Edited by Lauri Haapanen and Daniel Perrin
[AILA Review 33] 2020
► pp. 86–103
Linguistic recycling in language acquisition
Child-directed speech and child speech in the study of language acquisition
The paper examines how children quote their parents’ utterances. In other words, it investigates linguistic recycling as an aspect of language learning and how the child-directed speech (CDS) of adults influences child speech (CS). This topic is examined especially in the light of research made in the crosslinguistic project on pre- and protomorphology in language acquisition. Premorphology is characterized by rote-learned forms, which the child has memorized and stored as chunks from CDS (e.g., Finn vettä, Est vett ‘water,’ partitive form). During protomorphology, the child imitates CDS and produces analogical forms (e.g. Finn CDS: söi vs. CS: syöi ‘ate’, Est CDS: ütles vs. CS: ükki ‘said’), which then gradually evolve into adult-like grammar. Usage-based approaches to language acquisition rely on the assumption that language structures are learned from language use. Typical material in present-day child language research is based on tape recordings and transcripts made from these recordings. This kind of data makes it possible to take into account the influence of CDS to CS in a more accurate way than the earlier data collecting methods, such as diary material, which usually contains mostly utterances produced by the child do. The article examines how CDS gives models to CS and how the acquisition proceeds from early rote-learned forms to adult-like grammar from the perspective of frequency distributions of inflectional patterns and elaboration on linguistic forms in CDS – CS interaction. On the basis of analyzed speech samples and previous results, it is obvious that the quoting in children’s and adults’ speech is present on different levels of language and is often bidirectional in nature.
- 2.Frequency distributions of inflectional forms
- 3.Diminutives: Simplification of linguistic forms in CDS – CS interaction
- 3.1Diminutives in Finnish
- 3.2Diminutives in Estonian
- 4.Elaboration of linguistic forms in CDS – CS interaction
- 4.1Quoting in CDS – CS interaction
- 4.2CDS – CS interaction schemes in the acquisition of adjectives
- 5.The early grammar of the child and CDS
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