The Acquisition of Complex Morphology

Insights from Murrinhpatha

ORCID logoWilliam Forshaw | University of Melbourne / OLSH Thamarrurr Catholic College
ISBN 9789027210111 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
ISBN 9789027258373 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
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Many theories of language acquisition struggle to account for the morphological complexity and diversity of the world’s languages. This book examines the acquisition of complex morphology of Murrinhpatha, a polysynthetic language of Northern Australia. It considers semi-naturalistic data from five children (1;9-6;1) collected over a two-year period. Analysis of the Murrinhpatha data is focused on the acquisition of polysynthetic verb constructions, large irregular inflectional paradigms, and bipartite stem verbs, which all pose interesting challenges to the learner, as well as to theories of language acquisition. The book argues that morphological complexity, which broadly includes factors such as transparency, predictability/regularity, richness, type/token frequency and productivity, must become central to our understanding of morphological acquisition. It seeks to understand how acquisition is impacted by differences in morphological systems and by the ways in which children and their interlocutors use these systems.
[Trends in Language Acquisition Research, 30] 2021.  xvi, 171 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Cited by

Cited by 2 other publications

Forshaw, William
2022. Book Review: Veronica Mattes, Sabine Sommer-Lolei, Katharina Korecky-Kröll and Wolfgang U. Dressler (Eds.), The acquisition of derivational morphology: A cross-linguistic perspective. First Language 42:5  pp. 696 ff. DOI logo
Kidd, Evan & Rowena Garcia
2022. How diverse is child language acquisition research?. First Language 42:6  pp. 703 ff. DOI logo

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Main BIC Subject

CFDC: Language acquisition

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009020: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Morphology
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2021041990 | Marc record