Essay On Chunking

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1. Introduction
This paper will examine the use of chunking in language acquisition. To begin with, language acquisition is the process through which children acquire their first language (L1) (MacWhinney 2004: 49). This process is vastly different from second language acquisition (L2) in various ways as Brian MacWhinney argues:
First, infants who are learning language are also engaged in learning about how the world works. In comparison, L2 learners already know a great deal about the world. Second, infants are able to rely on a highly malleable brain that has not yet been committed to other tasks. Third, infants can rely on an intense system of social support from their caregivers. (MacWhinney 2004: 49)
This paper is only going to focus on chunking in L1 acquisition. It should however be noted that the usefulness of chunking in L2 has been argued by some scholars and has been proven to be fruitful in many cases (Krishnamurthy 2003: 293). From a structural point of view, this paper will first explain what chunking is form a psychological perspective, then go on to explain how this concept can be applied to languages, then examine how children use chunking for acquiring language and finally look at evidence that suggests that the use of multiword chunks exists in the acquisition of language by children.
2. Chunking:
Firstly, the process of
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Ramesh Krishnamurthy notes how for many of us "words are the most obvious unit of language" (Krishnamurthy 2003: 288). However, he immediately goes on to explain that that is impossible. Otherwise it would take us much longer to read the following sentence: "Not — — — for — — — the — — — first — — — time — — — ,— — — an — — — argument — — — had — — — broken— — — out — — —" (Rowling 1998: 7 cited in Krishnamurthy 2003: 289). Processing one word at a time is not only impractical but simply impossible. Krishnamurthy explains the
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