Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association

Editor-in-Chief: Stefanowitsch, Anatol / Schoenefeld, Doris

1 Issue per year

See all formats and pricing
More options …

‘Can I ask you something?’: The influence of functional factors on the L1-acquisition of yes-no questions in English

Ursula Kania
Published Online: 2013-12-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/gcla-2013-0007


Usage-based, constructivist approaches to first language acquisition assume that children’s linguistic abilities emerge in a piecemeal fashion through interaction with mature language users (Tomasello 2003). In spite of the fact that both formal and functional characteristics of the linguistic constructions involved are thought to be of importance in this process, most previous studies have focused exclusively on form.

The current study aims at exploring the contribution of functional factors in the learning of a subset of yes-no questions: providing an in-depth analysis of the emergence of Can -person-process?-constructions in a high-density Childescorpus of a boy learning English (Lieven et al. 2009), it is shown that functional factors need to be considered in order to be able to account for the developmental path. It is suggested that we need to re-evaluate the relationship between (formal as well as functional) frequency, salience, and entrenchment and the ways in which these aspects interact during the language learning process. This has important implications for future research on language development as well as for claims about the mental organization of linguistic knowledge within CxG and Cognitive Linguistics more generally.

Keywords : language acquisition; yes-no questions; construction grammar; indirect speech acts

About the article

Published Online: 2013-12-18

Published in Print: 2013-12-01

Citation Information: Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 109–128, ISSN (Online) 2197-2796, ISSN (Print) 2197-2788, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/gcla-2013-0007.

Export Citation

© 2013 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co.. Copyright Clearance Center

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in