Linguistik-Klassifikation: Spracherwerb / Language acquisition
The acquisition of Greek case, number, and gender: a usage based approach
- Children […] growing up with highly inflected languages such as Modern Greek will frequently hear different grammatical forms of a given lexeme used in different grammatical and semantic-pragmatic contexts. In spite of the fact that the Greek noun is not as highly inflected as the verb, acquisition of nominal inflection of this inflecting-fusional language is quite complex, comprising the three categories of case, number, and gender. As is usual in this type of language, the formation of case-number forms obeys different patterns that apply to largely arbitrary classes of nominal lexemes partially based on gender. Further, frequency of the occurrence of the three gender classes and case-number forms of nouns greatly differs in spoken Greek, regarding both the types and tokens. […] [A] child learning an inflecting-fusional language like Greek must construct different inflectional patterns depending not only on parts of speech but also on subclasses within a given part of speech, such as gender classes of nouns and inflectional classes within or (exceptionally) across genders. It is therefore to be expected that the early development of case and number distinctions will apply to specific nouns and subclasses of nouns rather than the totality of Greek nouns. The two main theoretical approaches of morphological development that will be discussed in the present paper are the usage-based approach and the pre- and protomorphology approach.
Linguistic and extralinguistic factors in the interpretation of children's early utterances
The modality constituent : a neglected area in the study of first language acquisition
- Studies of syntax in first language acquisition have so far concentrated on the propositional side of the sentence, i.e. on the occurrence and interplay of semantic roles like agent, benefactive, objective, etc. and their syntactic expression. The modality constituent, however, has received little attention in the study of child language. This may be due in part to the impetus more recent research in this field has received from studies of the acquisition of English, a language with poor verb morphology as compared to synthetic languages. The research to be presented in this paper is concerned with an early stage of the acquisition of Modern Greek as a first language, a language with a particularly rich verb morphology. Since modality, aspect, and tense are obligatorily marked on the main verb in Mod. Greek, this language offers an excellent opportunity for studying the development of these fundamental categories of verbal grammar at an earlier stage than in more analytic languages. [...] As this paper is concerned with the semantic categories of verbal grammar mentioned above as weIl as with their formal expression, only utterances containing a verb will be considered. For reasons of space we shall further limit ourselves to those utterances containing a main verb. Such utterances divide into two classes, modal and non-modal. [...] In spite of Calbert's claim (Calbert 1975) that there are no strictly non-modal expressions, affirmative and negative statements as well as questions not containing a modal verb will be considered as non-modal. As will be shown below, modal and non-modal expressions are formally differentiated at the stage of language acquisition studied.
The development of modality in language acquisition
- Defined as a general inner-linguistic function, modality pervades language and there can thus be no strictly nonmodal predicative expressions. We shall, however, in what follows, keep to grammatical tradition and exclude declarative and interrogative sentences in the indicative mood from consideration. Although a thorough study of the development of modal negation should prove most rewarding, we must renounce such an attempt out of space limits. […] [W]e shall be concerned with the formal linguistic devices employed by the child for expressing modality in various languages and the functions these serve, i.e. how they are used. Only by the conjoint study of form and function can one hope to arrive at a fair understanding of how the modalizing function develops in the ontogenesis of language.
The acquisition of Greek
First verbs : On the way to mini-paradigms
- This 18th issue of ZAS-Papers in Linguistics consists of papers on the development of verb acquisition in 9 languages from the very early stages up to the onset of paradigm construction. Each of the 10 papers deals with first-Ianguage developmental processes in one or two children studied via longitudinal data. The languages involved are French, Spanish, Russian, Croatian, Lithuanien, Finnish, English and German. For German two different varieties are examined, one from Berlin and one from Vienna. All papers are based on presentations at the workshop 'Early verbs: On the way to mini-paradigms' held at the ZAS (Berlin) on the 30./31. of September 2000. This workshop brought to a close the first phase of cooperation between two projects on language acquisition which has started in October 1999:
a) the project on "Syntaktische Konsequenzen des Morphologieerwerbs" at the ZAS (Berlin) headed by Juergen Weissenborn and Ewald Lang, and financially supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and
b) the international "Crosslinguistic Project on Pre- and Protomorphology in Language Acquisition" coordinated by Wolfgang U. Dressler in behalf of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
Studies on the development of grammar in German, Russian and Bulgarian
- The papers of this 33th volume of the ZAS Papers in Linguistics present intermediate results of the ZAS-project on language acquisition. Currently we deal with the question of which functions children assign to the first grammatical forms they use productively. The goal is to identify grammatical features comprising the child's early grammar. This issue is investigated within the analyses of longitudinal data (cf. the papers of Gagarina/Bittner, Gagarina, Kühnast/Popova/Popov, Bewer) as well as within experimental research (see the papers of Bittner, Kühnast/Popova/Popov). The main topic of this volume is the acquisition of definite articles and verbal aspect.
Bewer – who has worked as a student assistant in the project for a long time and wrote her MA-thesis on the topic of the project – investigates children's acquisition of gender features in German. Kühnast/Popova/Popov discuss the correlations between the acquisition of definite articles and verbal aspect in Bulgarian. Bittner presents results of an experimental study on definite article perception in adult German. Gagarina traces the emergence of aspectual oppositions in Russian and examines the validity of the 'aspect before tense' hypothesis for L1-speaking children. Additionally, the paper of Gagarina/Bittner deals with the interrelation between the acquisition of finiteness and verb arguments in Russian and German.
Intersentential pronominal reference in child and adult language : proceedings of the Conference on Intersentential Pronominal Reference in Child and Adult Language, December 1 - 2, 2006, Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS), Berlin
- The 48th volume of the ZAS Papers in Linguistics presents selected papers from the conference on Intersentential pronominal reference in child and adult language held at the ZAS in December, 2006. The conference, organized by the project Acquisition and disambiguation of intersentential pronominal reference, brought together leading researchers dealing with anaphora resolution in diverse theoretical approaches and the acquisition perspective on pronominal reference taken by the ZAS project.
Sprachstandstest Russisch für mehrsprachige Kinder = Russian language proficiency test for multilingual children
Natalʹja Vladimirovna Gagarina
- The 'Russian language proficiency test for multilingual children' is a linguistically and psycholinguistically-grounded test for L1-Russian bilingual children of pre-school and elementary school age. It allows the evaluation of language proficiency in Russian for scientific, therapeutic, and pedagogical purposes. The test is based on preliminary norms: data of 167 German-Russian bilingual children between the ages of 3 years and 6 years 11 months were evaluated.
Bilingual children's proficiency is examined in the following language domains:
- productive and receptive lexicon for verbs and nouns
- production of morphological marking on verbs (first and second-person singular present verbal inflection) and nouns (accusative and dative case singular)
- comprehension of grammatical constructions on the sentence level
The test should be administered by a competent – ideally native – speaker of Russian, and takes approximately 60 minutes to administer.
In addition to the test itself, the 'Russian language proficiency test for multilingual children' contains a questionnaire for gathering detailed information on the input situation as well as the child's previous linguistic and extra-linguistic development. The questionnaire is written in English and Russian and is intended to be filled out by the parents.
MAIN: Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives
Natalʹja Vladimirovna Gagarina
- The Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives (MAIN) was designed in order to assess narrative skills in children who acquire one or more languages from birth or from early age. MAIN is suitable for children from 3 to 10 years and evaluates both comprehension and production of narratives. Its design allows for the assessment of several languages in the same child, as well as for different elicitation modes: Model Story, Retelling, and Telling.
MAIN contains four parallel stories, each with a carefully designed six-picture sequence. The stories are controlled for cognitive and linguistic complexity, parallelism in macrostructure and microstructure, as well as for cultural appropriateness and robustness.
The instrument has been developed on the basis of extensive piloting with more than 550 monolingual and bilingual children aged 3 to 10, for 15 different languages and language combinations.
Even though MAIN has not been norm-referenced yet, its standardized procedures can be used for evaluation, intervention and research purposes. MAIN is currently available in the following languages: English, Afrikaans, Albanian, Basque, Bulgarian, Croatian, Cypriot Greek, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Italian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Standard Arabic, Swedish, Turkish, Vietnamese, and Welsh.