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How known constructions influence the acquisition of other constructions : the German passive and future constructions

Abbot-Smith, Kirsten and Behrens, Heike. (2006) How known constructions influence the acquisition of other constructions : the German passive and future constructions. Cognitive science, Vol. 30, Nr. 6. pp. 995-1026.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5249002

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Abstract

This article suggests evidence for and reasons why prior acquisition may either facilitate or inhibit acquisition of a new construction. It investigates acquisition of the German passive and future constructions which contain a lexical verb with either the auxiliary sein 'to be' or werden 'to become,' and are related through these to potential supporting constructions. We predicted that a supported construction should be acquired earlier, faster, and unusually rapidly. An inhibited construction should show an extended depressed usage. We analyzed a dense corpus of a German boy between 2;0 and 5;0. He acquired the sein- before the werden-passive. The former was supported by his prior acquisition of the sein copula, whereas the werden-passive itself supported one werden copula construction. He acquired the werden-future extremely slowly due to the hindrance of a semantically identical construction. These results fit with an emergentist approach in which apparently 'sudden' acquisition is still due to gradual learning mechanisms.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften > Fachbereich Deutsche Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft > Kognitive Linguistik und Spracherwerbsforschung (Behrens, dt. Sprachw.)
04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften > Fachbereich Englische Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft > Kognitive Linguistik und Spracherwerbsforschung (Behrens, engl. Sprachw.)
UniBasel Contributors:Behrens, Heike
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0364-0213
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
Identification Number:
Last Modified:31 Dec 2015 10:48
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 14:17

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