Categories of First Syntax: Be, Be+ing, and Nothingness

  • Virginia Valian
Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 16)


The goal of this paper is to explore how aspects of knowledge (competence) and use (performance) may interact both to determine the course of language acquisition and to determine the child's productions at any given point in acquisition. At the onset of language acquisition the child is limited in its competence and in its performance. That is, the child does not yet know everything she will eventually know about her language, nor is she able to perfectly use the knowledge she does have in either producing or understanding speech. The developing child has a limited performance system which must be accommodated in production and comprehension. We can assume further that different aspects of production entail different cognitive costs, such that the more limited the performance system is, the greater the need to minimize cognitive costs.


Noun Phrase American Child Lexical Item Italian Child Verb Phrase 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

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  • Virginia Valian

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