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- DescriptionEvery sentence we hear is instantly analyzed by an inner grammar; just as a prism refracts a beam of light, grammar divides a stream of sound, linking diverse strings of information to different domains of mind -- memory, vision, emotions, intentions. In The Prism of Grammar, Tom Roeper brings the abstract principles behind modern grammar to life by exploring the astonishing intricacies of child language. Adult expressions provide endless puzzles for the child to solve. The individual child's solutions ( Don't uncomfortable the cat is one example) may amuse adults but they also reveal the complexity of language and the challenges of mastering it. The tiniest utterances, says Roeper, reflect the whole mind and engage the child's free will and sense of dignity. He offers numerous and vel explorations -- many at the cutting edge of current work -- that anyone can try, even in conversation around the dinner table. They elicit how the child confronts recursion -- the heartbeat of grammar -- through endless possessives ( John's mother's friend's car ), mysterious plurals, contradictory adjectives, the marvels of ellipsis, and the deep obscurity of reference ( there it is, right here ). They are t tests of skill; they are tools for discovery and delight, t diagsis. Each chapter on acquisition begins with a commonsense look at how structures work -- moving from the simple to the complex -- and then turns to the literary and human dimensions of grammar. One important human dimension is the role of dialect in society and in the lives of children. Roeper devotes three chapters to the structure of African-American English and the challenge of responding to linguistic prejudice. Written in a lively style, accessible and gently provocative, The Prism of Grammar is for parents and teachers as well as students -- for everyone who wants to understand how children gain and use language -- and anyone interested in the social, philosophical, and ethical implications of how we see the growing mind emerge.
- Author BiographyTom Roeper, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts, has studied child language for thirty years, and is a co-author of the Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation (DELV), co-editor of Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics, and one of the founding editors of Language Acquisition. He has worked on numerous grants from National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health in the US and other national science foundations in Canada, Europe and Asia. He has lectured all over the world on these topics.
- Author(s)Tom Roeper
- PublisherMIT Press Ltd
- Date of Publication06/03/2009
- Place of PublicationMassachusetts
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintBradford Books
- Content Note50 illus.
- Weight567 g
- Width178 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine19 mm
- Foreword bySamuel Jay Keyser
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US)
- Interest AgeFrom 18
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