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Prototype constructions in early language acquisition

Ibbotson, Paul and Tomasello, Michael (2009). Prototype constructions in early language acquisition. Language and Cognition, 1(1) pp. 59–85.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1515/LANGCOG.2009.004
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Abstract

In this paper we bring together several lines of cross-linguistic research to demonstrate the role of prototypicality in young children’s acquisition of the transitive construction. Much research has shown that young children are slow to form abstract constructions because they fail to see the more general applicability of syntactic markers such as word order and case marking. Here we attempt to explain this fact by investigating the nature of the language children do and do not hear, specifically, the reliability and availability of the linguistic cues they are exposed to. We suggest that constructions redundantly marked with multiple cues could have a special status as a nucleus around which the prototype forms—which makes it difficult for them to isolate the functional significance of each cue. The implications of this view for language acquisition are discussed within a usage-based framework.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2009 Walter de Gruyter
ISSN: 1866-9859
Keywords: language acquisition, input, construction, prototype, grammar
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport > Childhood, Youth and Sport > Childhood and Youth
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport > Childhood, Youth and Sport
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Childhood Youth and Sport Group (CYSG)
Item ID: 36213
Depositing User: Paul Ibbotson
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2013 10:28
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2018 13:29
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/36213
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