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A DESCRIPTIVE METHOD FOR CHILD LANGUAGE DISABILITY: THE FORMAL SEMANTICS, LOGIC, AND SYNTAX OF SMALL LANGUAGES

STAN KULIKOWSKI, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Abstract

This is a case study of the language abilities of five people. They each present a different problem for methods of analytic description and grammar construction. The major goal is to present a formal treatment of language disability, but some formal improvements in early child language are necessary along the way. The basic data are complete verbatim transcripts in most of the case studies. Four transcript samples of a young girl, aged 23 months, are presented to study the developments over a month of early syntactical phrase structures. The stable abilities of four adolescents are studied: one to illustrate details of transcriptional method; another to represent a language delay; another for a simple disorder; and the last may be a complex disorder or perhaps a language deviation.^ The formalization of early child language and disabilities given herein primarily concerns the relationship between syntax and semantics. The lack of formal pragmatics is noted, although a few involvements with intensional logic and specified set-theoretical models are suggested. The grammatical analysis is defined upon an arbitrary artificial language, and two fragmentary samples from published literature also are given to illustrate the earlier formal treatments with pivot grammar and also transformational phrase structure.^ Like these earlier formal treatments, this study attempts to place empirical data within a systematic theoretical structure. In the manner of scientific advancements, this descriptive method accounts for all of the data which were the basis for the earlier formal treatments; provides a principled description for previous systematic counterexamples; and introduces new phenomena which were unobserved or even denied before this research. The integration between context-free phrase structure and model-theoretical semantics in generative grammar is found to be well-principled on the grounds of application to early child language and disability. ^

Subject Area

Special education

Recommended Citation

KULIKOWSKI, STAN, "A DESCRIPTIVE METHOD FOR CHILD LANGUAGE DISABILITY: THE FORMAL SEMANTICS, LOGIC, AND SYNTAX OF SMALL LANGUAGES" (1980). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI8101351.
http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations/AAI8101351

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