Chapter published in:Functionalist and Usage-based Approaches to the Study of Language: In honor of Joan L. Bybee
Edited by K. Aaron Smith and Dawn Nordquist
[Studies in Language Companion Series 192] 2018
► pp. 1–15
Features of some ergative languages that impact on acquisition
Bybee’s (e.g., 2006, 2010, 2013) view is that grammar is the cognitive organisation of one’s experience with the language. Evidence from the language acquisition field supports this approach. A major task for the child in acquiring a language is detecting distributional properties of the language and the co-occurrence of features, that is, identifying the form-function units in the language input. In this chapter, I briefly discuss ergative alignment and present examples from research on the acquisition of ergative languages to show that different cues to ergativity are provided. The examples illustrate that children quickly attune to contexts for ergative marking, identifying regularity and recurring patterns as they construct a grammar.
Published online: 01 March 2018
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