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Title: Acquisition of gender agreement in Lithuanian: Exploring the effect of diminutive usage in an elicited production task
Authors: Savickiene, Inets
Kempe, Vera
Brooks, Patricia J.
Affiliation: University of Abertay Dundee. School of Social and Health Sciences
Keywords: Baltic language
Issue Date: Jan-2009
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Type: Journal Article
Refereed: peer-reviewed
Rights: Published version (c)2009 Cambridge University Press available from doi:10.1017/S0305000908009100
Citation: Savickiene, I., Kempe, V. and Brooks, P.J. 2009. Acquisition of gender agreement in Lithuanian: Exploring the effect of diminutive usage in an elicited production task. Journal of Child Language. 36. pp.477-494. Available doi:10.1017/S0305000908009100
Abstract: This study examines Lithuanian children's acquisition of gender agreement using an elicited production task. Lithuanian is a richly inflected Baltic language, with two genders and seven cases. Younger (N=24, mean 3;1, 2;5–3;8) and older (N=24, mean 6;3, 5;6–6;9) children were shown pictures of animals and asked to describe them after hearing the animal's name. Animal names differed with respect to familiarity (novel vs. familiar), derivational status (diminutive vs. simplex) and gender (masculine vs. feminine). Analyses of gender-agreement errors based on adjective and pronoun usage indicated that younger children made more errors than older children, with errors more prevalent for novel animal names. For novel animals, and for feminine nouns, children produced fewer errors with nouns introduced in diminutive form. These results complement findings from several Slavic languages (Russian, Serbian and Polish) that diminutives constitute a salient cluster of word forms that may provide an entry point for the child's acquisition of noun morphology.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10373/264
ISSN: 1469-7602
Appears in Collections:Social & Health Sciences Collection

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