Edited by Timothy Colleman, Frank Brisard, Astrid De Wit, Renata Enghels, Nikos Koutsoukos, Tanja Mortelmans and María Sol Sansiñena
[Belgian Journal of Linguistics 34] 2020
► pp. 186–198
In this paper we use corpora of four monolingual German-speaking children at 2 years of age to analyze the effect of input on the activation of chunks and frame-and-slot patterns. For this purpose, we first investigate to what extent chunks and patterns can be traced back to the direct input compared to input which is not part of the immediate discourse situation. Second, we take mean length of utterance (MLU) into account to see how the level of proficiency influences the amount of priming in each child. Results indicate that children with a lower MLU rely more on priming than children who are more proficient. This conclusion is consistent with the usage-based assumption that children’s linguistic development starts with a strongly item-based reproduction of input patterns that gradually gives rise to increasingly creative and productive uses of constructions.