Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 13


Chapter I
A. Background
Syntax and semantics both work at sentence level. Syntax has to do with the
form and order of words within the sentence. Semantics has to do with the meaning.
Syntax is language dependent, whereas the semantics remains the same if the same
sentence were expressed in another language. (I hope the generalizations that I have
made, and the short-cuts I have taken, are forgivable)
Acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to
perceive, produce and use words to understand and communicate. This capacity
involves the picking up of diverse capacities including syntax, phonetics, and an
extensive vocabulary. This language might be vocal as with speech or manual as in
sign. Before children put together their first two-word sentences, at very
approximately 18 months of age, their language acquisition appears, in terms of
what strikes the investigators ear, to consist mainly in amassing a stock of words.
The period from the childs first word, at very approximately 9 months, to the first
sentences is then a conveniently delimited one for an essay on early vocabulary.
The capacity to acquire and use language is a key aspect that distinguishes
humans from other organisms. While many forms of animal communication exist,
they have a limited range of no syntactically structured vocabulary tokens that lack
cross cultural variation between groups.
A major concern in understanding language acquisition is how these
capacities are picked up by infants from what appears to be very little input. A
range of theories of language acquisition has been created in order to explain this
apparent problem including innatism in which a child is born prepared in some
manner with these capacities, as opposed to the other theories in which language is
simply learned.
Generative grammar, associated especially with the work of Noam
Chomsky, is currently one of the principal approaches to children's acquisition of
syntax. The leading idea is that human biology imposes narrow constraints on the
child's "hypothesis space" during language acquisition. In the Principles and

Parameters Framework, which has dominated generative syntax since Chomsky's
(1980) Lectures on Government and Binding, the acquisition of syntax resembles
ordering from a menu: The human brain comes equipped with a limited set of
choices, and the child selects the correct options using her parents' speech, in
combination with the context.
An important argument in favor of the generative approach is the Poverty of the
stimulus argument. The child's input (a finite number of sentences encountered by
the child, together with information about the context in which they were uttered) is
in principle compatible with an infinite number of conceivable grammars.
Moreover, few if any children can rely on corrective feedback from adults when
they make a grammatical error. Yet, barring situations of medical abnormality or
extreme privation, all the children in a given speech-community converge on very
much the same grammar by the age of about five years. Especially dramatic
examples is provided by children who for medical reasons are unable to produce
speech, and therefore can literally never be corrected for a grammatical error, yet
nonetheless converge on the same grammar as their typically developing peers,
according to comprehension-based tests of grammar.
Considerations such as these have led Chomsky, Jerry Fodor, Eric Lenneberg and
others to argue that the types of grammar that the child needs to consider must be
narrowly constrained by human biology (the nativist position). These innate
constraints are sometimes referred to as universal grammar, the human "language
faculty," or the "language instinct."

B. Problem Formulation
1. How do we get the acquisition of Syntax?
2. How do we get the acquisition of Semantics?
3. What are avoiding errors: innate constraints versus conservatism?
C. The Purpose of Writing
1. To know about the acquisition of Syntax
2. To know about the acquisition of Semantics
3. To know about avoiding errors: innate constraints versus conservatism?


D. Significance of Writing
Significance in this paper will be discus about what the most important
about this subject. Syntax has to do with the form and order of words within the
sentence. Semantics has to do with the meaning. Syntax is language dependent,
whereas the semantics remains the same if the same sentence were expressed in
another language. Acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity
to perceive, produce and use words to understand and communicate. This capacity
involves the picking up of diverse capacities including syntax, phonetics, and an
extensive vocabulary. So when some people try to understand this mindset must be
in their mind first, because if they already know about this well, they will more
easier to understand.


Chapter II

A. Syntax
Children eventually acquire all the phonological, syntactic, and semantic
rules of the grammar. Not only are very young children more successful at this task
than the most brilliant linguist, their grammars, at each stage, are highly similar, and
deviate from the adult grammar in highly specific constrained ways.
To account for the ability of children to construct the complex syntactic
rules of their grammar, it has been suggested that the childs grammar is
semantically based. This view holds that the childs early language does not make
reference to syntactic categories and relations (noun, noun phrase, verb, verb
phrase, subject, object, and so on) but rather solely to semantic roles (such as agent
or theme). The examples of the language of Italian-speaking children of about two
years old studied by Nina Hyams cited in the examples earlier, however, show that
this cannot be the case: their utterances can only be explained by reference t
syntactic categories and relations.
As discussed above, Italian children at a very early age inflect the verb to
agree in person and number with the subject. We repeat two of the examples here.
1. Tuloggiillibro You read (2
-person singular) the bookTurns (3
person singular) the balloon. (The balloon turns)
Subject-verb agreement cannot be semantically based, because the subject is
an agent in utterance (1) but not it (2). Instead, agreement must be based on
whatever noun phrase is the subject, a syntactic relationship.
Hyams upholds this position by reference to other kinds of agreement as
well, such as the modifier-noun agreement also illustrated earlier. There is nothing
intrinsically masculine or feminine about the nouns that are marked for such
grammatical gender. But children produce the correct forms based on the syntactic
classification of these nouns.
Children learning other languages with similar agreement rules, such as
Russian, Polish, or Turkeys, show this same ability to discover the structure of their

language. Their grammars from an early stage reveal their knowledge of the kinds
of structure dependencies.
In the discussion on telegraphic speech we noted that, at this stage,
childrens utterances consist mainly of content words from the major classes of
nouns, verbs, and adjectives and do not include grammatical morphemes-
freestanding words or bound inflections. In the course of syntactic development
these categories will develop.
It is interesting that the utterances that are produced with these categories
missing are all possible in some human language. English-speaking children
produce subject less sentences such as See ball, which corresponds to the
grammatical sentence in Italian Vedo la palla. Sentences without the copula verb be
also are produced and such sentences are common in the adult language in Russian
and Hebrew. Languages such as Japanese and Chinese do not have articles; Italian
permits an article and a possessive pronoun in a noun phrase, which is not permitted
in English- Il miolibro but *The my book. We see that even the deviant sentences
produced by children are within the range of what could be a human language; at an
early stage of development, the children have not yet discovered which sentences
are and are not grammatical in the language they are acquiring. This parallels the
fact that in the babbling stage children produce sounds that are possible speech
sounds and must learn which sounds are in and which are out of their language.
Just as human adult languages are governed by universal characteristics, we
see the childs grammar, while differing from the adult grammar in very specific
ways, also follows universal principles

B. Semantics
Semantics is a branch of linguistics dealing with the meaning of words,
phrases and sentences, however, contrary to pragmatics it does not analyze the
intended speaker meaning, or what words denote on a given occasion, but the
objective, conventional meaning. Additionally, it is concerned with the conceptual
meaning and not the associative meaning. The conceptual meaning is what a word
in fact denotes, as for example Friday the 13 th is a day between Thursday the 12 th
and Saturday the 14 th, and that is the conceptual meaning of the phrase Friday the

13 th. Yet, for many people the idea of that day brings to mind thoughts of bad luck
and misfortune, which is the associative meaning.
The meaning of words is analyzed in several different ways in order to
account for as many aspects of meaning as possible. First of all, words are analyzed
in terms of their semantic features that is basic elements which enable the
differentiation of meaning of words. Apart from the semantic features of words also
semantic roles (sometimes called thematic roles) are examined.
Semantic roles describe the way in which words are used in sentences and
the functions they fulfill. Thus, the entity that performs an action is known as an
agent, while the entity involved in an action is called the theme (or patient). When
an agent uses an entity in order to do something this entity is called an instrument.
However, when a person in a sentence does not perform any action, but only has a
perception, state of feeling then the role is described as experiencer.
Finally there are roles connected with motion or position of entities. So, the
location is where an entity is, the source is the initial position of the entity, the place
where it moves from and the goal is where the entity moves to.

Semantics refers to the knowledge and comprehension of words. Semantic
skills may be measured by various receptive vocabulary tests. However, semantics
is a broader concept than merely words in the sentence. Compare the sentences
1. I went home and died after the party.
2. Her father died last week.
Obviously, the meaning of the word died changed to reflect the context. As
this example illustrates, it is often difficult to entirely separate semantics from the
next level of languagesyntax. Syntax refers to the formal relationships between
words in phrases or sentences. Examples of such relationships are the subject/verb
relationship and the relationship between the verb and the direct object.


C. Avoiding errors: innate constraints versus conservatism
1. Constraint on reference.

Another distinguishing feature of the two approaches to language
development is how they explain the kinds of sentences children refrain from
producing, and the kinds of meanings that children do not assign to sentences.
One case in point is the reference of ordinary pronouns. Notice that in the
examples in (9) and (10), the pronoun he may or may not refer to the individual
called the Ninja Turtle. To indicate these dual referential possibilities, we will
adopt the following notation: two expressions refer to the same individual(s)
only if they have the same index. So, (9) and (10) are ambiguous, because the
pronoun he can have the same index as the Ninja Turtle (1), but one of these
expressions can also be assigned an index 2 which the other expression lacks;
in that case, the two expression are said to be disjoint in reference or non-

He danced while the Ninja
Turtle ate pizza. (a) He
danced while the
Ninja Turtle
ate pizza (b) *He
while the Ninja Turtle
ate pizza

There are two ways of describing the possibilities for referential
interpretations of pronouns. Each of these options has been taken by one of the
two approaches to language development. One way is to list the various
possibilities for coreference. This is the strategy taken by the experience-
dependent approach. Adopting this strategy, the list includes some way of
representing the positive instances of coreference between pronouns and other
expressions, so examples like (9) and (10) would be represented (somehow) in
the list. Nothing would be said about the case, because this is not an instance
of coreference.

The alternative strategy is to formulate a negative principle
representing those
cases in which coreference is prohibited. Nothing is said about any of
other case. On grounds of parsimony, Lasnik (1976) argued for the
second strategy, because the list of cases where coreference is possible adds
up to a huge inventory of linguistic representations, whereas a single
generalization can explain mandatory non-coreference, with cases of
coreference left open. Negative linguistic principles are known as
constraints. So a constraint prevents coreference between pronouns and
referring expressions in sentences.

2. constraint on contraction.
Another example of a constraint governs where contraction may and
may not occur. In English, this constraint prevents the verbal elements want
and to to be contracted to form wanna in certain kinds of sentences, although
wanna-contraction is permitted most of the time. Examples (18)-(21) illustrate
permissible contractions. Example (22a) illustrates an impermissible


Who does Arnold wanna make breakfast
for? Who does Arnold want to make breakfast




Does Arnold wanna make breakfast for
Maria? Does Arnold want to make breakfast for



Why does Arnold wanna make breakfast?
Why does Arnold want to make breakfast?



I dont wanna make breakfast for Arnold or


I dont want to make breakfast for Arnold or




*Who does Arnold wanna make
breakfast? Who does Arnold want to make

All of the questions in these example begin with wh-words (who, what,
why, where, even how) and will be called wh-questions. According to a
standard account of wanna- contraction, wh-questions are formed by
movement of a wh-phrase from one position at an underlying level of
representation to another position, on the surface, where it is pronounced. A
further assumption of the account is that a record, which we abbreviate as t
(for trace ), is left behind at the site of the origin of the wh-movement. In
(23) the wh-phrase originates in the subject position of the embedded
infinitival clause want t to kiss Bill. When the wh-phrase starts out between
want and to, as in (16), the trace left behind by wh-movement blocks the
contraction of want and to. This explains why
(23b) is ruled out. The same account explains the unacceptability of

Who do you want
t to kiss Bill?
*Who do you
wanna kiss Bill?

By contrast, in (24), the formation of the wh-question requires the
movement of the wh- phrase from the object position of the embedded
infinitival clause. In that case, the
trace does not intervene between want and to, so wanna-
contraction is permitted.

Who do you
want to kiss t ?
Who do you
wanna kiss t ?

These facts invite the following generalization: Contraction of the
verbal elements want
and to is blocked if the trace of wh-movement intervenes between
them. In
declaratives, the constraint on contraction is irrelevant, so
contraction is tolerated.


A. Conclusion
We have received what is known about early syntax from the
perspective of what it is that the child must do in order to make the kinds of
developmental shifts that have been observed. This contrasts with views of the
childs achievements as a series of stages that deviate in decreasing ways from
the goal of adult grammar. We have traced the emergence of early word
combinations out of an initial stage of item learning during which a critical
number of linguistic units is memorized. Pre-syntactic devices serve in
various ways to ease the transitions from one unit to two and from two to
more. The evidence is that the childs basis for making early word
combinations has a strong semantic component; how soon there is a formal
syntactic basis as well is still an open question. The transition to three or more
units is distinguished from the earlier one by the new possibility for
developing hierarchical organization of constituents, although we do not yet
know just when such hierarchical are needed or discovered by the child.
Throughout this period, at least up to MLU 2.5, individual differences in
preferences for particular processing strategies can make the syntactic
development of one child seem quite different from that of another.

B. Suggestion
Based on the explanation above the suggestion of this paper is, as we
know that Syntax and Semantic is very important in daily life so that I
suggest to you as the readers learn about Syntax and Semantic because
they have many advantages specially in education.