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  1. #1
    Ever Student's Avatar
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    Children & Deep or Surface Structures

    Hello All,

    As we know children are good at copying the deep or meaning srtucture of a sentence or message and they do not imitate the surface one. I would like to know about an eight-year-old child who mimics the conversations whilst watching a movie in another language. Does she understand what the artists say? If she doesn't so, why today researchers believe that children do not copy of the surface structure? How can she distinguish the sounds produced by someone else in a foreign language?

    I would appreciate it if anyone can help me out!

  2. #2
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    Re: Children & Deep or Surface Structures

    Quote Originally Posted by taghavi View Post
    Hello All,

    As we know children are good at copying the deep or meaning srtucture of a sentence or message and they do not imitate the surface one.
    I'm not sure that we do know that. Do you have an example of exactly what you mean?

    I would like to know about an eight-year-old child who mimics the conversations whilst watching a movie in another language. Does she understand what the artists say?
    No.

    If she doesn't so, why today researchers believe that children do not copy of the surface structure?
    If they say this, they are referring to the child's own language.
    What evidence do they give for saying this?
    Child: I sawed a puppy!
    Mother: You saw a puppy?
    Child: Yes, I sawed it.
    This 3-year-old is not copying the surface grammar, but is still using a past tense form. Is that what they mean? But by age eight, a child should have proper surface structure.

    How can she distinguish the sounds produced by someone else in a foreign language?

    She can't. Is anyone saying she can?
    I would appreciate it if anyone can help me out!
    R.

  3. #3
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    Re: Children & Deep or Surface Structures

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    R.
    According to Brown "children are excellent imitators; It's a matter of understanding exactly what it is that they are imitating. Children's imitation of deep structure blocks their atention to the surface structure. As children perceive the importance of semantic level of language, they attent to a greater extent to that meaningful semantic level-the deep structure of language. They engage in deep structure imitation."
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Infact, you mean that this girl of eight imitates the surface structure without taking the meaning into consider, like any other adults who just repeat random numbers or nonsense syllables at the phonological code rather than a semantic code.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I asked how she can copy of the sound system?

  4. #4
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    Re: Children & Deep or Surface Structures

    Quote Originally Posted by taghavi View Post
    According to Brown "children are excellent imitators; It's a matter of understanding exactly what it is that they are imitating. Children's imitation of deep structure blocks their atention to the surface structure. As children perceive the importance of semantic level of language, they attent to a greater extent to that meaningful semantic level-the deep structure of language. They engage in deep structure imitation."
    At what age are the children he's talking about?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Infact, you mean that this girl of eight imitates the surface structure without taking the meaning into consideration, like any other adults who just repeat random numbers or nonsense syllables at the phonological code rather than a semantic code.
    No, by eight years old, she should be imitating (or rather she should know by now) the correct surface forms for her intended meaning.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I asked how she can copy of the sound system?
    Oh. I can't see any reason she couldn't copy the sound system of a foreign language. In that respect, she can distinguish the sounds of another language, but she won't understand them. Children who can't distinguish sounds don't learn to speak (generally).

    R.

  5. #5
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    Re: Children & Deep or Surface Structures

    -He didn't mention sth about children's ages.

    -She just listened to a sing or conversation and could pronounce correctly, however, she couldn't get what artists meant.

    - and what do you mean in the third part? she can use the sound system correctly but cannot understand. Why? Is she an unusual child?

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    Re: Children & Deep or Surface Structures

    Quote Originally Posted by Ever Student View Post
    -He didn't mention sth about children's ages.

    -She just listened to a sing or conversation and could pronounce correctly, however, she couldn't get what artists meant.

    - and what do you mean in the third part? she can use the sound system correctly but cannot understand. Why? Is she an unusual child?
    I don't think she's unusual. English kids can learn French songs without knowing the meaning.
    Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques, dormez vous.
    If you can't distinguish between sounds when you hear them, you can't learn a language (or perhaps you could learn a visual sign language). But learning the language requires more than just copying the sounds. Meanings have to be associated with strings of sounds as well.

  7. #7
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    Re: Children & Deep or Surface Structures

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I don't think she's unusual. English kids can learn French songs without knowing the meaning.
    Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques, dormez vous.
    If you can't distinguish between sounds when you hear them, you can't learn a language (or perhaps you could learn a visual sign language). But learning the language requires more than just copying the sounds. Meanings have to be associated with strings of sounds as well.
    Thanks for your help.

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