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Selected Books by Edmund Blair Bolles

  • Galileo's Commandment: 2500 Years of Great Science Writing
  • The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age
  • Einstein Defiant: Genius vs Genius in the Quantum Revolution

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Comments

Raymond Weitzman

"So, instead of having to learn the subject-object-verb order and use of postpositions separately, a Japanese child might notice the SOV word order and bring postposition into the system automatically."

This seems to me to be just another just-so story. The kind of utterances a Japanese child will hear includes some with SOV order, some with postpositions, and some with a mixture of both. It makes no sense to say that postpositions are brought in the the system (what system?) automatically (by what mechanism(s)?) I might point out that postpositions are often left out as well as subjects in ordinary conversation. Also the sentence isn't the only grammatical unit used. Sometimes people just use single words or phrases.

Instead of speculating, wouldn't it better to just look at the data on the process of language learning by Japanese children?
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BLOGGER: Since Ii end up rejecting this hypothesis the comment seems a l ittle overexcited.

Uzza

It's difficult to see how any parent could accept the assumption that children “learn their mother tongue with little apparent effort”. A comparative like 'little' is meaningless without a standard of comparison, which in this case has to be an adult learner. For such to learn a category IV language, the hardest, is estimated to take 2000 hours. Watching me write this is a typical 2yo, who virtually never shuts up, and undoubtedly racks up that much in a year, and the typical rate of two hours a day isn't even a shadow of the work he puts in. Effortless? The theories can more easily explain a problem if it exists.

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