Music and language cognition compared I: Acquisition

Aaron L. Berkowitz

in The Improvising Mind

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199590957
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594595 | DOI:
Music and language cognition compared I: Acquisition

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The study of musical improvisation and how musicians acquire this skill allows for a comparison with language acquisition from the perspectives of both perceptual and productive competence. This chapter describes musical knowledge and how it is acquired, comparing this knowledge and its acquisition with the knowledge base in language and how it is developed. Elements of the linguistic knowledge base are described (phonology, morphology, semantics, syntax, pragmatics), and musical analogues of these elements are sought. Following this, learning to improvise is discussed in the context of theories of language acquisition, drawing on the data regarding improvisation pedagogy and learning discussed in the previous chapters. A constructivist, cognitive-functional, usage-based approach to learning to improvise is proposed, drawing on the theoretical framework proposed by Michael Tomasello for language acquisition.

Keywords: musical learning; language acquisition; musical competence; constructivist linguistics; usage-based linguistics; music-language comparisons; Michael Tomasello

Chapter.  9172 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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