The Universal Grammar Theory of First Language Acquisition with Special Focus on the Acquisition of Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian Language

Emina, Jeleskovic (2012) The Universal Grammar Theory of First Language Acquisition with Special Focus on the Acquisition of Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian Language. In: 2nd International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics (FLTAL’12), 4-6 May 2012, Sarajevo.

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Language is the differentia specifica of human species. Every human being acquires it regardless of race, sex or social status. Following the cognitive revolution of 1950s, Noam Chomsky’s theory of Universal Grammar (UG) became the foundation for the majority of research in language acquisition. The UG theory presents the language faculty as an independent, innate module of our mind. Human beings are not born as rabula rasa, but are equipped with a unique mechanism – Language Acquisition Device (LAD). Triggered by the language a child is exposed to, the LAD is activated during the critical period of child’s development. Based on the UG principles, parameters of the specific language are set in our mind. In this process, a child moves from the initial zero state (S0) at which he\she cannot verbally communicate, through gradual parameter setting, reflected in different stages (S1, S2...), reaching finally the steady state (Ss) of full language competence. This amazing journey, which every one of us has undertaken, initiated compilations of child language corpora around the world. To date, there exists no systematic child language corpus of Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (B/C/S). This has motivated me to create a corpus which will, I hope, be useful for further investigation of this topic. The corpus is a result of the research conducted in the public kindergarten institution Djeca Sarajeva (Children of Sarajevo) during which everyday interaction of children aged 2, 3, 4 and 5 was audio recorded. Transcripts of these records provide an insight into stages of B/C/S language acquisition and the process of parameter setting. This paper is based on the aforementioned research. It is interesting to observe how native speakers of B/C/S start to demonstrate their innate knowledge of structure dependency, the head-first parameter, the pro-drop parameter, the projection principle, complex AGR properties of B/C/S sentences and many other.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Language acquisition, Universal Grammar, principles, parameters
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Depositing User: Mr. IT Center Editor
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2012 12:23
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2012 12:23

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