The readings listed below are the foundation of this course. The list includes background readings at the beginning, and more in-depth readings arranged by topic as you proceed through the course. Readings marked with an asterisk (*) are required, but the other papers listed are also quite relevant. Don't fear the large amount of reading! These papers read much more quickly than do linguistic theory papers. Where available, journal article abstracts from PubMed (an online database providing access to citations from biomedical literature) are included.
*Albright, and Hayes. "An Automated Learner for Phonology and Morphology." UCLA ms.
Avrutin, and Wexler. "Development of Principle B in Russian: Coindexation at LF and Coreference." Language Acquisition 2(4): 259-306.
Babyonyshev, M. "The Acquisition of Russian Case." Papers on Case & Agreement II. Edited by C. Phillips. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics 19 (1993): 1-44. Shows that young Russian kids know a lot about basic case marking.
*Babyonyshev, M., R. Fein, J. Ganger, D. Pesetsky, and K. Wexler. "The Maturation of Syntax: Evidence from Genitive of Negation in Russian." Linguistic Inquiry (2001). Argues that the true structure of unaccusatives is delayed, as ACDH expects.
*Bloom, P. "Subjectless Sentences in Child Language." Linguistic Inquiry 21, no. 4 (1990): 491-504. Argues that null-subjects in kid English are due to processing causes, not to grammatical causes.
Borer, H., and K. Wexler. "Bi-Unique Relations and the Maturation of Grammatical Principles." NLLT 10 (1992): 147-189.
*Borer, H., and K. Wexler. "The Maturation of Grammar." Edited by T. Roeper, and E. Williams. 1987. Introduces the idea of maturation of A-chains, the ACDH.
Bromberg, H., and K. Wexler. In MITWPPL 26: 221-247. (special volume on Psycholinguistics and Language Acquisition). Derives and tests the prediction that null-subjects should be impossible only in finite questions in English.
**Chien, and Wexler. "Children's Knowledge of Locality Conditions in Binding as Evidence for the Modularity of Syntax and Pragmatics." Language Acquisition 1(3) (1990): 225-295. First establishes the Delay of Principle B Effect (DPBE) and the important observation that DPBE does not occur for pronouns that are bound variables. Thus difference between binding and reference. Pragmatic deficit, Principle P.
Clahsen, H. "The Missing Agreement Account of Specific Language Impairment: Evidence from Therapy Experiments." Essex Working Papers. University of Essex, 1993.
Clahsen, H., and M. Penke. "The Acquisition of Agreement Morphology and Its Syntactic Consequences: New Evidence on German Child Language from the Simone-Corpus." In The Acquisition of Verb Placement. Edited by J. Meisel. Kluwer, 1992, pp. 181-223.
Crisma, P. "On the Acquisition of WH-questions in French." In GenGenP (1992): 115-122. An important early study of whether wh questions can exist in kid French for OI's. Has been challenged by more recent data, but it played an important role in Truncation.
Demuth, K. "Maturation and the Acquisition of the Sesotho Passive." Language 65(1) (1989): 56-80. Argues that very young kids in Sesotho have passives, so ACDH can't be right.
DePrez, V., and A. Pierce. "Negation and Functional Projections in Early Grammar." LI 24, no. 1 (1993): 25-67.
*Fox, D., and Y. Grodzinsky. "Children's Passive: A View from the By-Phrase." Linguistic Inquiry 29(2) (1998): 311-332. Suggests that the delay in passive is due to a delay in the by-phrase, rather than in chains.
*Gibson, E., and K. Wexler. "Triggers." Linguistic Inquiry 3 (1993): 407-454. Discusses the standard theory of parameter setting and some of its problems and solutions.
Gopnik, M. "Feature Blindness: A Case Study." Language Acquisition 1(2) (1990): 139-164.
Grimshaw, and Rosen. "Knowledge and Obedience: The Developmental Status of the Binding Theory." Linguistic Inquiry 21(2) (1990): 187-222.
*Grodzinsky, Y., and T. Reinhart. Paper in Linguistic Inquiry. 1993. Argues that the deficit causing DPBE is a processing difficulty, the inability to hold in mind and compare 2 representations, as demanded by Reinhart's Rule I.
Guasti, M. T. Language Acquisition: The Growth of Grammar. MIT Press, 2002. It should be very useful to you, though you should also read many of the original papers, which have a lot more information, both about theory and data, than the text. It's of moderate difficulty level, and you'll probably want more detail and the original arguments and you'll want to see how people argue in their research papers. But the text offers good beginning summaries of a number of topics, especially in syntactic development.
*------. "Verb Syntax in Italian Child Grammar." GenGenP: 145-163. Final version in Language Acquisition.
Horgan, D. "The Development of Full Passive." Journal of Child Language 5. (1978): 65-80. Shows that very young kids have adjectival passives, though described differently.
*Hyams, Nina. "The Null Subject Parameter in Language Acquisition." In The Null Subject Parameter. Edited by O. Jaeggli, and K. Safir. Kluwer, 1989, pp. 215-238. Introducing Hyams' claim that kids in English mis-set the null-subject parameter.
*Hyams, N., and K. Wexler. "On the Grammatical Basis of Null Subjects in Child Language." Linguistic Inquiry 24, no. 3: 421-459. Argues that Bloom's and other accounts that attribute null subjects to processing are wrong, that's it's a grammatical issue.
Kramer, I., "The Licensing of Subjects in Early Child Language." MITWPPL 19. Edited by C. Phillips. (1993): 197-213. An early compilation of different rates of null subjects for finite verbs and OI's.
*Maratsos, M., D. Fox, J. Beck, and M. Chalkley. "Semantic Restrictions on Children's Passives." Cognition 19 (1985): 167-191. Establishes the particular difficulty with "nonactional" verbal passives for children.
McKee, C., and C. Emiliani. "Reply to Borer and Wexler." In NLLT.
Phillips, C. "Syntax at Age 2: Cross-Linguistic Differences." Papers on Language Processing and Acquisition. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics 26. Edited by C. Schütze, J. B. Ganger, and K. Broihier. 1995, 37-93.
Pierce, A. Chap. 2 in Language Acquisition and Linguistic Theory: A comparative Analysis of French and English Child Grammars. 1992, pp. 19-50. This reading gives a good idea of the French OI stage.
*Poeppel, D., and K. Wexler. "The Full Competence Hypothesis of Clause Structure in Early Child German." In Language. 1993. The German OI stage.
Radford, A. "Small Children's Small Clauses." 1986. The statement of the "No functional Categories" position. Worth reading to see his methodology, etc.
*Rice, M., and K. Wexler. "Toward Tense As a Clinical Marker of Specific Language Impairment in English-Speaking Children." JSHR 39 (1996): 1239-1257.
PubMed abstract: A critical clinical issue is the identification of a clinical marker, a linguistic form or principle that can be shown to be characteristic of children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). In this paper we evaluate, as candidate clinical markers, a set of morphemes that mark Tense. In English, this includes -s third person singular, -ed regular past, BE, and DO. According to the Extended Optional Infinitive Account (EOI) of Rice, Wexler, and Cleave (1995), this set of morphemes is likely to appear optionally in the grammars of children with SLI at a rate lower than the optionality evident in younger controls. Three groups of preschool children participated: 37 children with SLI, and two control groups, one of 40 MLU-equivalent children and another of 45 age-equivalent children. Three kinds of evidence support the conclusion that a set of morphemes that marks Tense can be considered a clinical marker: (a) low levels of accuracy for the target morphemes for the SLI group relative to either of the two control groups; (b) affectedness for the set of morphemes defined by the linguistic function of Tense, but not for morphemes unrelated to Tense; and (c) a bimodal distribution for Tense-marking morphemes relative to age peers, in which the typical children are at essentially adult levels of the grammar, whereas children in the SLI group were at low (i.e., non-adultlike) levels of performance. The clinical symptoms are evident in omissions of surface forms. Errors of subject-verb agreement and syntactic misuses are rare, showing that, as predicted, children in an EOI stage who are likely to mark Tense optionally at the same time know a great deal about the grammatical properties of finiteness and agreement in the adult grammar. The findings are discussed in terms of alternative accounts of the grammatical limitations of children with SLI and implications for clinical identification.
*Rizzi, L. "Some Notes on Linguistic Theory and Language Development: The Case of Root Infinitives." Language Acquisition 3 (1994): 371-393. This paper states Rizzi's theory of the OI Stage: "truncation".
*Schütze, C., and K. Wexler. "Subject Case Licensing and English Root Infinitives." BU Conference on Language Development 20 Proceedings. Edited by A. Stringellow et al. (1996): 670-681. The paper argues for the relation between subject case and AGR in INFL in child grammar, developing the AGR/TNS Deletion Model.
Thornton, and Wexler. In Principle B, Ellipsis And Interpretation in Child Grammar. MIT Press, 1999. [excerpts]
*Wexler, K. "Head Movement, Inflection and the Economy of Derivations in Young Children." In Verb Movement. Edited by N. Hornstein, and D. Lightfoot. Cambridge University Press, 1993. The basic description of the OI stage cross-linguistically. With some theoretical alternatives.
*------. "Very Early Parameter Setting and The Unique Checking Constraint: A New Explanation of The Optional Infinitive Stage." Lingua 106 (1998): 23-79. This paper introduced the Unique Checking Constraint explanation of the OI stage, deriving ATOM and the exclusion for null-subjects.
Wexler, K., and P. Culicover. Formal Principles of Language Acquisition. MIT Press, 1980, pp. 60-84. (wouldn't hurt to look at, say, the first 3 chapters, to get some idea of learnability issues and foundations of the acquisition field).
The following papers are related to variability in binding, and also to the Subset Principle, which we might not have a lot of time to discuss. It's relevant also to Lecture.
Kapur, et al. "Universal Grammar and Learnability Theory: The Case of Binding Domains and the 'Subset Principle'." In Knowledge and Language. Edited by E. Reuland, and W. Abraham. 1993.
Manzini, and Wexler. "Parameters, Binding Theory and Learnability." Linguistic Inquiry 18(3) (1987): 413-444.
Wexler, K. "The Subset Principle is an Intensional Principle." In Knowledge and Language. Edited by E. Reuand, and W. Abraham. 1993.
Perceptual Abilities of Infants
*Werker, J. "Exploring Developmental Changes in Cross Language Speech Perception." In Language: An Invitation to Cognitive Science. Edited by L. Gleitman and M. Liberman. MIT Press, 1995.
Acquisition of Contrast, Perceptual Magnet Effect
Guenther, F., and M. Gjaja. "The Perceptual Magnet Effect As an Emergent Property of Neural Map Formation." JASA 100, no. 2 (1996): 1111-1121.
PubMed abstract: The perceptual magnet effect is one of the earliest known language-specific phenomena arising in infant speech development. The effect is characterized by a warping of perceptual space near phonemic category centers. Previous explanations have been formulated within the theoretical framework of cognitive psychology. The model proposed in this paper builds on research from both psychology and neuroscience in working toward a more complete account of the effect. The model embodies two principal hypotheses supported by considerable experimental and theoretical research from the neuroscience literature: (1) sensory experience guides language-specific development of an auditory neural map, and (2) a population vector can predict psychological phenomena based on map cell activities. These hypotheses are realized in a self-organizing neural network model. The magnet effect arises in the model from language-specific nonuniformities in the distribution of map cell firing preferences. Numerical simulations verify that the model captures the known general characteristics of the magnet effect and provides accurate fits to specific psychophysical data.
*Kuhl, P. K., F. Lacerda Williams, K. Stevens, and B. Lindblom. "Linguistic Experience Alters Phonetic Perception by 6 Months of Age." Science 255 (1991): 606-607.
Acquiring Phonotactics and Word Boundaries
*Johnson, E., and P. Jusczyk. "Word Segmentation by 8 Month Olds: When Speech Cues Count More Than Statistics." Journal of Memory and Language 44 (2001): 1-20.
Jusczyk, P., D. Houston, and M. Newsome. "The Beginnings of Word Segmentation in English Learning Infants." Cognitive Psychology 39 (1999): 159-207.
PubMed abstract: A series of 15 experiments was conducted to explore English-learning infants' capacities to segment bisyllabic words from fluent speech. The studies in Part I focused on 7.5 month olds' abilities to segment words with strong/weak stress patterns from fluent speech. The infants demonstrated an ability to detect strong/weak target words in sentential contexts. Moreover, the findings indicated that the infants were responding to the whole words and not to just their strong syllables. In Part II, a parallel series of studies was conducted examining 7.5 month olds' abilities to segment words with weak/strong stress patterns. In contrast with the results for strong/weak words, 7.5 month olds appeared to missegment weak/strong words. They demonstrated a tendency to treat strong syllables as markers of word onsets. In addition, when weak/strong words co-occurred with a particular following weak syllable (e.g., "guitar is"), 7.5 month olds appeared to misperceive these as strong/weak words (e.g., "taris"). The studies in Part III examined the abilities of 10.5 month olds to segment weak/strong words from fluent speech. These older infants were able to segment weak/strong words correctly from the various contexts in which they appeared. Overall, the findings suggest that English learners may rely heavily on stress cues when they begin to segment words from fluent speech. However, within a few months time, infants learn to integrate multiple sources of information about the likely boundaries of words in fluent speech.
*Jakobson, R. Child Language, Aphasia and Phonological Universals. Mouton, 1968/1941, pp. 46-89.
Markedness Hierarchies Replicated in Acquisition
Dinnsen, D., and J. Barlow. "Root and Manner Faithfulness in Acquisition." Proceedings of the 22nd BUC (1998).
Gerken, L. "A Metrical Template Account of Children's Weak Syllable Omissions from Multisyllabic Words." Journal of Child Language 21 (1994): 565-584.
PubMed abstract: Young children learning English as well as many other languages frequently omit weakly stressed syllables from multisyllabic words. In particular, they are more likely to omit weak syllables from word-initial positions than from word-internal or -final positions. For example, the weak syllable of a weak-strong (WS) word like giraffe is much more likely to be omitted than the weak syllable of a SW word like tiger. Three hypotheses for this omission pattern have been offered. In two, children's weak syllable omissions reflect innate perceptual biases either to ignore initial weak syllables or to encode word-final syllables. In contrast, the SW Production Template Hypothesis states that children have a template for producing a strong syllable followed by an optional weak syllable. When they apply a series of SW templates to their intended utterances, weak syllables that do not fit the templates are more likely to be omitted than those that do. To compare the three hypotheses, young two-year-olds were asked to say four-syllable SWWS and WSWS nonsense words. Children's pattern of weak syllable preservations was highly consistent with the SW production template hypothesis, but not with the perception-based hypotheses. Implications of this research for children's function morpheme omissions and for the relation of metrical and segmental production templates are discussed.
Gnanadesikan, A. "Child Phonology in OT: Ranking Markedness and Faithfulness Constraints." Proceedings of the 20th BUC 1 (1996): 237.
*Levelt, C., N. Schiller, and W. Levelt. "The Acquisition of Syllable Types." Language Acquisition 8 (3) (1999/2000): 237.
*Pater, J. "Minimal Violation and Phonological Development." Language Acquisition 6(3) (1997): 201.
Pater, J., and A. Werle. "Typology and Variation in Child Consonant Harmony." In Fixing Priorities. Edited by R. Kager. Cambridge University Press. (in press)
Alternatives to (aspects of) Jakobson
*Lindblom, B. "Phonological Units As Adaptive Emergents of Lexical Development." In Phonological Development: Models, Research, Implications. Edited by Charles A. Ferguson, Lise Menn, and Carol Stoel-Gammon. 1992, pp. 131-163.
A Closer Look at the Data: What Do Children Really Say?
*Macken, M., and D. Barton. "The Acquisition of the Voicing Contrast in English." Journal of Child Language 7 (1979): 41-74.
Masilon, T., and K. Ross. "Weak Syllable Deletion." UCLA ms. 1996.
Scobbie, J., F. Gibbon, W. Hardcastle, and P. Fletcher. "Covert Contrast As a Stage in the Acquisition of Phonetics and Phonology." Papers in Laboratory Phonology 5. Edited by M. Broe and J. Pierrehumbert.
Weismer, G. "Acoustic Analysis Strategies for The Refinement of Phonological Analysis." In Phonological Theory and the Misarticulating Child (ASHA Monographs no. 22). Edited by M. Elbert, D. A. Dinnsen, and G. Weismer. Rockville, MD: ASHA, 1984, pp. 30-52.
The Two-Phonology Hypothesis
Menn, L., and E. Matthei. "The Two-Lexicon Hypothesis of Child Phonology." In Phonological Development: Models, Research, Implications. Edited by Charles A. Ferguson, Lise Menn, and Carol Stoel-Gammon. 1992, pp. 131-163.