The Speaker as Listener: The Interpretation of Structural Regularities in Verbal Behavior
- 4 Downloads
Regularities in word order not specifically addressed by Skinner require behavioral interpretation if our field is to become more influential among students of language. Three such phenomena are briefly described in traditional structural terms and are offered as test cases: subtle differences in dative verbs, transformational traces, and the formation of compound nouns. It is argued that the variables that control such regularities derive from the speaker’s repertoire as listener. Intraverbal frames are established as verbal responses in the listener through reinforcement by parity. Transitions from element to element in such frames are controlled, moment to moment in time, partly by the speaker’s responses as a listener to his or her own verbal behavior. Although this account offers only a tentative interpretation of grammar and syntax in a limited domain, it suggests that the conceptual tools of behavior analysis are adequate to the task of explaining even the most subtle of grammatical rules.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Brown, R., & Hanlon, C. (1970). Derivational complexity and order of acquisition in child speech. In J. R. Hayes (Ed.), Cognition and the development of language (pp. 11–53). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Chomsky, N. (1980). Rules and representations. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- Crain, S. (1994). Language acquisition in the absence of experience. In P. Bloom (Ed.), Language acquisition: Core readings (pp. 364–409). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Donahoe, J. W., & Palmer, D. C. (1994). Learning and complex behavior. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
- Elman, J. L. (1995). Language as a dynamical system. In R. Port & R. T. Van Gelder (Eds.), Mind as machine (pp. 195–224). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Hineline, P. N. (1980). The language of behavior analysis: Its community, its functions, and its limitations. Behaviorism, 8, 67–86.Google Scholar
- Hutchison, W. R., & Stephens, K. R. (1987). Integration of distributed and symbolic knowledge representations. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Neural Networks, 2, 395–398.Google Scholar
- Pinker, S. (1989). Learnability and cognition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Skinner, B. F. (1980). Notebooks. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- Thoreau, H. D. (1984). The journal of Henry David Thoreau (Vol. 3: 1851–1852). Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith Books.Google Scholar
- Vaughan, M. E., & Michael, J. L. (1982). Automatic reinforcement: An important but ignored concept. Behaviorism, 10, 217–227.Google Scholar