Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Competence and performance in child language: are children really competent to judge?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 September 2008


Jill G. De Villiers
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology and Social Relations, Harvard University
Peter A. De Villiers
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology and Social Relations, Harvard University

Abstract

The notion of competence as it applies to child language is critically assessed in the light of evidence collected from a number of linguistic performances which share the same word-order rule. These performances – production, comprehension, judgment and correction – parallel Moravcsik's (1969) formulation of Chomsky's criteria for tacit knowledge of a rule, i.e. competence. It was found that these criteria are not all satisfied until the child is four or five years old, as the performances appear at very different points in time. Alternative criteria for tacit knowledge are suggested, with specific models of each performance replacing a general model of competence for early child speech.


Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1974

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

Bever, T. G. (1970). The cognitive basis for linguistic structures. In Hayes, J. R. (ed.), Cognition and the development of language. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
Bever, T. G., Mehler, J. H. & Valian, V. V. (in press). Linguistic capacity of very young children. In Bever, T. G. & Weksel, W. (eds), The acquisition of structure. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
Bloom, L. (1970). Language development: form and function in emerging grammars. Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T.Google Scholar
Bowerman, M. F. (1970). Learning to talk: a cross-linguistic study of early syntactic development, with special reference to Finnish. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University. (Published as Early syntactic development: a cross-linguistic study with special reference to Finnish. London: C.U.P., 1973.)Google Scholar
Braine, M. (1970). The acquisition of language in infant and child. In Reed, C. (ed.), The learning of language: essays in honor of David Russell. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
Brown, R. W. (1973). A first language: the early stages. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brown, R. W., Cazden, C. & Bellugi, U. (1968). The child's grammar from I to III. In Hill, J. P. (ed.), Minnesota symposium on child psychology. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
Brown, R. W., Fraser, C. & Bellugi, U. (1964). Explorations in grammar evaluation. In Bellugi, U. & Brown, R. W. (eds), The acquisition of language. Monogr. Soc. Res. Child Devel. 29.Google ScholarPubMed
Burling, R. (1959). Language development of a Garo and English-speaking child. Word 15. 4568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cazden, C. (1968). The acquisition of noun and verb inflections. ChD 39. 433–48.Google ScholarPubMed
Chomsky, N. A. (1964). Discussion of paper by Miller & Ervin. In Bellugi, U. & Brown, R. W. (eds), The acquisition of language. Monogr. Soc. Res. Child Devel. 29.Google Scholar
Chomsky, N. A. (1965). Aspects of the theory of syntax. Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T.Google Scholar
de Villiers, P. A. & de Villiers, J. G. (1972). Early judgments of semantic and syntactic acceptability by children. JPsychRes 1. 299310.Google ScholarPubMed
de Villiers, J. G. & de Villiers, P. A. (1973). A cross-sectional study of the acquisition of grammatical morphemes. JPsychRes 2. 267–78.Google ScholarPubMed
de Villiers, J. G. & de Villiers, P. A. (in press). Development of the use of word order in comprehension. JPsychResGoogle Scholar
Ervin, S. (1964). Imitation and structural change in children's language. In Lennenberg, E. H. (ed.), New directions in the study of language. Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T.Google Scholar
Fodor, J. A. (1968). The appeal to tacit knowledge in psychological explanation. JPhilos 65. 627–40.Google Scholar
Fodor, J. A. (1972). Some reflections on L. S. Vygotsky's Thought and Language. Cognition 1. 8397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fraser, C., Bellugi, U. & Brown, R. W. (1963). Control of grammar in imitation, comprehension and production. JVLVB 2. 122–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gleitman, L. R., Gleitman, H. & Shipley, E. F. (1972). The emergence of the child as grammarian. Cognition 1. 137–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grandy, R. E. (1973). Grammatical knowledge and states of mind. Behaviorism 1. 1623.Google Scholar
Lovell, K. & Dixon, E. M. (1965). The growth and control of grammars in imitation, comprehension and production. JChPsycholPyschiat. 5. 19.Google Scholar
McNeill, D. (1970). The acquisition of language. New York and London: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
Menyuk, P. (1969). Sentences children use. Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T.Google Scholar
Miller, W. & Ervin, S. (1964). The development of grammar in child language. In Bellugi, U. & Brown, R. W. (eds), The acquisition of language. Monogr. Soc. Res. Child Devel. 29.Google ScholarPubMed
Moravcsik, J. M. E. (1969). Competence, creativity and innateness. Philosophical Forum 1. 407–37.Google Scholar
Schlesinger, I. M. (1971). Production of utterance and language acquisition. In Slobin, D. I. (ed.), The ontogenesis of grammar: a theoretical symposium. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
Slobin, D. I. (1973). Cognitive prerequisites for the development of grammar. In Ferguson, C. A. & Slobin, D. I. (eds), Studies of child language development. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.

Hostname: page-component-57c975d4c7-dnntx Total loading time: 0.297 Render date: 2020-11-24T08:44:33.993Z Query parameters: { "hasAccess": "0", "openAccess": "0", "isLogged": "0", "lang": "en" } Feature Flags last update: Tue Nov 24 2020 07:56:50 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time) Feature Flags: { "metrics": false, "peerReview": true, "crossMark": true, "comments": false, "relatedCommentaries": false, "subject": true, "clr": false, "languageSwitch": false }

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Competence and performance in child language: are children really competent to judge?
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Competence and performance in child language: are children really competent to judge?
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Competence and performance in child language: are children really competent to judge?
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *