Complete English Grammar Rules

The Farlex Grammar Book

The grammar book for the 21st century has arrived, from the language experts at Farlex International and, the trusted reference destination with 1 billion annual visits. The Farlex Grammar Book is a comprehensive guide consisting of three volumes: Volume I-English Grammar, Volume II-English Punctuation, Volume III-English Spelling, and Pronunciation.Inside, you'll find clear, easy-to-understand explanations of everything you need to master proper grammar, including complete English grammar rules, examples, and exceptionsplus a grammar quiz at the end of every topic to test what you've learned.Farlex brings you the most comprehensive grammar guide yet: all the rules of English grammar, explained in simple, easy-to-understand terms. Over 500 pages of proper grammar instruction2x more than the leading grammar book! Whether you're an expert or a beginner, there's always something new to learn when it comes to the always-evolving English language. Only Complete English Grammar Rules gives you common grammar mistakes, thousands of real-world examples. With Complete English Grammar Rules, you'll be able to: Quickly master basic English grammar and tackle more advanced topics, Properly use every type of noun, verb, and even the most obscure grammar elements, Master verb tenses, including irregular verbs and exceptions, Avoid embarrassing grammar errors. Read more here...

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Example Of Contextsensitive Molecular Grammar

Let X A, C, G terminal alphabet and Va w1, w2, w3 auxiliary alphabet and the context-sensitive grammar defined supra in paragraph 4. The set of genetic words generated by this grammar is in the form ACG, AACCGG, AAACCCGGG and so on and the automaton associated will be able to recognize and interpret these sequences.

Reasoning Beyond Grammar Evidence From Native And Non Native Signing Deaf Children

Clearer evidence for the position that grammar is insufficient for reasoning can be found from research involving deaf children from hearing families who achieve proficiency in the syntax of sign language only after school entry. These children are reliably outperformed on ToM tasks by native signing children from families with a deaf signing member. In indicating that ToM reasoning extends beyond grammar, these findings establish the critical role of early access to conversational input. A deaf child growing up with a signing deaf family member may have the same access to conversation, and to an explicit ToM, as do normal hearing preschoolers, even though the medium for communication is sign language rather than speech. By contrast, up to the point of entering a signing classroom at school, the communication of deaf children with hearing family members can be limited to topics with a visual reference (Meadow, 1975). Thus late signers may not profit by the focus on mental states that...

Of Nature And Nurture

That sounds reasonable enough, and it would be splendid for those who believe in social engineering if it were true, but it is simply not true Humanity is, of course, morally free to make and remake itself infinitely, but we do not do so. We stick to the same monotonously human pattern of organizing our affairs If we were more adventurous, there would be societies without love, without ambition, without sexual desire, without marriage, without art, without grammar, without music, without smiles and with as many unimaginable novelties as are in that list. There would be societies in which women killed each other more often than men, in which old people were considered more beautiful than twenty-year-olds, in which wealth did not purchase power over others, in which people did not discriminate in favor of their own friends and against strangers, in which parents did not love their own children

Gcg Cgg Cgg Cgg Agg Cgg

If the symbol read in the sequence doesn't correspond to a permitted transition, the sequence is rejected, and so can not be derived from the chosen grammar. If the automaton gets at the symbol A at the end of the reading, the sequence corresponds to the model (Figure 3).

Recent Contributions And Developments 51 Neanderthals and Modern Humans

Language is one of our species' most notable traits. Multidisciplinary research on language in the last forty years has changed our understanding of human cognition. The evolution of human language remains, however, largely unresolved. The impressive growth of research on language evolution made some headway, but has not yet produced satisfactory understanding of how the capacity for language came about. Recent work has, on the one hand, challenged traditional assumptions and pointed out additional variables that need to be taken into account. For instance, Daniel Lieberman and colleagues (Lieberman and McCarthy, 1999 Lieberman et al., 2001) have challenged the assumption (Lieberman et al., 1972) that phonation constraints are virtually the sole determinants of the modern human vocal tract configuration. They have shown how factors relating to swallowing, respiration, and facial ontogenetic growth must also be taken into account in order to obtain an accurate picture of the evolution...

Intonation and music theory

Theoretically, there is no over-riding model of intonation (or prosody or paralinguistics) that is comparable to the ambitious universality of the central paradigm of modern linguistic theory, Chomsky's transformational grammar (e.g., Chomsky 1965). Intonation theorists tacitly acknowledge the extreme context- and language culture-dependence of pitch regularities in speech. In other words, there is, as yet, no universal theory of intonation. Figure 4-2. Several current notational systems used for studying intonation (a) the scrolling typewriter system used by Bolinger (1989), (b) the four line technique of Garding (1983), (c) the close-copy stylization used by Collier and't Hart (1981), (d) the interlinear-tonetic transcription favored by Cruttendon (1997), and (e) the finite-state grammar of Pierrehumbert (1981). Figure 4-2. Several current notational systems used for studying intonation (a) the scrolling typewriter system used by Bolinger (1989), (b) the four line technique of...

Communication Disorders in Adults Functional Approaches to Aphasia

These expanded definitions are crucial to understanding the differences between functional and more traditional approaches to assessment and treatment of the language disorders that are acquired in adulthood, typically the result of insults to the brain and occurring to individuals who previously had normal language and communication. For such individuals, understanding the way that language functions in communication remains relatively spared, in contrast to their deficits of impaired lexicon, grammar, and phonology. As a result, functional approaches tend to stress communication strengths rather than linguistic deficits.

Communication Skills of People with Down Syndrome

The unique features of speech, language, and hearing ability of children with Down syndrome have been detailed by Miller, Leddy, and Leavitt (1999). First is the frequent hearing loss in infants and children, with more than 75 of young children found to have at least a mild hearing problem at sometime in childhood. These hearing problems can fluctuate, but about one-third of children have recurring problems throughout early childhood that can lead to greater language and speech delay. These results suggest particular attention be directed to monitoring responsiveness to everyday speech and frequent hearing testing through childhood. Second, there are unique verbal language characteristics of persons with Down syndrome. Children experience slower development of language relative to other cognitive skills. Communication performance is characterized by better language comprehension than production. Vocabulary use is better than the mastery of the grammar of the language. Progress in...

Effect of Alzheimers Neuropathology on Communicative Function

The expression of grammar and syntax is remarkably intact, although occasional errors may be made. Individuals with mild AD can usually follow three-stage commands, answer comparative questions, name By the middle stages of AD, when affected individuals have become disoriented for time and place and memory problems are more florid, communication is more disrupted (Bayles and Tomoeda, 1995). Meaningful verbal output diminishes because individuals have increasing trouble generating a series of meaningful ideas. Writing words to dictation may remain, but writing letters or pieces of any length is problematic. The ability to read is retained, although affected individuals rapidly forget what they have read. Grammar and syntax continue to resist prominent disease effects.

Summary and conclusions

The results from the language studies, taken as a whole, point to different developmental time courses and developmental vulnerabilities of aspects of grammatical and semantic lexical processing. They thus provide support for conceptions of language that distinguish these sub-processes within language. Similarly, following auditory deprivation, processes associated with the dorsal visual pathway were more altered than were functions associated with the ventral pathway, providing support for conceptions of visual system organization that distinguish functions along these lines. A general hypothesis that may account for the different patterns of plasticity within both vision and language is that systems employing fundamentally different learning mechanisms display different patterns of developmental plasticity. It may be that systems displaying experience-dependent change throughout life-including the topography of sensory maps (Merzenich et al., 1988 Gilbert, 1995 Kaas, 1995), lexical...

Thinking Out Of The Straight Line

Strated how the loops and notches of protein domains can link protein to protein or pathway to pathway. They have cataloged patterns and outlined the rules of cellular grammar. They have demonstrated how signaling mechanisms can connect environment and genome, strike a balance between excess and shortfall, reconstruct as well as regulate.

Pragmatic Marking in Preverbal Position

Previously it was said that position (1) has the function of pragmatic marking. 'Marking' is to be understood both as low pragmatic prominence and as high pragmatic prominence placement in position (1) can indeed have both functions. Low pragmatic prominence is typical for discourse-induced, i.e. given topics, and very often these topics are found in position (1), such as anaphoric pronouns, time and place adverbials denoting a 'setting', temporal adverbial clauses, and conditionals men han kunne ikke huske det 'but he couldn't remember that', i gdr var hun syg 'yesterday, she was ill', i Odense drikkes derAlbani 'in Odense Albani is drunk', ndr jeg ringer, er hun nok klar 'when I ring, she's probably ready', hvis han husker det, skriver han nok 'if he remembers to, he'll write'. In combination with marked stress, position (1) is for contrast Peter s& jeg ikke, men Hans 'Peter I didn't see, but Hans', Japan er et 0rige, men det er Korea ikke 'Japan is an island empire, but Korea...

Reasoning In Agrammatic Aphasia

One profitable avenue for investigation into the relation between grammar and reasoning concerns the study of people who have severe forms of aphasia - an acquired disorder of language, resulting from damage to language-mediating regions of the cortex and associated sub-cortical structures. In aphasia, there can sometimes be dramatic excisions of components of the language system, as in the case of severe agrammatic aphasia where the patient shows little or no ability to understand or construct sentences in any modality of language use (spoken or written). Even more extensive impairment is found in global aphasia where in addition to loss of grammatical ability there can also be substantial impairment of lexical knowledge. It is widely acknowledged that cognition is retained in many cases of aphasia (Kertesz, 1988). However, previous research has not investigated sufficiently precise questions about the forms of thinking that are mediated by grammar the nature and degree of language...

Grammatical Relations and Diathesis

In the core grammar there are two main types of passive which can be called the werden -passive and the bekommen -passive. Both passives are very much alike in structure. The werden-passive (Hans liest den Brief - der Brief wird von Hans gelesen 'Hans reads the letter' - 'The letter is read by Hans') changes the direct object (den Brief) into the subject of the passive sentence (der Brief). We call this 'object conversion'. The subject of the active sentence (Hans) is changed into the von-phrase ('subject conversion'). For the paradigm of this passive the auxiliary is werden. The passive with werden manifests the highest degree of grammaticalization and is therefore considered to be 'the' passive of German. An accusative complement (active) can be converted into a nominative one (passive) only if the nominative (active) is convertible into a von-phrase (passive). It would be in accordance with traditional terminology to restrict the term 'direct object' to those accusatives which can...

Language Problems in Children with Reading Disabilities

Poor readers may have difficulties in vocabulary, grammar, or text-level processing (Vogel, 1974 Catts et al., 1999 McArthur et al., 2000). In at least some cases, these deficits are severe enough for children to have been identified as language impaired (Catts et al., 1999 McArthur et al., 2000). Although most children with reading disabilities have a history of language problems, the overlap between language and reading disabilities is not complete. In each group of poor readers who have been studied, at least some participants do not appear to have a history of language problems. When language problems are defined on the basis of difficulties in vocabulary, grammar, or text-level processing, about half of poor readers show no evidence of a language impairment (Mattis, 1978 Catts et al., 1999 McArthur et al., 2000). However, when phonological processing deficits are also included, the percentage of unaffected poor readers is about 25 -30 (Catts et al., 1999). These results are due,...

Referential Intent In Naming And Categorization

That grammar is not sufficient for reasoning raises issues about its role in conceptual development, particularly in the naming and categorization of objects. Whereas it has long been established that syntactic cues such as a speaker's use of definite and indefinite articles and present participles assist in children's word learning (Brown, 1957), very young children under the age of 3 years have not yet attained a level of grammatical ability that allows vocabulary items to be combined to create complex propositions. They do not normally utter sentences such as Joe thought that there was candy in the jar let alone more sophisticated propositions that refer to false beliefs such as Joe thought that Jill knew that there was candy in the jar. Nevertheless, in preferential looking tasks it has been shown that the fast mapping of words to objects occurs even before children have reached their period of maximal vocabulary development (Schafer & Plunkett, 1998). Children's spontaneous...

Goaldirected Reasoning Before Language

It has been maintained that children's naming shifts to a strong dependence on social cognition about others' intentions only at a late stage in their language development and is preceded by a reliance on the salience of objects (Hollich et al., 2000). However, the acquisition of the child's conception of other people's goals or intentions is developmentally prior to their acquisition of much word learning and grammar. Even young infants are sensitive to causal relations in the physical world (Scholl & Tremoulet, 2000) and recent studies indicate that, at 6 to 9 months, infants interpret goal directed actions in intentional terms depending on whether these involve animate or inanimate objects (Csbira et al., 1999 Woodward, 1999). For example, they expect a person's speech to be directed to another person rather than to an object, and a person's reaching with a sweeping movement to be directed at an object rather a person (Legerstee et al., 2000).

Syntactic Tree Pruning

Friedmann and Grodzinsky (1997) to account for these seemingly unrelated deficits and for the dissociations between spared and impaired abilities within and across languages. The TPH is a linguistic generalization, formulated within the generative grammar framework, and was suggested to account for production only. (For a syntactic account of agrammatic comprehension, see trace deletion hypothesis Grodzinsky, 2000.) According to the TPH, individuals with agrammatic aphasia are unable to project the syntactic tree up to its highest node, and their syntactic tree is pruned.'' As a result, syntactic structures and elements that require the high nodes of the tree are impaired, but structures and elements that involve only low nodes are preserved (Fig. 1).

The semantic theory of mental development

It has been held for centuries that mind and body are divided by an unbridgeable gulf, but in reality there is no actual proof that they develop with totally different mechanisms. There are, on the contrary, some intriguing common features in their developments. We have seen that a universal grammar must appear in a very early phase of mind development, and in that phase we can rightly say that a child has a species-specific mind, or a specietypic mind, because that mental state is shared by all members of our species. We have seen, furthermore, that the phylotypic stage of embryonic development is very short, but the body plan that is built in that brief interval remains for life, and acts as an organising centre for the individual body. And the same is true for the mind the phase of the specietypic mind is transient, but the universal grammar that is built in that brief time does not disappear, and becomes the organising centre of the individual mind. We have also seen that, in the...

The Acquisition Of Complex Language

It is important to recognize that the approach to language acquisition illustrated in the previous section, sometimes called the social-pragmatic approach (Akhtar & Tomasello, 2000), is not limited to explaining the acquisition and use of individual words. On this view, more complex aspects of language, including syntax or grammar, are used and acquired in the same way. Syntax includes the manner in which words are combined into phrases and sentences to represent and express more complex meanings involving various relations between and among agents, objects, actions, and other events. There are various ways in which such relations are expressed, including word order and grammatical marking of words (e.g., case marking). Like individual words, syntax has both a representational function and a communicative function. Where words stand for entities, attributes, and actions, syntactic structures stand for events or states of affairs in which entities take part and play different roles. To...

Morphology The Nominal Group

Like German, Yiddish has a three-gender and two-number system. Gender is partially predictable from either the semantics or the ending of the noun. Thus words denoting males and females tend to be masculine (rebe 'rabbi'), feminine (rebetsn 'rabbi's wife'), respectively, and -er is associated with masculine (fentster 'window'), -ik with feminine (gramatik 'grammar'), and the diminutive suffixes - and -ele with neuter (hezl hoz 'hare'). In some cases the semantics and the ending may yield the same prediction, as with the feminizing suffix -in (lererin 'female teacher'), but they may be in conflict too, as with meydl 'girl' (diminutive from moyd 'maid'), which can be feminine or neuter. Gender differences between German and Yiddish cognates may result from variation in the ancestor Germanic dialects Slavic

Reading disorder developmental See dyslexia

Receptive language disorder A condition in which a child may have trouble understanding certain aspects of speech, such as a toddler who does not respond to his name or the child who cannot follow simple directions. While hearing is normal, these children cannot make sense of certain sounds, words, or sentences. Because using and understanding speech are strongly related, many children with receptive language disorders also have an expressive language disorder. some misuse of sounds, words, or grammar is a normal part of learning to speak. It is only when these problems persist that there is any cause for concern.


In this section I look at vocabulary size as an example of how sexual selection may have shaped language evolution. If language evolved in part through sexual choice as an ornament or indicator, it should be costly, excessive, luxuriant beyond the demands of pragmatic communication. How could we measure whether language is excessive Vocabulary is convenient to study because we can count how many words people know, whereas we do not yet know how to measure the complexity of grammar or the social strategies of conversation. More importantly, we can count how many words people would need to know for pragmatic purposes, and see whether our vocabularies are excessive. Basic English works with ordinary English grammar. Despite it having a vocabulary only 1 per cent as large as normal, Richards wrote that it is possible to say in Basic English anything needed for the general purposes of everyday existence in business, trade, industry, science, medical work and in all the arts of living, in...

Ye poysoning of Sir Thomas Overbury

Thomas Overbury was born in 1581 at Bourton-on-the-Hill in Gloucestershire. He was educated at the local grammar school, then went to university in the autumn of 1595 to Queen's College, Oxford. He graduated in 1598 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts and moved to Middle Temple in London, which in those days was not solely a centre for lawyers as it is today, but was the home of poets and courtiers. Indeed, Overbury wrote prose and poetry, with some success, but he was intent on a career in government and he secured a position in the Lord Treasurer's office. In the summer of 1601 Overbury was sent to Edinburgh with important letters to King James, who was then King of Scotland, and it was there that he first met Robert Kerr, a 14-year-old pageboy. Kerr and Overbury returned to London together and thenceforth kept in regular contact. (Kerr changed the spelling of his name to Carr when he moved to London.)

Language Impairment in Children Cross Linguistic Studies

Studies of Romance languages such as Italian and French have demonstrated that children with SLI have greater trouble acquiring the past tense than the present tense, while English-speaking children with SLI have difficulty with both tenses. Impaired speakers of French and Italian also have difficulty with the production of object clitics. Surprisingly, however, Italian and French children with SLI differ in their acquisition of determiners. Italian-speaking children have more difficulty with this aspect of their grammar than the French-speaking children. It is unfortunate that in the family of Romance languages, there are no comparable acquisition studies of children with SLI learning Spanish, either in the Americas or in Europe. Even though the number of languages that are being studied is expanding, there are only a few studies that can be considered truly cross-linguistic in design. These few genuine cross-linguistic studies involve either a format that compares in one study two...

Speech and Language Disorders in Children Computer Based Approaches

Computer software for use in speech and language intervention has progressed significantly from the early versions, which were based primarily on a drill-and-practice format. Cochran and Nelson (1999) cite literature that confirms what many clinicians knew intuitively software that allows the child to be in control and to independently explore based on personal interests is more beneficial than computer programs based on the drill-and-practice model. Improvements in multimedia capacities and an appreciation for maximally effective designs have resulted in a proliferation of software packages that can be effectively used in language intervention with young children. As with any tool, the focus must remain on the target linguistic structures rather than the toys or activities that are used to elicit or model productions. In addition to therapeutic benefits, computers offer reasonable compensatory strategies for older, school-age students with language-learning disabilities (Wood and...

Specific Language Impairment in Children

Other types of accounts assume that children with SLI might have the potential to acquire normal grammar but have limitations in processing that slow their identification and interpretation of the relevant input and their ability to retrieve this information for production. In some cases the processing limitation is assumed to be quite general (Johnston, 1994 Ellis Weismer, 1996). In other cases the limitation is assumed to be specific to particular operations, such as phonological processing (Chiat, 2001) or the processing of brief or rapidly presented auditory information (e.g., Tallal et al., 1996). Fey, M., Cleave, P., and Long, S. (1997). Two models of grammar facilitation in children with language impairments Phase 2. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 40, 5-19.

Otitis Media Effects on Childrens Language

The OME-associated hearing loss, which is often variable in degree, recurrent, and at times asymmetrical, has been hypothesized to disrupt the rapid rate of language-processing, causing a loss of language information. This disruption has been hypothesized to affect children's language acquisition in the areas of phonology, vocabulary, syntax, and discourse in several ways. First, the disruption and variability in auditory input due to OME may cause children to encode information incompletely and inaccurately into their phonological working memory. Consequently, children's lexical development may be hindered if they have inaccurate representations of words, which may then result in imprecise lexical recognition or production. Second, OME-associated hearing loss may result in difficulties acquiring inflectional morphology and grammar. Children may not hear or may inaccurately hear certain grammatical morphemes that are of low phonetic substance, such as inflections of short duration and...

Reading Outcomes in Children with Language Impairments

Nonlinear growth in different aspects of reading development may also influence the observation of a relationship between language and reading disabilities. For example, in the early stages, reading development is characterized by rapid improvement in word recognition skills, which rest heavily on phonological processing abilities. At later stages, individual differences become more related to language comprehension abilities (Hoover and Gough, 1990). Thus, children with deficits in phonological processing will most likely have problems in the early stages of learning to read, while those with vocabulary and grammar deficits will be especially at risk in the later stages of reading development.

Speech Disorders in Children Speech Language Approaches

Researchers have been interested in the cross-domain effects of these procedures on improvement in children's speech disorders. Fey et al. (1994) examined the effects of language intervention in 25 children with moderate to severe language and speech impairments who were randomly assigned to a clinician treatment group, a parent treatment group, or a delayed-treatment control group. The treatment groups made large gains in grammar after 5 months of intervention, but improvement in speech was no greater than that achieved by the control group. Tyler and Sandoval (1994) examined the effects of treatment focused only on speech, only on morphosyntax, and on both domains in six preschool children. The two children who received morphosyntactic intervention showed improvements in language but negligible improvement in phonology.

Domains of Mind as Domains of Science

Relatively little research has been conducted on giftedness and talent in the social-emotional domain, partly because it cannot be assessed through pen and paper methodology. Thomas Hatch has written about these skills among kindergarten-aged children at play and argues that children with interpersonal and social skills are the leaders and diplomats of the playground. They have talents for responding to the thoughts and feelings of their playmates and can regulate their own desires and impulses. These children organize groups, mediate conflict, have empathy, and are team players. Similarly, Alain Schmitt and Karl Grammar argued that the most socially skilled and successful children are not simply the most cognitively complex ones, but rather those who know how to produce the most desired and often simplest outcomes. When people are talented at social-emotional intelligence, they may become leaders or well liked by peers, but they seldom win awards and talent recognition contests...

Speech Disorders Genetic Transmission

Prevalence estimates of speech sound disorders are essential in conducting behavioral and molecular genetic studies. They are used to calculate an individual's risk of having a disorder as well as to test different genetic models of transmission. Prevalence rates for speech disorders may vary based on the age and sex of the individual, the type of disorder, and the comorbid conditions associated with it. In an epidemiological sample, Shriberg and Austin (1998) reported the prevalence of speech delay in 6-year-old children to be 3.8 . Speech delay was approximately 1.5 times more prevalent in boys than in girls. Shriberg and Austin (1998) also found that children with speech involvement have a two to three times greater risk for expressive language problems than for receptive language problems. Estimates of the comorbidity of receptive language disorders with speech disorders ranged from 6 to 21 , based on whether receptive language was assessed by vocabulary,...

Trace Deletion Hypothesis

Some aphasic syndromes implicate grammar. Known for almost a century to be grammatically impaired in speech production (see syntactic tree pruning), individuals with Broca's and Wernicke's aphasia are now known to have receptive grammatical deficits as well. The trace deletion hypothesis (TDH) is a collection of ideas about the proper approach to linguistic deficits subsequent to brain damage in adults, particularly Broca's aphasia. Support for a grammatical interpretation of aphasia comes from a dense body of research from The foregoing was a simplified introductory discussion. In reality, things are somewhat more complicated. The deletion of a trace in certain cases does not hinder performance in aphasia. Our characterization needs refinement. The leading idea is to view aphasic sentence interpretation as a composite process an interaction between incomplete syntax (i.e., representations lacking traces) and a compensatory cognitive strategy. The interpretation of moved constituents,...

Synchronization and cognitive binding

The cognitive binding issue is most frequently discussed in terms of the unification of diverse sensory attributes, but the same synchronization mechanism may be at work in all forms of higher cognition. Shastri and Ajjana-gadde (1993) have illustrated the binding as shown in Figures 7-2 and 7-3. Given a setting in which several objects, agents and actions are involved, it is imperative for the organism not only to recognize the individual objects agents actions, but also to perceive their causal relationships - often, in the human case, with the aid of symbolic language. As shown in Figure 7-2, the cognitive problem that the brain must solve is to determine which of several objects agents actions are causally involved in the (for some reason) salient event of giving the book that is at the center of attention. Any suitable linguistic grammar might be used to represent the observed scene, but the overwhelm-

Characteristics Of Germanic Language Morphology

There is relatively little to be said about morphology in pidgins and Creoles since lack of it is one of the defining characteristics of the pidginization process. The absence of highly developed inflectional morphology was generally equated with lack of grammar and thought to reflect the primitive-ness of both the language and its speakers. Pidginization can entail loss of all bound morphology, many free grammatical morphemes and even a large part It has been suggested that if the notion of morphological simplification is to be understood in any meaningful way, with respect to Creoles, it should be with respect to the selection of the unmarked options of universal grammar. Bickerton's more recent versions of the bioprogram hypothesis (see Bickerton 1984) are framed in terms of the unmarked parametric settings of Universal Grammar. Nevertheless, there are quite a few cases where Creoles have marked settings or are typologically at odds with implicational universals. These are often,...

Phase 2 Verbal Science

Just as is the case with children, vocabulary no doubt preceded syntax and grammar in our species, and, indeed, it took upwards of two million years to go from simple vocabulary to grammar and syntax. When it finally happened, human knowledge and innovation changed forever. There is much evidence that

Syntax The Noun Phrase

The sequence of all specifiers in a wide sense of the word (i.e. determiners and attributes) is determined by the universal principle of Heaviness Hierarchy which is known in traditional German grammar as Gesetz der wachsenden Glieder(' 2w of growing elements'). The heavier (i.e. longer and internally more complex) the prototype of a syntactic class, the later it appears in the sequence of elements. In German, the noun phrase conforms strictly to this principle. The principle may be motivated by such needs of the language-processing apparatus as relief of short-term memory. If this is so, one is tempted to establish a relation to another characteristic property of the noun phrase. Its left part including the positions of the determiner, the adjective and the head noun, forms a block whose parts are highly interconnected by syntagmatic relations. The head noun governs the gender of the determiner and the adjective and agrees with both in number and case. Therefore many grammars speak...

Notion Of Language

Molecular Grammars The basic question is how a computer program can judge if a sentence is grammatically correct or not. Chomsky proposed the mathematical concept of grammar to formalize this question (Chomsky 1963). At first, there is a mechanism (rules) which produces sentences (sets of words for natural language or sequence of symbols for biological problems). We can now wonder if a given sentence can be produced by the set rules. So, this kind of grammar consists of a list of symbols and rules of transformation. In the case of the analysis of sequences, we wonder if it comes from a given grammar, that is from given rules of production. Parsing refers to grammatical analysis, to the action of searching for a derivation of the sequence from the grammar. There is also an alignment between the sequence and the grammar. In practice, Chomsky has defined four types of grammars - regular grammars - context-free grammars - context- sensitive grammars - unrestricted grammars ('Turing's...

Dialect Speakers

A dialect refers to any variety of language that is shared by a group of speakers. It is not possible to speak a language without also speaking a dialect (Wolfram and Schilling-Estes, 1998). Although all dialects of a language are equally systematic and complex, on a social level, dialects are often described as falling on a continuum of standardness. The most standard dialect of a language generally reflects an idealized prestige form that is rarely spoken by anyone in practice. Rules for producing this standard, however, can be found in formal grammar guides and dictionaries. Versions of the standard can also be found in formal texts that have been written by established writers. Next in standardness are a number of formal and informal oral dialects. These dialects reflect the language patterns of actual speakers. Norms of acceptability for these dialects vary as a function of the regional and social characteristics of different communities and of different speakers within these...


In linguistics, an early and influential framework for analyzing narrative structure was provided by Labov and Waletzky (1967) and extended in Labov's later work (1972). The model is organized around the role of sentential grammar in discourse-level structure. In this framework, the verbal sequence of clauses is matched to the sequence of events that occurred, as the means by which past experience is recapitulated in the narrative. The overall structure of the narrative progresses from orientation to complicating action to resolution. An additional component of the overall structure is evaluation, which is expressed through a wide range of lexico-grammatical devices. Thus, this work established a fundamental approach to analyzing how an event sequence is realized in linguistic form. Contemporary adaptations of this seminal approach to narrative analysis are numerous (Bamberg, 1997).

Patricia K Kuhl

ABSTRACT How does one individual acquire a specific language Is it appropriate to call it learning in the traditional sense Historically, two dramatically opposed views formed the cornerstones of the debate on language. In one view, a universal grammar and phonology are innately provided and input serves to trigger the appropriate version. In the other view, no innate knowledge is provided and language is acquired through a process of external feedback and reinforcement. Both theories are based on assumptions about the nature of language input to the child and the nature of the developmental change induced by input. New data reviewed here, showing the effects of early language experience on infants, suggest a theoretical revision. By one year of age, prior to the time infants begin to master higher levels of language, infants' perceptual and perceptual-motor systems have been altered by linguistic experience. Phonetic perception has changed dramatically to conform to the...

Text Mining

Once the names have been identified, the task is to determine the meaning of the sentence in which the names appear. This determination can be made by use of domain-specific grammar that is, words and phrases that are commonly used in specific fields. In protein science, for example, such words and phrases could be substrate is, activity is, interacts with, is phos-phorylated by, is involved in, and binds to. Computational linguistics techniques can be quite effective. On the other hand, a domain-based grammar is very promising in the biosciences because of the nature of the text itself, which is less ambiguous than general text. The two approaches can, therefore, be combined, and such a combination is being applied extensively to the discovery of protein-protein relationships. Worldwide initiatives are underway to blindly evaluate the performance of these methods and provide an updated assessment of their reliability.

Further Readings

Assessing the grammar of Spanish-speaking children A comparison of two procedures. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in the Schools, 27, 333-344. Perez-Leroux, A. T., and Glass, W. R. (1997). Contemporary perspectives on the acquisition of Spanish Developing grammars. Somerville, MA Cascadilla Press.

Fruit Flies

Displaced into the fruit fly and dressed as science, the genetic basis of a behavior interpreted as homosexual (and hence fruitless ) turns out to be an inversion, probably not uncoincidentally the same term used by late-nineteenth-century sexologists to understand mechanisms of homosexuality. Havelock Ellis, for example, saw homosexuals as beings whose genders and desires were inverted in relation to their bodies male homosexuals were women in men's bodies, and lesbians were men in female bodies. Hall's investigation turns sexuality into a kind of DNA grammar, composed of behavioral components such as a failure to copulate, chaining with other males, and an ability to stimulate courtship in other males that has literally been inserted backward. Genetic science ratifies Ellis's sex-gender logic.


Grammar generates elegance in communication. It is a powerful system that is critical for reducing mistakes in the transmission of knowledge (Nowak & Krakauer, 2000). It facilitates the maintenance of large numbers of social relationships and provides an efficient means to communicate feedback about potentially threatening events that are remote in time and space (Dunbar, 1993). However, evidence from aphasia, deafness, and the development of naming and categorization converges to demonstrate that reasoning can occur largely independently from grammar. These findings reflect the emergence of knowledge about, and attention to, how language is used in social context. Language does permit the user to entertain propositions about the mental and physical world but its role involves the ability to make sense of communicative intentions and goes beyond competence in grammar. Whereas grammar has been seen as the driver of human reasoning (Bickerton, 1995), our account sees grammar as...


It has sometimes been the case that deaf children fall behind their hearing counterparts in reading and writing skills (Holt et al., 1992, in Ralston & Israel, 1995). Some older research has indicated that the average reading age of an 18-19-year-old deaf student fits that of an 8-9-year-old hearing student (Paul, 1998,2003 Traxler, 2000). This may be due to the learning environment within which the deaf person was taught, or may be because English is the second language (with signed language as the preferred language thus using a different grammar and sentence construction). It is possible therefore that some deaf adults have difficulty in reading forms or questionnaires and written instruction. It is important not to assume that these difficulties are due to any problems with intellect. More recent research from Europe has suggested that deaf children who have deaf parents are more likely to have better educational achievement than deaf children with hearing parents (Kramer, 2005)....

Form and Content

Nevertheless, there are some hints of sexual ornamentation in the human voice's pitch and timbre, the size of our vocabularies, the complexity of our grammar, and the narrative conventions of storytelling. For example, adult human males have deeper voices than children or women, which may reflect female choice favoring a low-pitched voice as an indicator of large male body size. (A deep voice does not have to correlate perfectly with large body size in order to work as an indicator.) Female frogs prefer lower-pitched male frog calls, and women generally find the deep, resonant voice of Isaac Hayes more sexually attractive than those of the Vienna Boys' Choir. Even in the television show South Park, the sexual charisma of Hayes's voice shows through in his school chef character, who, despite his low job status, credibly says lines indicative of sexual desirability, like Damn, woman, I just gave you sweet lovin' five minutes ago On the other hand, low pitch could also have evolved...

The Myth Of Learning

Return to the example of language The more scientists study language, the more they realize that hugely important aspects of it, such as grammar and the desire to speak in the first place, are not learned by imitation at all. Children simply develop language. Now this might seem crazy because a child reared in isolation would not, as James I of England hoped he might, simply grow up to speak Hebrew. How could he Children must learn the vocabulary and the particular rules of inflection and syntax specific to their language. True, but almost all linguists now agree with Noam Chomsky that there is a deep structure that is universal to all languages and that is programmed into the brain rather than learned Thus, the reason all grammars conform to a similar deep structure (for example, they use either word order or inflection to signify whether a noun is object or subject) is that all brains have the same language organ. Children plainly have a language organ in their brains ready and...

The Mental Program

The alternative to connectionism, and to behaviorism before it, was the cognitive approach, which set out to discover the mind s internal mechanisms. This first flowered with Noam Chomsky 's assertions in Syntactic Structures, a book published in 1957, that general-purpose association-learning devices simply could not solve the problem of inferring the rules of grammar from speech It needed a mechanism equipped with knowledge about what to look for Linguists gradually came to accept Chomsky s argument Those studying human vision, meanwhile, found it fruitful to pursue the computational approach advocated by David Marr, a young British scientist at MIT Marr and Tomaso Poggio systematically laid bare the mathematical tricks that the brain was using to recognize solid objects in the image formed in the eye. For example, the retina of the eye is wired in such a way as to be especially sensitive to edges between contrasting dark and light parts of an image optical illusions prove that...

The mind problem

Without a theory of the mind it is impossible to explain how a language is learned, and we must conclude that a child has an inborn mind, a set of mental rules and mental objects which allow him to interact with the external world. It is known, furthermore, that a child can learn any language whatsoever, and this means that the inborn mind must contain a set of rules which apply to all languages, a set that Noam Chomsky (1965, 1972) has called universal grammar. This classic contrast between nature and nurture, between heredity and environment, between genotype and phenotype, has also dominated the theories of language, and the recent discovery of inborn mental rules appears to have suggested a sort of compromise solution up to the moment of birth mental development is under genetic control, while after birth it becomes dependent upon environmental stimuli. With the terminology that has been adopted today, the universal grammar would be determined by the genes, whereas the individual...


The research and theoretical ideas described in this book take as their fundamental premise that the mind is tuned to the world in certain ways, ways that no doubt come down to us through eons of evolution. Elsewhere I have discussed some of the ways this tuning manifests itself in what David Marr and others have called natural constraints. The principle also appears in many other domains, where it shows up as the capacity to compute certain functions that would be logically impossible as described were it not for certain innate structures that allow a special sort of approximation to the ideal function. The approximation is more than a rough guess or heuristic It is a function that in our sort of world will be very near the ideal function. The standard example in vision is the process of reversing the mapping from the 3-D distal world to 2-D proximal images so as to permit the recovery of 3-D shape. In that case not only does the visual system use additional cues based on contour,...


There are many national variants of English, differing primarily in pronunciation and less so in grammar and spelling. British English has a standard that originated in the London dialect area, but has now become a sociolect, associated with the educated upper classes and often heard on radio and television.


The English of deaf children also exhibits characteristic syntactic problems. For example, tense markers on the verb and many other grammatical morphemes and function words (e.g., articles a and the, or copula and auxiliary verbs) are inconsistently provided or missing from most deaf children's spoken or signed English when they reach the early grades of formal schooling. These aspects of English grammar continue to provide great difficulty for deaf children during the school years (Quigley and King, 1980 de Villiers, 1988). In the terms of generative grammar (Radford, 1990 Leonard, 1995), the functional categories Inflectional Phrase (IP) and Determiner Phrase (DP), which host the marking of tense for verbs and specification for nouns, may be incompletely specified in the grammar of deaf children. If so, one might expect problems also with a final functional category that structures the embedding of clauses, the Complementizer Phrase (CP) (de Villiers, de Villiers, and Hoban, 1994)....

Brief Summary

The scientific study of mental development has produced two outstanding discoveries. One is that there is an enormous gap between inputs and outputs (the so-called poverty of the stimulus), because children receive only very limited and erratic inputs of words in their learning period, and yet in the end they come up with a complete set of rules. The second is that children are predisposed to learn any language whatsoever, and so must develop, at some stage, a common inborn mind, a set of general rules that Noam Chomsky (1965) called universal grammar. So far, these discoveries have not been properly explained, probably because they have only been interpreted with ad The poverty of the stimulus is only another way of saying that mental structures are reconstructions from incomplete information, i.e. that they are the result of epigenetic processes. The universal grammar, on the other hand, is a structure that appears in human development from a certain point onwards, and which remains...

Verbal Courtship

Much of human courtship is verbal courtship boy meets girl usually means boy and girl talk. At every stage of courtship, language is displayed, and language is subject to mate choice. Teenagers agonize over the words they will use when they telephone someone to ask for a date. Stuttering, sudden changes in voice pitch, awkward grammar, poor word choice, and uninteresting content are usually considered such fatal errors by their perpetrators that they often hang up in shame, assuming that they will remain sexual failures forever. Things are not so different a little later in life. Adults in singles bars nervously rehearse their pickup lines, and mentally outline their conversational gambits.

The brain code

Although each human being has his or her own slightly idiosyncratic usage and connotations for words as a function of personal experience, a word lexicon is learned in a social setting so that any given word has a more-or-less agreed upon conventional meaning. Grammar has a similar conventional basis. The transformational grammar advocated by Chomsky (1965), or some variation on it, may unite the structural principles of all human languages at an abstract level, but, however that debate may be resolved, there is general agreement that a conventional lexicon plus a conventional grammar allow for meaningful communication between human beings. Brain implementations remain uncertain, but there is in principle nothing mysterious about how lexicons, word associations and simple grammars can be used together to produce language or how those processes might be instantiated using neurons. Indeed, a simplified vocabulary and grammar have been taught to monkeys and parrots -who are then able to...

Wernickes area 329

Despite fluent speech, internal speech is impaired because of impaired comprehension, and speech content includes many errors in word selection and grammar. Writing is also impaired, and spoken or written commands are not understood. Wernicke's aphasia is associated with difficulty in accessing the meaning of words such as nouns.

Complex Syntax

Pidgin grammars tend to be shallow with no syntactic devices for subordination or embedding. They generally use no formal marking to indicate that one part of an utterance is subordinate to another. Distinctive marking of structures such as relative clauses comes later in the stabilization or expansion Bickerton (1981 62-3, 291-2) suggests that deletion was the 'original' strategy of relativization for pidgin and Creoles. There is some support for that hypothesis intuitively in that pidgins have little room for redundancy. They favour production strategies. Bickerton's explanation for the lack of relatives is structural, but he goes on to emphasize that such a grammar without overt relative markers does not necessarily satisfy functional considerations such as ease of processing. If the lack of surface relativizers poses processing problems, then over time there would be pressure to adopt explicit marking of relative clauses, particularly in subject position. Bickerton found that...

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