慢慢增加了困難的語法來描述他們所想表達的東西了。用以下的圖示更能清楚看到三詞句的結構:

(5)General Comments on the Genesis of Phrase-structure, Nested Dependences, and Recursiveness

負責人:9580011楊松儒  負責頁數:p294~p296

(6)General comments on the Genesis of Transformations







p296 Primitive stage in language development

Transformations have come to play a major role in the interpretation of grammar. It may be well to outline the basic ideas and to show that we are dealing also here with a very general phenomenon. Since a technical account is available in Appendix, we may approach the problem in this chapter from a very different angle.

Let us disregard words and sentences for a moment and concentrate on visual phenomena again. In Fig.7.7 we have two patterns that are physically very different from each other, but by the application of certain rules (in this case rules of perception and transformational rules of geometry coincide), we immediately see a marked similarity between them. Conversely, Fig.7.8 constitutes a single graphic pattern, but as we stare at it, we begin to see it representing one pattern and then another. The ambiguity of the figure is due to an alternative application of either of two available rules(again perceptual and geometric) that we have stored within ourselves: one rule imposes one interpretation; the other imposes another interpretation.

Primitive stages in language development ---------------------------------p298

Let us now look more generally at the phenomenon of similarity. All animals have the ability to group together stimulus configurations which may be physically totally different from each other; however, the animal makes an identical response to certain ones and thus treats them as if they were similar in some respect; we cannot escape the conclusion that for the animal, some similarity exists among such stimuli. Man is no different from other animal. From a wealth of ethological studies we know that species differ considerably in the specific perceptions of similarities and correspondences. For instance, a child needs no special training to see the similarity between a black-and –white photograph of a birthday cake and the physical object. Cats and dogs do not have the capacity to see that similarity or to relate this one type of stimulus configuration to this other one. It is a matter of empirical investigation to trace out the extent and the rules that allow a specific animal to relate any two stimulus configurations to each other.

So far, we do not know exactly how similarities are recognized between patterns which do not have any topological invariant qualities. For instance, why can any child recognize the similarities between the two patterns shown in Fig.7.9? In Chapter Eight it is shown that semantic labeling has nothing to do with this. All we can say is that each of the patterns in Fig.7.9 is a member of a large and abstract category and that any member of this category has a common denominator. Since it is not necessary that there be any one common physical attribute, we may conclude that the common denominator is an abstract schema. This type of reasoning is familiar from philosophy since ancient time.We can see similarities whenever we can transform two or more physically given patterns into the same, common abstract schema. In this terminology, similarities are due to transformations from the physically given (surface) to abstract (deep) schemata. Thus all similarities involve transformational processes. The similarities o Fig.7.7 are special cases because we need not assume the transformational bridge through the abstract schema; instead we might argue that the similarity is due to the geometric correspondences. However, in most instances of similarities it is necessary to assume the transformational route via the abstract (because of the absence of tangible invariance), and therefore it is more economical to assume that the similarity of Fig7.7 is merely a special case of the general phenomenon of seeing similarities.

The necessity for assuming transformations from the physically given to abstract representations or schemata is the best seen in discussions of perceived similarities. The need for such an assumption is a universal one, relevant to all fields of pattern recognition, and it is not confined to the theories on human perception.

It is not surprising, therefore, that when we discuss the perception of sentences, it is also necessary that we have to assume the existence of specialized transformational capacities, for instance, to account for the perceived similarities among sentences;

The dog chases the fox. {1.The fox is chased by the dog.

2.Why does the dog chase the fox?

3.The chasing of the dog.

4.etc }

It is interesting to note that the similarity among these sentences is in some sense a special case much the way the similarity between the cubes of Fig.7.7 were. The transformations involved in these cases have fairly easily discernible rules; they may be called concrete rules of correspondence (between one phrase-marked structure and another).

The necessity for assuming transformational procedures that mediate between the concretely given and the deep or abstract schemata goes much beyond the type of perceived similarities demonstrated in these sentences, and most of his utterances are interpretable in terms of syntactic structures. That is, he can recognize the structure of a given sentence which by itself is totally novel to him. If you say to him, “ Did you know that the piffles fly to the curda every night?” he is liable to ask back, “Who is flying to the curda every night?” or “ What are piffles and why do they fly?” or some such question, indicating his comprehension of the syntactic structure of you statement, even though the significance or meaning of the sentence is not clear to him. Thus, there is evidence that a child can recognize structural similarities in a string of words that compose a sentence even if he has never seen or heard the sentence before. Applying now the same argument used previously , we begin to see that structural similar between two strings of words implies the transformation of the physically given sound –patterns into an abstract schema (such as a phrase-marker) or, in other words, grammatical structure is the name of that class of abstract schemata by means of which we recognize structure similarity between physically different sentence. The question of whether the string, Colorless green ideas sleep furiously, is or is not a sentence is decided upon by searching for a structural similarity between this string and classes of other strings which belong to the set of grammatical sentence. Thus we discover that Chomsky’s sentence is similar to any one of the infinite set of sentences patterned after the structural schema

subject predicate

or more specifically

subject (consisting of a noun modified by an adjective that is modified by an adverb) predicate (consisting of an intransitive verb modified by an adverb).

This is the abstract schema to which sentences such as

Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

Very interesting movies run longer.

Friendly little dogs bark loudly.


are transformed in the course of perceiving and understanding them. We do not have to assume, however, that the child knows the grammar consciously. A tennis player or bicycle rider responds to and being able to formulate them or to work out consciously any of the computations that his nervous system is doing for him.

Reference to Chomsky’s Appendix and the technical literature cited there will introduce the reader to the fine intricacies of the many types of transformation processes that must be assumed to underlie our power of structuration of verbal material. Not only are there various types of transformations and various levels of abstraction (depths, according to Chomsky’s terminolgy ) but an intricate net of perceived similarities between types of structures may be accounted for in terms of transformations, ambiguities may be resolved and explained, and subtle perceived differences between strings having similar surface structure are explicated by reference to transformational procedures.

We may once more ask, when and how these transformational operations come about? This is as difficult to answer as the question of when and how the perception of visual similarities comes about. This is the general type of phenomenon we are dealing with. It is true that both are empirical questions, but because they are inquiries into the modes of processing input data (which in the case of language happen to be identical with the mode of processing neural events underlying a specific output: discourse), they require verification techniques that are not well-developed as yet. This is an obstacle that will be overcome sooner or later.

As soon as we have appropriate techniques we will be able to answer these questions more specifically. However, we can never expect to find that the basis for perceiving similarities, or processing data transformationally, is a skill that is suddenly acquired. The perception of similarities must be a deeply ingrained process; it is the very nature of perceptual and even more generally, behavioral, organization. In Lashley’s example for instance, he states that most of us lear n to write with our right hand. Nevertheless, it possible to take a pencil into the left hand (or between the teeth), close our eyes , and write our name upside-down. It possible to produce something quite legible at first try. Lashley argued that in this case, where entirely different sets of muscles ina different part of the body are being activated and the direction of movements is opposite to the one weuse to ,we must assume the existence of a central (abstract) schema for a motor patter n by means of which we are capable of transferring the skill from right to left (or to the muscled that guide the head movements). Thus the peripheral motor patterns are transformed imto a schema, and the schema again is applied to different peripheral structures; the two motor patterns are related transformationally .

The ontogenetic history of transformational development is also one of gradual differentiation and elaboration. The essence of transformations must go back to neonate days and may well be discernible at even more immature stages. Gradually, various types of transformations emerge those that organize visual input, those that organize motor output, and, eventually, those that organize verbal input and output. The perception of specific types of similarities may presuppose a given degree of organization and so emerge only at a later stage and as a clearcut milestone of development. Certain types of grammatical transformations may be beyond the language-learner’s capacity; he does not understand the sentence; he cannot organize the material, nor can he produse any utterance containing specift transformational relation ships between the component parts. But apart from this gradual differentiation of various transformational relationships, it can hardly be expected that transformation as a general type of process for organization is “suddenly lear ned”.

If phrase-structure and transformations are simply special applications of general modes of organization modes that are common to the organization of the behavior of all higher animals, why is language special-specific? There is only one possible answer. In order to achieve such special adaption, cognitive processes must be highly adapted biologically. The slightest alterations in the peculiarities of data-acceptance, data-storage, and temporal integration apparently interferes with the proper reception and production of the peculiar patterns called sentences.





因此,我們發現Chomsky的句子是有著相同,對任何一個句子來說,遵循基本模的結構模式存在。詞補語(subject predicate)、或是較為具體的(or more specifically)、主詞subject (consisting of a noun modified by an adjective that is modified by an adverb) 、補語 predicate (consisting of an intransitive verb modified by an adverb.)


This is the abstract schema to which sentences such asColorless green ideas sleep furiously. Very interesting movies run longer.Friendly little dogs bark loudly.


Chomsky’s Appendix和文章中介紹給了許多類型的句子轉換過程,不但有多變化的句子轉換和不同階層變化的提取 (depths, according to Chomsky’s terminolgy ),且查覺到在很多類型的結構上,在轉變的相似地方,模糊的地方也許可以解釋和解決,從句子的延伸有著表面相似結構察覺到不一樣的地方,藉由文獻圖形數據來瞭解。

在音素(音韻)處理上,確是(臨床)經驗上的問題,但因為數據的標示及過程 (which in the case of language happen to be identical with the mode of processing neural events underlying a specific output: discourse) 他們需要可證實的技術(尚未完整發展),這是一個障礙,遲早都要被克服。只要我們有適合的技術,我們會很專業地回答急需解決的問題。

在一整體歷史演化的發展過程,最重要的發展精華應該回到一個月大的嬰兒,也許是可識別的在更多發育未完整的階段。這些變化漸漸浮現出在組織上的和運動上的輸出與輸入,(organize visual input, those that organize motor output, and, eventually, those that organize verbal input and output.

負責人:9580048許舒琇  負責頁數:p302~p304


P302 Primitive stage in language development

(7)The Development of Some Specific Syntactic Mechanisms

(a)Questions and Negations. In English, the construction of these forms is around the auxiliary verb.a peculiarity of our language that introduces a certain amount of complexity,comparable in degree to the intricate systerm of inflections encountered in the so-called poly-synthetic languages.For a technical treatment of thesr constructions in Englush see Katz and Postal(1964),Klima(1964),Chomsky(1965).

Although the growing child hears correct sentences of this type in abundance, he will, at first, produce utterances such as the following:

No Mommy eat

No a boy bad

I ride train?

What cowboy doing?

Where my milk go? (Bellugi.1966)

Even when he is asked to reprat a correctly formed sentence such as”Dog don’t like it!” or “Are you coming?” or “Where did he go ?”the child will reat “Dog no like it (no dog like it),””You coming?”or “Where he go?”This connot be attributed to a general inability to produce utterances of no more than four words.Even longer uttera-

ces occeur spontaneously and the uncommon,primitive forms also occur when the model sentence has only three woeds: “Are you coming?”Bellugi(1966) has carried out the most sophisticated and careful analysis of the development of questions.Her

findings may be summarizes as follows: at first a string of woeds may turn into a question by casting it into a specific intonation pattern (a gradual rise in pitch),and negatives are simply expressed by prefixing a no to the string.Bellugi found that at this time the child gives no evidence of understanding the construction of certain types of questions.At a second stage, it becomes apparent that such complex constructions are understood (the child begims to give proper answers to respective questions), but in the child’s own productions the only interrogative makers are still either a rise in intonation(for questions that demand a yes/no amswer) or the initial occurrence of a question word(what,where,how,etc.).The third stage,occurring some ten months after the child has begun to form two-word utterances,is characterized by a further change: auxiliary verbs become functional and at the same time-formed questions and negative sentences make their appearance. In one of Bellugi’s subjects,

the third stage was foreshadowed by the introduction of a stereotyped’preverb’“Do-you-want,”which was simply placed before the common type of utterance. forming such strings as”Do you want me get it?” “Do (you) want he walk like this?”

The most impressive aspect of these investigations was that all three children followed by Bellugi and Roger Brown’s groupacquired the auxiliary system relatively

Late in their language development.When it was finally acquired, it was soon applied to most sentences in which it was appropriate, quickly superseding the more primitive constructions.Furthermore,Bellugi noted that at the beginning of the third stage there seemed to be a limited number of transformational operations that the child could perform on a single given string. Thus, if a negative plus a question was to be compounded in a single utterance, only one or the other aspect was well-formed. Thus, one of the children asked properly,”Can’t it be a bigger truck?”but failed to make the proper inversion in the queation,”Why the kitty can’t stand up?”

(b)Inflectional endings.In school grammar the study of inflection is called morphology and is treated separately from syntax, which is thought to be primarily the study of word order.However,moder theory of grammar has made it clear that there is no essential difference among the so-called morphological and syntactic phenomena. Goodobservations have been made on the various steps toward normalization of inflectional endings which deserve a quick review.

The first occurrence of past tense is not signaled by a verb plus the suffix-ed (or its phonetic correlates) but various past-tense forms of the so-called strong verbs(or irregular verbs),particularly went,was,and were.but also an occasional took,gave,etc.At a later stage the past tense morpheme/ed/appears but now is generalized also to those

Forms where it does not occur in the adult grammer;this may now result in forms such as goed,as well as wented,gived,etc.Such errors persist for a very long time and may often extend into the first grades of school.Deviations of this kind are most informative.Apparently pastness is first learned as a semantic phenomenon,and it it most saliently labeled in the case of the linguistically ancient suppletive forms in which the word for the past is phonetically totally different from the present.Once the semantic past is linked to the –ed forms, a rule is generated and then applied universally. This process of overgeneralization was studied experimentally by Berko (1958) who induced childrenof four years and older to change spontaneously nonsen-

se words into plural,past tence,third person singular,and possessive gorms.By this age the basic inflectional mechanisms appear to be very well-established,although some age-grading exists in the use of correct phonetic variants (allomorphs).

R. Brown and Bellugi(personal communication),Leopold(1953-1954),and several others have noted that it takes a relatively long timeuntil the plural s is established

, although this is usually accomplished by the third bitherday. This is difficult to explain.Grammatical agreement within a sentence is accounted for by supposing that the elements in subject of sentence fall into two distinct subclasses-singular and plural

.Chomsky has shown that grammatical agreement is possible if we suppose that there is an obligatory ordering of rules for the expansion of elements.In fact,all rules of generative grammar have an order of application.The child’s difficulty with pluralization can’t be due simplt to lack of attention or insufficient phonetic in the adult language,because pluralization do occur a long period of time,but they are not in agreement with other parts of the sentence


. 7.造句技巧的發展特殊性

助動詞在英文的結構中有很大的複雜性,很多的形式或結構都依靠它建立,就像是在多數合成的語言中使用轉音變調的系統。Kate and Postal(1964), Klima(7964),Chomsky(1965)在英文尚有獨特的見解:雖然兒童發展上可聽見大量不同形式的聲音,起初他會跟著複述:No money eat,No a boy bad……等等,當它需要回覆正確一個改正過後的句子像”Dog do not like it ”











P304 Primitive stage in language development

The study of the biological basis of behavior in man is severely handicapped by the impossibility of doing crucial experiments that systematically interfere with physiology.Growth of structure,and development.We must,therefore,take resource to pathological deviationstheseof courseare never controlled situations and therefore introduce inaccuracies,but since we have nothing more exact to study ins place,the experimental shortcomings must be taken into account and accepted as inevitable.Simply to ignore or overlook these phenomena is inexcusable as it may result in theories that are flatly contradicted by pertinent facts in pathology.

It is often said that it is difficult enough to understand the development of behavior in the healthy individual and that we should,therefore,not complicate our task by trying to understand at the same time behavioral development in the presence of disease.Such a statement is based on the false assumption that disease result in more complicated behavior.however,we may consider it axiomatic that disease processes do not usually add to the complexity of structure of behavior.Disease may distort or modify some aspects of behavioror it may block inhibitions or eliminate balancing components of the behavioral structure,throwing development or performance into disequilibrium,such that one component becomes much more prominent than anotheror it may eliminate certain superstructures,thus bringing more primitive layers of behavioral into prominence.But disease will not ordinarily produce behavior that goes beyond the level of complexity which is norm.It might often be dangerous to study merely one disease process and then make generalizations based on this one type of pathology.however,if we view a given behavior pattern in the light of a whole spectrum of pathological modifications,we may be able to attain some insight into aspects of that behavior not ordinarily seen.

IV. Elucidation through the study of defective children----------p305

(1)Language Lacquisition in the Absence Speech Production

Most psychological theories on language acquisition assume that the conditio sine quo non for this development is presence of an appropriate response system(most recently emphasized by Premack and Schwartz,1966)namely random babbling,that may be shaped into words,phrases and complete and mature utterances.It is a fundamental assumption here that responding is prior,in a senseto understanding.however,there is a type of childhood abnormality that contradicts this assumption.These are children with an inborn disability to coordinate their muscles of the vocal tract sufficiently to produce intelligible speech.The disturbance is seen in varying degree ranging from mild impediment to congenital anarthria.

I have had an opportunity to study one such case in great detail over a five-year period.This was a child who was nine years old when seen last.He has never been able to babble or,with advancing age,to say anything at all,but there can be no question that he has complete understanding of English.Over the years much material was collected about this case including detailed medical prenatal and postnatal historiesneurological examinations,family and social histories,laboratory and psychological test results(repeated at various intervals),X-rays and electroencephalography,observations during free play in the child’s home and in my officerecords were kept during attempts to train him in speech(unsuccessfully),and a report is available on daily private tutoring throughout one summer.This was conducted as a demonstration project to teach this totally inarticulate child the elements of reading.The latter was relatively successful.*The technique used is of considerable interestthe child demonstrated his ability to read by learning to match pictures to words and simple sentences.Absence of articulation should not be automatically regarded as a hindrance to instructing inarticulate children in the three R’s.

The technical details and background for this case are reported in Lenneberg(1962) and a discussion of the etiology of this condition may be found in Lenneberg(1964).

Some details of the patients communication behavior may be worth reporting here.

His crying and laughter had sounded normal since birth.He was able to make other noises,for instance,short,coughlike grunts,accompanying his pantomimed communications.While playing alone,he would readily make noises that sounded somewhat like Swiss yodeling(though he had never had any experience with these sounds) and which do not resemble any kind of vocalization heard among normal American children.When I first saw him,he appeared to have some difficulty in bringing his voicing mechanism under voluntary control.For instance,he was unable to make the pointer of the VU meter in an Ampex tape recorder jump by emitting grunts into a microphone even though he was fully aware of the logical connection between sound and deflection of the pointer and was fascinated by it.he would hold on to microphone and move his head and lips toward it as if to prompt himself for the actionafter a few futile attempts and with signs of rising frustration,he would,in desperationgesture to the examiners mouthinviting him to make the needle jump, or else simply resort to clapping his hands and accomplish his end this way.With advancing age he learned to control his vocal apparatus to a greater extent.At the time he was last seen he would repeat—with a considerable show of strain-a few words,but the words were barely intelligible and were never produced without support from the speech correctionist or the mother.They had to say the words simultaneously with him.

Some of the spontaneous sounds emitted by the patient at four years were analyzed spectrographically.The spectrograms are grossly abnormal for a child of this age and resemble those of a neonate in a number of respects,such as the unsteadiness in the formant pattern,the intermittent bursts of nonharmonic overtones,and the almost random change in resonance distribution over the spectrum(Lenneberg,1962).The spectrograms may be interpreted either as grossly immature or as evidence of a fixed central nervous system abnormality implicating the basic mechanisms for speech synergism.

From the patients first visit to the clinic it had been obvious that he had a normal and adequate understanding of spoken language.He has been more than twenty times since thenand full comprehension has been confirmed by neurologists,psychologists,speech therapists,medical residents,and teachers.A number of tape recordings have been made of interviews,including a visit to the patients home.Most of the examinations were done without the presence of his mother.At one time,a short series of instructions were tape recorded and transmitted to the patient through earphones.He followed the instructions without being able to see the examiner.

At the age of eight his capacity to comprehend was fully documented in a 16-millimeter sound film which is publicly available.*The film was not rehearsed and the interviewer had been known to patient by sight only.The demonstration includes the following itemsability to chewswallowand sucksounds emitted while playing at age fourtape recordings of mothers”conversation”with subject,recorded during a home visitfollowing commands and answering questions by noddinga short story is told followed by questions on it which are couched in complex grammatical constructions.

It is tempting to explain the patient’s responses to verbal instructions by extralinguistic means. Perhaps he is merely responding to visual cues given by the examiner and has, in fact, not learned to understand English! Could children with his type of abnormality develop perceptual skills such as were observed in von Osten’s famous horse, der kluge Hans, who supposedly could stamp his hoof in response to questions posed to him in German, but who, upon close examination by the psychologist Pfungst, had merely learned to observe the questioner, picking up minute motor cues related to posture and respiratory patterns which signals to him whether to stop or to continue to stamp his hoof? There is direct evidence against this hypothesis. The child described can react to tape-record instructions in the absence of any observer. Further, his response do not consist merely of nodding but also of doing things which could not easily be conveyed by inadvertent motor cues. In the film which documents the case, it is clear that the child frequently follows commands without looking at the examiner. Only three time (out of 45 responses) was there vacillation between correct and incorrect answers, and the last answer in each case is correct. On the other hand, there was no hesitation in the three instances when incorrect answers were given. There is no reason to assume that this child has a horse’s ability to respond to visual cues instead of assuming that he has he has learned what every other child of his age has learned-to understand English. Table 7.3 summarizes the child’s performance. It is the result of a panel of three judges who scrutinized the film, viewing each command and its execution individually with as many repetitions as were necessary in order to determine, by unanimous agreement, whether there was any likelihood of extralinguistic cuing.

(TABLE 7.3)

P308 Primitive stage in language development

Might it not be possible that this patient had nosy understanding of syntactic connections but merely responded to key words in the commands and questions? This possibility is extremely unlikely in the face of his understanding of such sentences as “Take the block and put it on the bottle.” “Is it time to eat breakfast now?” “Was the black cat fed by the nice lady?”

Congenital anarthria, as reported here, is a rare condition, but the case is by no mean unique, and the discrepancy between speech skills and the capacity for understanding may, indeed, be observed in every child. The theoretical importance of the extreme dissociation between perceptive and productive ability lies in the demonstration that the particular ability which we may properly call “having knowledge of a language” is no identical with speaking. Since knowledge of a language may be established in the absence of speaking skills, the former must be prior, and in a sense, simper than the latter. Speaking appears to require additional capacities, but these are accessory rather than criterial for language development.

(The Acquisition of Language in a Speechless Child .16-millimeter sound film. Running time is 18 minutes, distributed by Psychological Cinema Register. Pennsylvania State University.)

IV. Elucidation through the study of defective children----------p309

(2) Language Development in Mongoloid Children

There are several different causes for mental retardation, and each disease has its typical manifestations. Nevertheless, the development bf language, insofar as it occurs at all in these patients, follows some general laws of evolvement which may be traced among all of these conditions and which, indeed, are not different in nature from the unfolding if language in healthy children. Among the retarded the entire developmental process is merely slowed down or stretched out during childhood and is regularly arrested during the early teens. This affords the opportunity to study language development in slow motion, and the developmental arrest at puberty produces “frozen” primitive stages which are inalterable at that age by further training.

The study of children with mongolism offers certain advantages for research. The condition may be spotted at birth. Victims have a relatively good chance for reaching middle for reaching middle age. The condition is common. The patient population is relatively homogeneous, and a large number of patients are taken care of at home, and grow up in a normal social environment.

It is thought that mongoloid stigmata are manifestations of slowed or incomplete embryological development, apparently due to a chromosomal, intracellular disorder. In the process of postnatal maturation some but not all of the signs of immaturity disappear. With increasing age, structure, physiology, and behavior tend toward the norm, but all developmental facets progress at markedly slowed rates. In some areas, development is arrested at a level corresponding to three or four-year-old children in the normal population, whereas in other areas development continues to stages comparable to adolescence.

A large proportion of mongoloids pass their motor milestones with only mild delay, and menarche and secondary sexual characteristics appear in the midteens. Yet these individuals may never learn to make any social discriminations, write more than a few words, or to change money. The order in which developmental tasks are mastered is disarranged by differential slowing; those tasks which depend on common sense seem to suffer most.

Lenneberg, Nichols, and Rosenberger(1964)studied, over a three-year period, sixty-one mongoloid children who were all raised by their own parents and were living at home. The children were examined periocally, the frequency of the visits differing in accordance with the patient’s stage of development. Data consisted of medical history, neurological examination, psychological testing, tape recording of spontaneous utterances made while playing performance on an articulation test and a sentence-repetition test; and assessments of vocabulary, understanding of commands, and nature of vocalization.

(FIG 7.10)

P310 Primitive stage in language development

An interesting question concerns the role of intelligence in the acquisition of language. Is mastery of this, in a sense, highly abstract behavior dependent upon measurable intelligence? The problem is complicated(1) by the definition of intelligence and (2) by the changing intelligence quotients with chronological age among the feeble-minded. An individual whose cognitive status remains constant on a level comparable to that of the normal three-year-old appears to have a steadily falling IQ throughout childhood due to the peculiar way in which this figure is computed. The situation is well-illustrated in the scattergram of Fig7-10.(Compare also Zeaman and house,1962.)The study of the mongoloid population, as well as that of additional case of mental retarda- tion ,indicates that there is a certain “IQ threshold value “that varies with age and that must be attained for language to be acquired. Individual below this threshold have varying degrees of language primitivity, as illustrated in Fig. 4.3(Chapter Four). It is noteworthy that this threshold relatively low. If we take a population whose IQ is at or just above threshold, which is the case of mongoloids, intelligence figures correlate quite poorly with language development. Only if we confine our observations to the low grades of feeblemindedness can a relationship between intelligence and language learning be established.



(一) 沒有說話能力的語言習得

關於人們生理的根本行為研究幾乎受到阻礙,不太可能做有系統性的實驗,由於它干擾到人體的生理。人體隨著結構的成長還有發展,我們必須求助於pathological deviations。當然,它是不能被控制狀況還有引進錯誤,因為我們對精確的研究它的地方毫無所知,此外,實驗性的缺點必須被算入,並無可避免的接受。簡化地忽略這些現象是不可避免的,雖然它會造成和病理學相關的理論事實有所牴觸、矛盾。




多數關於語言機制的理論假設conditio sine quo non對於反應系統的存在是適當性的。毫無頭緒嬰兒的呀呀語,像是單字、句子等,然後它將會變成成熟的言語。反應是較早出來的的基本假設是可以被理解的。然而,另外有一種孩童不正常幼年時期的型態與先前的理論牴觸。這些小朋友不太能去協調他們聲帶的肌肉,然後去產生可理解的言語。這種憂慮可從輕度的口吃到先天性的言語呐疾被看出來。

藉由一段18分鐘的有聲錄影帶,它記錄了他在八歲時的能力領會,研究人想要解是病人對於非語言的言語指示的反應。其中關於知覺發展技巧的研究最有名的就是von Osten 的馬,der kluge Han。當他用德語回答時,那隻馬就會跺腳,但是心理學家Pfungst想要了解如果利用像手勢等動作方式馬是否也會跺腳。但是有個直接的證據牴觸這個理論,就是小孩即使在沒有觀察者的狀況下也可以被錄音帶的方式影響。這段影片告訴我們,小孩在跟隨這個指令時是沒有看著實驗者的。表73是總結兒童的反應,約有三次(從45個反應當中)是在猶豫不決中流失掉的。這裡沒有理由假設小孩有馬的能力,而不是假定小孩是由同年齡的小孩去學習了解英語。也許他們並不完全懂得語法的連結,是依靠這關鍵字來了解指令及回答。



再來就是要討論唐氏症的語言發展,唐氏症在病的特徵是在胚胎學發展緩慢或殘缺不全的,明顯造成此病的原因是因為染色體在細胞內的混亂。在出生後成熟性過程中一些,但沒有未成熟的所有標誌消失。 隨著年齡的增加,結構,生理,并且行為趨向往準則,但是所有發展小平面進步以明顯緩慢的率。所以大多的唐氏症病患的初經及第二性徵會較晚出現。


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