Chapter published in:Sociolinguistic Variation and Language Acquisition across the Lifespan
Edited by Anna Ghimenton, Aurélie Nardy and Jean-Pierre Chevrot
[Studies in Language Variation 26] 2021
► pp. 21–50
Chapter 2Input effects on the acquisition of variation
The case of the French schwa
This chapter addresses the acquisition of a French phonological variable: the schwa ([ə]) in clitics. Our research is based on data extracted from three longitudinal dense corpora. The aim is to analyse children’s productions and two types of adult data: Child and Adult Directed Speech (CDS and ADS, respectively). The analyses show that schwa alternation is modulated in CDS, in the sense that parents produce the schwa variant of clitics significantly more often in CDS. However, differences between CDS and ADS tend to disappear during the course of language development. Our results also indicate that the acquisition of schwa alternation is not homogenous and depends on the clitic used and on factors linked to characteristics of CDS. These results support Usage-Based Theories and Construction Grammars frameworks which assume that CDS properties frame the course of acquisition.
Keywords: schwa, Child Directed Speech, input effects, spoken corpora, Construction Grammar, Usage-Based Models
- 2.The French schwa: A multifaceted variable
- 2.1Schwa categories
- 2.2Factors influencing schwa absence or presence
- 3.Variation and constructions
- 3.1Usage-Based Models and constructions
- 3.2Frequency effects and phonological variation
- 4.1Data collection
- 4.2Corpus annotation
- 4.3Data selection
- 5.1General comparison of CDS, ADS and children’s speech
- 5.2Phonological contexts
- 5.3Focus on the je + VERB context
Published online: 16 August 2021
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