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13:00 - 14:00 9 October 2017

Language and Cognition Seminar - The Retreat from Overgeneralisation in Child Language Acquisition


Chandler House, room G10 (link Map)
2 Wakefield St | London | WC1N 1PF | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Student

Speaker: Dr Ben Ambridge

Many different animal species have systems of communication that are remarkably sophisticated. However, human languages are unique in that they afford speakers the productivity to express new meanings. Perhaps the most impressive examples of productivity are seen when speakers combine words to produce entirely novel sentences, (e.g., Chomsky's famous example Colorless green ideas sleep furiously).

But this productivity comes at a cost. The mechanisms that yield this capacity suggest generalizations that would be considered unacceptable by native adult speakers. For example, the generalization that allows verbs attested in the intransitive construction to be generalized into the transitive construction (The ball rolled --> John rolled the ball) yields overgeneralization errors for verbs such as laugh (e.g., The man laughed --> *The joke laughed the man)...more information in the link below.


Gwen Brekelmans and Claudia Bruns
Please email | langcog-seminars@ucl.ac.uk


Speaker bio
More information