The Development of Metalinguistic Abilities in Children by David T. Hakes

By David T. Hakes

Not very decades in the past, it used to be universal for language researchers and theorists to argue that language improvement used to be someway specific and break free different elements of improvement. It used to be a interval whilst the "1 ittle 1 inguist" view of language improvement used to be universal, and lots more and plenty dialogue used to be dedicated to boost­ psychological "linguistic universals," unlike extra extensively outlined cognitive universals. It looked as if it would me on the time (and nonetheless does) that such perspectives mirrored extra their promulgators' lack of information of these elements of cognitive improvement probably to supply illuminating parallels with language improvement than they did the real developmental situation. Coming from a neo-Piagetian body of reference, it looked as if it would me that there have been outstanding parallels be­ tween the improvement of kid's language comprehension skills and the cognitive developmental adjustments taking place contemporaneously, mostly throughout the interval Piaget characterised because the preoperational degree. And, even though tougher to determine even now, there seemed additionally to be developmentally prior parallels through the sensory-motor stage.

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There is, however, no particular reason to believe that this early "rhyming" involves an analysis of sound sequences into phonological units. , syllabic) units. Further, this early spontaneous "rhyming" may well not involve children's being aware of the phonological properties of the sound sequences they are producing. That is, 2-year-olds may produce sequences of sounds that do in fact rhyme, but it is unclear that they know that that is what they are doing. Results reported by ZHUROVA (1973) might seem to call into question the claim that it is not until middle childhood that children become able to deal explicitly with the phonological units in spoken words.

The reason for including the comprehension task lies in the nature of the synonymy task. For this reason, the synonymy task will be described before the comprehension task. The other tasks will be described in the order in which they were administered. In general, the motivation for selecting the particular metalinguistic tasks used was to sample a variety of apparently important metalinguistic abilities. Synonymy and acceptability were selected because of the prominent role these, together with ambiguity, have played in linguistic discussions of the adult's linguistic competence.

Intuitively, the latter seems a far more difficult task, and the difference in results may well be attributable to this difference. One hint as to the basis on which the children in these studies may have been making their judgments comes from the study by GLEITMAN et al. Theyobtained acceptability judgments ("good" vs "silly") for a variety of grammatical and ungrammatical sentences from children between 5 and 8 years. In addition, the children were asked to explain their judgments. One 5-year-old judged the sentence "I am eating dinner" to be unacceptable, explaining that he didn't like to eat dinner.

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