Article published in:Annual Review of Language Acquisition: Volume 3 (2003)
Edited by Lynn Santelmann, Maaike Verrips, Frank Wijnen and Clara Levelt
[Annual Review of Language Acquisition 3] 2003
► pp. 139–179
The acquisition of inflectional prefixes in Nairobi Swahili
This study investigates the acquisition of inflectional prefixes in Swahili, an eastern Bantu language. The order of morphemes in adult Swahili is: Subject Agreement – Tense – (Object Agreement) –Verb Root – (derivational suffixes) –Mood Vowel. I present data from an original corpus of 4 Swahili-speaking children (ages 1;8-3;0) who were recorded in Nairobi, Kenya. An analysis of the children’s verbal utterances reveals that four clause types occur in the speech of all four children:a. Agr–T–Verb StemFull Clause b. Ø–T–Verb Stem[-SA] Clause c. Agr–Ø–Verb Stem[-T] Clause d. Ø–Ø–Verb StemBare Verb Stem Of these four, only full clauses and [-SA] clauses are permitted by adults in this non-standard dialect of Swahili. A review of five influential theories on the acquisition of morphosyntax (the Metrical Omission Model, Gerken, 1991; the Truncation Hypothesis, Rizzi, 1994; the Underspecification of T, Wexler, 1994; the underspecification of Agr, Clahsen et al. , 1996; and the underspecification of Agr and T, Schütze & Wexler, 1996) shows that the data support the Agr-Tense Omission Model (Schütze & Wexler, 1996) in showing that agreement and tense may be optionally and independently underspecified.
Published online: 26 April 2004
Cited by 1 other publications
Deen, Kamil Ud & Nina Hyams
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