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Flexibility in Early Verb Use: Evidence from a Multiple-n Diary Study - Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development (Paperback)
  • Flexibility in Early Verb Use: Evidence from a Multiple-n Diary Study - Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development (Paperback)
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Flexibility in Early Verb Use: Evidence from a Multiple-n Diary Study - Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development (Paperback)

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£42.50
Paperback 300 Pages / Published: 18/09/2009
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Flexibility and productivity are hallmarks of human language use.Competent speakers have the capacity to use the words they know toserve a variety of communicative functions, to refer to new andvaried exemplars of the categories to which words refer, and in newand varied combinations with other words. When and how childrenachieve this flexibility--and when they are truly productivelanguage users--are central issues among accounts of languageacquisition. The current study tests competing hypotheses of theachievement of flexibility and some kinds of productivity againstdata on children's first uses of their first-acquired verbs.

Eight mothers recorded their children's first 10 uses of34 early-acquired verbs, if those verbs were produced within thewindow of the study. The children were between 16 and 20 monthswhen the study began (depending on when the children started toproduce verbs), were followed for between 3 and 12 months, andproduced between 13 and 31 of the target verbs. These diary recordsprovided the basis for a description of the pragmatic, semantic, and syntactic properties of early verb use. The data revealed thatwithin this early, initial period of verb use, children use theirverbs both to command and describe, they use their verbs inreference to a variety of appropriate actions enacted by a varietyof actors and with a variety of affected objects, and they usetheir verbs in a variety of syntactic structures. All 8 childrendisplayed semantic and grammatical flexibility before 24 months ofage. These findings are more consistent with a model of thelanguage learning child as an avid generalizer than as aconservative language user. Children's early verb usesuggests abilities and inclinations to abstract from experiencethat may indeed begin in infancy.

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
ISBN: 9781444333572
Number of pages: 300
Weight: 210 g
Dimensions: 228 x 154 x 8 mm

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