Noam Chomsky believes learning takes place through an innate brain mechanism. He calls this the Language Acquisition Device. To him, it is also significant tha human languages, although they might seem different, share many similarities, which he describes as universal grammar.
Alan Cruttenden compared adults and children to see if they could predict football results from listening to the scores, finding that adults could successfully predict winners by the intonation placed on the first team, but children up to age 7 were less accurate.
Jean Berko & Roger Brown found that children who referred to a plastic fish as fis, subsituting the s sound for the sh, couldn't link the adult use of 'fis' with the same object.
Katherine Nelson identified four categories for first words: Naming (things or people), actions/events, describing/modifying things, personal/social words. She found that 60% of first words were nouns (the naming group).
Eve Clarke's study of first words found that children base overextensions on the physical qualities of objects, and the features such as taste,sound,movement,shape,size and texture.
Leslie Rescorla divided overextentions into three types. Categorical overextension, analogical overextension and mismatch statements.
Jean Aitchison created some stages of children's linguistic development - Labelling,Packaging,Network-building.
Jean Berko conducted a study into children's pronunciation and morphological development. She used a picture of a 'wug' and asked what more than one wug would be called, as it was studying the use of -s plural. Three quarters of the 4 and 5 year olds formed the plural 'wugs'.