easily imagined errors (fwd)

Sat Apr 19 22:32:56 UTC 1997

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 19 Apr 1997 17:03:16 -1246124
From: Brian MacWhinney <macw at CMU.EDU>
To: Multiple recipients of list FUNKNET <FUNKNET at LISTSERV.RICE.EDU>
Subject: easily imagined errors

The child never tries to derive questions from the corresponding
declaratives (as several previous email messages have noted).

Never never never?

  I agree that the question is how the child accesses semantic structure in
a disciplined enough way to avoid egregious errors.

This all started with Max's question about why students are not exposed
to differing linguistic theories and then given the opportunity to choose
to explore what they wanted.  We have talked/written about the necessity
of a "grammar" which describes something and how it can be written, and
if that necessitates "rules" in some form or another.  "Semantic
structure" is some form of rules, yes?  As I wrote before, I am
interested in children as witnesses in the legal system, and problems
that arise out of the child not understanding the questions, problems
involving the inability or difficulty in understanding questions or
statements -- children as young as three are "processed" in the legal
system -- There is a need to describe the "grammar" in order to help
those who engage in this (legal/justice/forensic) field -- what works,
what does not -- and please don't write that the audience will not
understand the terminology; I know that -- but to conduct the research, I
need to work with a construct.  I know we are not going to solve the
logical problem of language acquisition in email.


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