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Title: The development of the 'Subject' category in first language acquisition
Author: Uemlianin, I. A.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1994
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The concept of the 'Subject' is a central one in both formal linguistics and psychology. Formal linguistics tends to speak of 'Subject' as a purely grammatical object which has identity only in relation to that over which it predicates. Psychology on the other hand tends to consider 'the Subject' as more closely to do with notions of the 'Self' and meaningful activity. The difference of these views becomes most profound in the study of first language acquisition. This area seems to be one in which both perspectives are at a similar weakness, each displaying the drawbacks of its own mode of analysis. The rigidly fixed lexicon characteristic of formal linguistics finds the description of change problematic: psychology, which characteristically eschews 'theory' for empirical veracity can sometimes become too impressionistic to comfortably describe a tendency for systematicity. The critical review of literature which comprises Chapter 1 takes issue with the Chomskyan formal linguistic assertion that much linguistic ability including a formally defined Subject, must be innate. It is argued and demonstrated here that the assertion is not a conclusion based on well-founded empirical evidence, but is a consequence of an adherence to formal principles. Chapter 2 is rooted in an exposition of the developmental ideas of the early Soviet Psychologist Lev Vygotsky - especially in critical relationship with Jean Piaget - whose dialectical forms allow the description of a constantly changing and developing device. Beginning with a recognition that the 'Subject' of early child language does not fulfil formal linguistic criteria for Subjecthood the chapter goes on through a close interpretation of infant behaviour to explore the changing ways in which the child relates to the physical world around it, to its social environment, and to itself. The goal of this chapter is to build an image of the child's growing sense of Self - and thus to a reconstructed psychological notion of 'Subject'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available