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The role of input frequency in article acquisition in early child Swedish

Bohnacker, Ute LU (2007) In Frequency Effects in Language Acquisition : Defining the Limits of Frequency as an Explanatory Concept p.51-82
Abstract
This paper investigates patterns of article use in monolingual early child Swedish and in child-directed adult speech. Article omissions in the adult data are found to be more widespread than previously assumed, especially articleless, ‘bare’ singular count nouns (e.g. sten ‘stone’ instead of en sten ‘a stone’) and article omissions in doubly determined nominals (e.g. lilla tummen (little thumb-the) instead of den lilla tummen (the little thumb-the) ‘the little thumb’). Such omissions in the input may arguably influence the course of acquisition. In the two children studied, an initial determinerless stage (1;3-1;7) is followed by a stage of optional articles (1;8-1;11). Targetlike article provision is reached at 2;0, which is early... (More)
This paper investigates patterns of article use in monolingual early child Swedish and in child-directed adult speech. Article omissions in the adult data are found to be more widespread than previously assumed, especially articleless, ‘bare’ singular count nouns (e.g. sten ‘stone’ instead of en sten ‘a stone’) and article omissions in doubly determined nominals (e.g. lilla tummen (little thumb-the) instead of den lilla tummen (the little thumb-the) ‘the little thumb’). Such omissions in the input may arguably influence the course of acquisition. In the two children studied, an initial determinerless stage (1;3-1;7) is followed by a stage of optional articles (1;8-1;11). Targetlike article provision is reached at 2;0, which is early compared to most other Germanic languages. Definite enclitic articles (e.g. -en ‘the’ as in sten-en ‘the stone’) emerge at an earlier age and are produced at higher frequencies than indefinite prenominal articles (e.g. en ‘a’ as in en sten ‘a stone’) and at an earlier age and at much higher frequencies than definite prenominal articles (e.g. den ‘the’ as in den lilla tummen ‘the little thumb’). These child frequency patterns appear to replicate those of the adult caregivers. However, input frequency is argued to be an insufficient explanation for Swedish article acquisition, because of striking mismatches in child and adult article use in other areas, especially bare nouns. Investigations of child-directed adult speech are nevertheless important because they tell us what the immediate target looks like for the young child, which may be different from what linguists and reference grammars tend to assume. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
in
Frequency Effects in Language Acquisition : Defining the Limits of Frequency as an Explanatory Concept
editor
Gagarina, Natalia and Gülzow, Insa
pages
51 - 82
publisher
Mouton de Gruyter
ISBN
9783110977905
DOI
10.1515/9783110977905.51
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
fe659a09-93d3-42d6-af89-4b6097349d69 (old id 161742)
date added to LUP
2007-08-20 12:56:19
date last changed
2016-04-16 08:32:57
@misc{fe659a09-93d3-42d6-af89-4b6097349d69,
  abstract     = {This paper investigates patterns of article use in monolingual early child Swedish and in child-directed adult speech. Article omissions in the adult data are found to be more widespread than previously assumed, especially articleless, ‘bare’ singular count nouns (e.g. sten ‘stone’ instead of en sten ‘a stone’) and article omissions in doubly determined nominals (e.g. lilla tummen (little thumb-the) instead of den lilla tummen (the little thumb-the) ‘the little thumb’). Such omissions in the input may arguably influence the course of acquisition. In the two children studied, an initial determinerless stage (1;3-1;7) is followed by a stage of optional articles (1;8-1;11). Targetlike article provision is reached at 2;0, which is early compared to most other Germanic languages. Definite enclitic articles (e.g. -en ‘the’ as in sten-en ‘the stone’) emerge at an earlier age and are produced at higher frequencies than indefinite prenominal articles (e.g. en ‘a’ as in en sten ‘a stone’) and at an earlier age and at much higher frequencies than definite prenominal articles (e.g. den ‘the’ as in den lilla tummen ‘the little thumb’). These child frequency patterns appear to replicate those of the adult caregivers. However, input frequency is argued to be an insufficient explanation for Swedish article acquisition, because of striking mismatches in child and adult article use in other areas, especially bare nouns. Investigations of child-directed adult speech are nevertheless important because they tell us what the immediate target looks like for the young child, which may be different from what linguists and reference grammars tend to assume.},
  author       = {Bohnacker, Ute},
  editor       = {Gagarina, Natalia and Gülzow, Insa},
  isbn         = {9783110977905},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {51--82},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x924e7a0)},
  series       = {Frequency Effects in Language Acquisition : Defining the Limits of Frequency as an Explanatory Concept},
  title        = {The role of input frequency in article acquisition in early child Swedish},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/9783110977905.51},
  year         = {2007},
}