How does the mind operate both creatively and rapidly? Is it like a computer? How does a rule operate upon itself? There are limits to possible grammars? Is the mind itself limited in the same way? How does a child acquire grammar?
These questions lie in the background as we pursue a careful development of the rules of syntax for English. Students will learn the machinelike operation of how structures are built and altered. In addition we will look at the rules of how new lexical items are built by systematic rules of morphology. And we take a brief look at parallels in phonology and intonation.
We will investigate, step by step, how children build these structures and determine which grammar is theirs among all possible grammars. Students will be encouraged to do original searches on acquisition data available on the internet. This course aims for an in-depth study of one part of the mechanism of language and does not provide an overview or survey of the different parts of linguistics. (Gen.Ed. R2)