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Cognitive Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Divjak, Dagmar


IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 1.902
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 2.297

CiteScore 2018: 2.09

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 1.075
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1613-3641
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Volume 16, Issue 3

Issues

Towards a lexically specific grammar of children’s question constructions

Ewa Dąbrowska / Elena Lieven
Published Online: 2005-09-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.2005.16.3.437

Abstract

This paper examines early syntactic development from a usage-based perspective, using transcripts of the spontaneous speech of two Englishspeaking children recorded at relatively dense intervals at ages 2;0 and 3;0. We focus primarily on the children’s question constructions, in an effort to determine (i) what kinds of units they initially extract from the input (their size and degree of specificity / abstractness); (ii) what operations they must perform in order to construct novel utterances using these units; and (iii) how the units and the operations change between the ages of two and three. In contrast to nativist theories of language development which suggest that children are working with abstract syntactic categories from an early point in development, we suggest that the data are better accounted for by the proposal that children begin with lexically specific phrases and gradually build up a repertoire of increasingly abstract constructions.

About the article

Published Online: 2005-09-09

Published in Print: 2005-09-19


Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics, Volume 16, Issue 3, Pages 437–474, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.2005.16.3.437.

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