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The Domestication of LanguageCultural Evolution and the Uniqueness of the Human Animal$
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Daniel Cloud

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231167925

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231167925.001.0001

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Meaning, Interpretation, and Language Acquisition

Meaning, Interpretation, and Language Acquisition

(p.183) 8 Meaning, Interpretation, and Language Acquisition
The Domestication of Language

Daniel Cloud

Columbia University Press

This chapter begins by discussing the meaning of “meaning”. It then returns to the question raised at the end of Chapter 7: Is a child's acquisition of the semantic part of language assisted by human choices? Is there any weeding out or pruning of inadequate performances by the child, the parent, or both acting in concert? It shows that that there is indeed weeding and pruning, done mostly by the child, with plenty of assistance from adults or older children, whose participation in the process is indispensable. “Instruction and rehearsal” is not confined to our acquisition of modern technical languages in the formal process of education. Plenty of “instruction and rehearsal” is necessary right from the beginning in the acquisition of any first language by any human, though the early versions may involve blocks, ducks, a cloth clown, a toy bow, or a picture book.

Keywords:   meaning, language acquisition, human language, language learning, interpretation, instruction, rehearsal

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