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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10373/352

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Title: Playing with word endings: morphological variation in the learning of Russian noun inflections
Authors: Kempe, Vera
Brooks, Patricia J.
Mironova, Natalija
Pershukova, Angelina
Fedorova, Olga
Affiliation: University of Abertay Dundee. School of Social and Health Sciences
Keywords: Inflection
Issue Date: Mar-2007
Publisher: British Psychological Society
Type: Journal Article
Refereed: peer-reviewed
Rights: Published version (c)British Psychological Society, available from DOI: 10.1348/026151006X100675
Citation: Kempe, V., et al. 2007. Playing with word endings: morphological variation in the learning of Russian noun inflections. British Journal of Developmental Psychology. 25(1): pp.55-77. Available from: DOI: 10.1348/026151006X100675
Abstract: This paper documents the occurrence of form variability through diminutive `wordplay', and examines whether this variability facilitates or hinders morphology acquisition in a richly inflected language. First, in a longitudinal speech corpus of eight Russian mothers conversing with their children (1.6-3.6), and with an adult, the use of diminutive word forms was shown to be pervasive in Russian child-directed, but not adult-directed speech. Importantly, all of the mothers were shown to routinely engage in alternating uses of diminutive and simplex forms of the same nouns within the same conversational episodes. Second, an elicitation experiment was conducted which tested 24 children's (2.7-4.2) productivity in inflecting novel nouns for case. By varying whether children heard the novel nouns in diminutive form, simplex form or both, we show that children benefit from the introduction of words in multiple forms (i.e. showing fewer case-marking errors in this condition). We suggest that pragmatically motivated form variation in child-directed speech (CDS) may have beneficial effects for acquiring richly inflected languages.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10373/352
ISSN: 0261-510X
Appears in Collections:Social & Health Sciences Collection

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