by: Aan Subekti

Pivot grammar has been defined by some as “a loose grammar governing two word utterances by children. Brained (1967) aimed to support chomsky’s ideas be investigating the syntactic rule that children will show and use at the two word utterance stage. Brained studied his son and found even in early two word utterances children will employ simple word ordering rules which he termed pivot or open grammar. However the writer suspect that mostly adults are reading this pivot grammar is not only great fun to play with, but also can produce excellent results.
One of the things the writer really like about pivot grammar is that  limited to simply two words at any one time, which means that it’s important to choose the combinations of words carefully to create the most effective results for the listener.
In psychology, pivot grammar refers to the structure behind two word phrases often used by children. Some words (which Baine called “pivot or word” were always used in a fixed position ,either first ( e.g. allgone’or big) or last (e.g.prety) while other words (termed open words) could be used in any position, first or second (e.g”mummy or sock) Greene 1990. An example of one of these phrases would be "allgone". The child has a small repetoir of pivot words which can be placed first in the phrase "more juice" or second in the phrase "socks off". The term pivot refers to the fact these words can be used in conjunction with almost any other word, which the child has learnt, to convey the child intending meaning. Pivot grammar is a part of stage two language development. Which occurs around the age of 18 months and continues to when the child reaches two years of age. After this the child enters stage three language developments as they learn more words and a more accepted structure of sentences rather than two word utterances.
Bloom (1970) argue that Braine pivot or open grammar only looked at syntactic word ordering regardiess of the meaning of the utterance. For example : one child she studied used the utterance  “mummy sock” in different context ; when having a sock put on and when picking up her mother sock (Greene 1990)Bloom) Therefore investigated semantic grammatical rule of the different types to convey.

Depend on Brain (1967) children will show and use at the two word utterance stage pivot word and open word. The writer will explain about it.
Pivot grammar (Braine, 1963; Brown & Fraser, 1964):

Early structural studies revealed that some words always appeared in a fixed position. The majority of fixed words occur in the first position of a two word utterance, the remainder always in the second position. Examples of those fixed words are that, there, allgone, my, dirty, and more. Those fixed words were labelled pivot words (Braine 1963) because they serve as a fulcrum, a point of departure, for the child's utterances. Dozens of open class words, frequently nouns at this stage, follow to form the two word utterance. The words of the open class (but never the pivot class) may occur together or alone as holophrases. A schematic rule illustrating the pivot-open grammar of a child's two word utterances looks like
where P1 represents pivot words that occur in first position only, P2 represents pivot words occurring in second position only, and O represents the open class words. The rule states that the child's sentence has one of only four possible structures.
Table 1
allgone shoe
my mommy
Push it
allgone vitamins
my daddy
Close it

Pivot word + Open word or Open word + Pivot word
Problems :
-                    Ignores semantic relations - “mommy sock” in two contexts
-          No clear relation to adult grammar

Table 2
Pivot words:
          Occur only in one position

          A small class of words
          List grows slowly
          Rarely used on their own as single-word utterances

Open words:
          May occur in either 1st or 2nd position
          Relatively large class
          Grows quickly
          May be used on their own

The rule of the grammar were very simple- in fact they reduced to the single rule that an utterance consisted of either an open word, or a pivot word followed by an open word. This rule is the best viewed as an empirical prediction that for the early speech of a child it will be possible first to isolate two groups of words one group, called pivot, will be view in number but will occur with great frequency in the child’s speech. And the other group called open words, will be large in number but will occur in frequently in the child’s speech. When they do, they will conform to the rule above. Thus, a child whose a pivot class contain the words there and mummy, and whose open words included biscuit, chair, down, would produce utterances likes ‘there’, mummy biscuit’ or down’ but not ‘chair down’ or there’.
At the table above there are two words; pivot word and open word. Pivot word is mean just only one meaning or limited meaning but open word mean that this word meaning more than one meaning. Open word more wide than pivot word. For example ; in a pivot word ‘a small class of word but in a open word mean ‘ relative large class’(table 2).
Table 3
do it
see sock
allgone vitamins
my mommy
move it
allgone egg

see hot
allgone watch
push it
allgone shoe
more melon
close it

see boy
allgone lettuce
my daddy
buzz it
more taxi

At the table 3 above, do it – see hot – see boy ; do it doing something, see hot is feel/see heated and doing some act to make better and see boy more empirical prediction see more than hot. See sock – allgone watch – allgone lettuce ; see sock, a child see a sock and in open word allgone watch. Everything can be predicted by open word, see can watching whatever in around there.

Table 4


Open (continued)

P1 represents pivot words that occur in first position only, P2 represents pivot words occurring in second position only, and O represents the open class words. The rule states that the child's sentence has one of only four possible structures.
The table describes about pivot word and open word continued. P1 a pivot word first.  P2 telling the prediction subject, noun, object or adverb. Open and open continued is developing word of pivot utterance occur prediction. In line 1, see – it – do – push subject; see mean pivot word first, it as a pronoun, do is an activity cause of see and it words. Push is open word continued developing.

The writer presented a pivot word in a dialog;
Baby said   : …mummy drink”
Mummy      :
The word‘’ drink in open word mean :
1.      a baby need a water to drink
2.      a baby need a milk
3.      a baby want to breast fed by mother
4.      a baby want mother to give a water
In open word, a baby need or want something. When baby said ….drink….its mean that he/she need or want a drink/water/breast fed. In another meaning a baby need some liquid to moisten a baby mouth. Its mean no reference to context and meaning. But in pivot word a baby just said ‘drink’
Baby said  : … mummy’
Mumy        : I will turn on AC
The word utterance ‘hot’ mean open word:
1.       a baby feel hot
2.      a baby need AC
3.      a baby need a mother to fan him
4.      a baby feel heated
After a baby/child said hot, he try to open her dresser or crying. There are not reference certain a baby word utterance. The word utterance mean a baby need and want something to make baby’s body comfortable.
Structural studies of children's early grammar created considerable excitement in the 1960s since those analyses suggested that children's early utterances are not random groupings of words. They also suggested that children are not imitating the adult speech they hear around them. Finally, they also seemed to suggest that language learning follows a universal design: just as all children go through a babbling stage and a holophrastic stage, so too do they go through a stage where their speech is constrained by the pivot-open grammar.
Continuing research quickly demonstrated, however, that structural descriptions (and the pivot grammar above) were of limited value. First, Bowerman (1973) discovered that children do use pivot words alone as holophrases, that they shift pivot words from first to second position (as vice versa), and that they produce P + P utterances. In essence, adding those structures to the possible structure already outlined above, pivot grammars simply say
Sentence     Word + (Word)
where the parentheses indicate that the second word is optional. Such a structural description is worthless; it says nothing new.
Secondly, structural descriptions can not capture the meaning of the expression, only its grammatical shape. Therefore, several people began to explore the child's language from a functional perspective. Studying the functions and uses served by the child's utterances could be the key to understanding how the child is developing grammar (form) to express meaning (content).
Bloom (1970), for example, notice that one child said mommy sock in two very different contexts, with two very different meanings ('possessor + possession' as in 'mommy's sock' and 'agent + object' as in 'mommy wears a sock'). A pivot grammar assigns the same structural description to both uses of mommy sock, missing the meaningful, functional differences between them. Likewise, expressions such as mommy chair and big bird have the same structural description of mommy sock, but the pivot grammar description misses the 'agent + location' meaning of 'mommy is sitting in the chair' and the 'attribute + object' meaning of 'a bird that is big'.
Following along functional lines, Brown (1973) found that seventy percent of the utterances in late Stage I and Stage II could be described by a small set of functional relationships between words:
  1. 'agent + action' baby kiss
  2. 'action + object' pull car
  3. 'agent + object' daddy ball
  4. 'action + location' sit chair
  5. 'object + location' cup table
  6. 'possessor + possession' mommy sock
  7. 'object + attribute' car red
  8. 'demonstrative + object' there car
In a cross-linguistic study of functional relationships, Slobin (1971) found that children of approximately the same age from six different languages (English, German, Russian, Finnish, Luo, and Samoan) expressed similar kinds of meanings at Stage II: utterances were used
  1. to locate or name objects and people — there book;
  2. to request, demand, or indicate a desire for people, objects, or events — more milk;
  3. to negate or indicate refusal or rejection — no wash;
  4. to express situations or events — kitty go;
  5. to indicate possession — mama dress;
  6. to describe — doggy big;
  7. to question with both wh-questions and yes/no questions — where ball?, daddy go?

In the first three functions Brown's list and in the fourth function in Slobin's list, one can see the child's earliest attempts to code the functional categories 'agent', 'action', and 'object' into grammatical categories of subject, verb, and object.
Halliday (1975) provided the most detailed study of language development from a functional point of view. His son Nigel's earliest language expressed seven functions:
  1. the instrumental 'I want' (the child seeks satisfaction of material needs);
  2. the regulatory 'do as I tell you' (the child regulates the behavior of others);
  3. the interactional 'me and you' (the child interacts with others);
  4. the personal 'here I come' (the child expresses personal feelings, interests, pleasure, disgust);
  5. the heuristic 'tell me why' (the child seeks to name things);
  6. the imaginative 'let's pretend' (the child creates a personal environment); and
  7. the informative 'I've got something to tell you' (the child communicates information).
Those functions themselves have a developmental course. Between nine and sixteen months, children employ the instrumental, regulatory, interactional, and personal functions. The heuristic and imaginative functions appear between sixteen and eighteen months, and the informative is added around twenty-two months. Initially, children's utterances express one function, one meaning at a time, but as they develop grammar (including vocabulary) and engage in dialog, they learn to use language to convey several functions, several meanings simultaneously.

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