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The Comparative Method of Language Acquisition Research$
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Clifton Pye

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226481289

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226481319.001.0001

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A History of Crosslinguistic Research on Language Acquisition

A History of Crosslinguistic Research on Language Acquisition

(p.30) Chapter Two A History of Crosslinguistic Research on Language Acquisition
The Comparative Method of Language Acquisition Research

Clifton Pye

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the history of crosslinguistic research on language acquisition as well as the limitations of the traditional concept of crosslinguistic research. It examines three phases of crosslinguistic research on language acquisition: the period of single language studies, the search for language universals, and the emergence of the parameter theory. The first phase began with researchers focusing on children acquiring single languages in order to identify a genetic basis for human language acquisition. The second phase started with the notion that children begin with a universal language acquisition device. The third phase began with the realization that children might begin acquiring language with different parameter settings and thus display early differences between languages. The chapter also considers crosslinguistic surveys as an important component of crosslinguistic research, how children acquire polysynthesis, and how the results of crosslinguistic studies can be used to build a comprehensive description of language acquisition.

Keywords:   crosslinguistic research, language acquisition, language universals, parameter theory, children, single languages, crosslinguistic surveys, polysynthesis

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