Rule-Governed Behavior in a Syntactically Ruleless World

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1978, Vol 23(12), 1011. Reviews the book, The French Speaker's Skill with Grammatical Gender: An Example of Rule-Governed Behavior by G. R. Tucker, W. E. Lambert, and A. A. Rigault (1977). Grammatical gender is frequently a source of difficulties to students learning French as a second language. Indeed, no systematic grammatical or semantic rules allow one to attribute a given gender to certain words on the basis of fixed and learnable criteria. Nonetheless, the acquisition and use of gender does not produce any problems for native French speakers. The acquisition of French as a second language underlies this entire study. The authors aim for a simplification of the acquisition of gender skills by the nonnative speaker. All in all, this book should certainly be helpful to teachers or readers interested in the functioning of implicit rules concerning grammatical gender in French. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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