How could we learn language without content knowledge? For example, how could a small child ask their mother for a biscuit without some awareness of what a biscuit is?
When Tracy writes "some awareness of what a biscuit is," I read this as meaning an "awareness of the concept of biscuit," rather than an "awareness of the word biscuit."
If Tracy meant the latter, I'm close to certain she would have written "without knowing the word biscuit." Moreover, does anyone seriously disagree that a small child could "ask their mother for a biscuit without knowing the word biscuit."
Also, when Tracy writes "ask their mother," I read this as expecting the child to use expressive language to put a question to his mother, rather than expressing a desire to their mother which includes expressive language and non-verbal communication.
Stephen, on the other hand, interprets the sentence to mean "how could a small child express a desire to their mother for a biscuit without knowing the word biscuit"? Yeah, that's quite the burning question we've been waiting with bated breath to have answered. It "asked" this question to my six year old daughter, she immediately responded with "you could point to it." Stephen, in contrast, broke through Google's 4000 character limit explaining his answer. An answer to a question no one really asked for or cares about.
So let's get back to Tracy's real and far more interesting question: "how could a small child ask their mother for a biscuit without some awareness of the concept of biscuit." Or, why don't we go back to an even broader question "how could a small child express the desire to their mother for a biscuit without some awareness of the concept of biscuit." This eliminates the need for facts and receptive/expressive language altogether which seems to be confusing Stephen or at least is serving as an excuse for avoiding the direct answering of Tracy's question.
Of course, I anticipated all of this which is why I clarified the issue in my post which Stephen has studiously avoided addressing.
And, while we're at it, the term "concept of biscuit" does not require an knowledge of language. Concepts are a form of domain or content knowledge.
And let's also exclude the rare situation in which a person could express a desire as the result of a habitual response or the like.
Lastly, I'm sure Tracy would still like to know the answer to her original question, if we want to stick with the same concrete example. How does one read about or think critically about biscuits without understanding the concept of biscuit.
Back to you Stephen.
(Prediction: I will regret not defining (for yet another time) what a concept is and how a concept is known.)