This chapter focuses on the question of how children acquire mastery of their first language, with particular emphasis on the development of syntactic and semantic knowledge. With respect to the development of syntactic knowledge there has been much heated debate surrounding the respective roles of learning and innate language-specific knowledge. I survey this debate before turning to the issue of how children come to know which words belong to their language and what those words mean. I argue that although learning plays an important role in vocabulary development, such learning is possible only because we have a battery of abstract concepts and an associated metaphysical perspective on the world that is part of our innate endowment.
Cain, Mark J.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of History, Philosophy and Culture
Year of publication: 2018Date of RADAR deposit: 2019-05-17