Children and Adults as Language Learners: Rules, Variation, and Maturational Change

Topics in Cognitive Science 12 (1):153-169 (2020)
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Newport addresses a fundamental question in language learning: When, why, and how do learners come to form rules, given linguistic input that varies probabilistically? She presents several case studies that confirm and extend a long‐standing theme of her work: that young learners tend to form rules from variable input, whereas adult learners store and use its statistical probabilities. Thus, child and adult learners use quite different kinds of computations when learning language; the consequence is that operating on the very same input to learning results in quite different outcomes of learning.



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