Volume 56, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0019-0829
  • E-ISSN: 1783-1490
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Aitchison 1976 and others have argued that children acquire the syntax of their native language by 'learning surface patterns and how to manipulate them', rather than by inferring a level of underlying structure in the general sense of transformational grammar. This paper seeks to refute Aitchison's position by attempting to show that the arguments on which the conclusion is based are unsound. The original evidence (progressive aspect, full and truncated passives and WH-questions) is re-examined and some additional data adduced to support the view that children do indeed approach language expecting to find an underlying level (or levels) of structure.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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