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

Linguistics Vanguard

A Multimodal Journal for the Language Sciences

Editor-in-Chief: Bergs, Alexander / Cohn, Abigail C. / Good, Jeff

1 Issue per year

Online
ISSN
2199-174X
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Four- to five-year-olds’ use of word order and prosody in focus marking in Dutch

Aoju Chen
  • Corresponding author
  • Utrecht University, Utrecht Institute of Linguistics, Trans 10, Utrecht 3512 JK, The Netherlands
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Barbara Höhle
  • Universität Potsdam, Linguistics Department, Karl-Liebknechtstr. 24-25, Potsdam 14467, Brandenburg, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2018-03-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2016-0101

Abstract

This study investigated Dutch-speaking four- to five-year-olds’ use of word order and prosody in distinguishing focus types (broad focus, narrow focus, and contrastive narrow focus) via an interactive answer-reconstruction game. We have found an overall preference for the unmarked word order SVO and no evidence for the use of OVS to distinguish focus types. But the children used pitch and duration in the subject-nouns to distinguish focus types in SVO sentences. These findings show that Dutch-speaking four- to five-year-olds differ from their German- and Finnish-speaking peers, who show evidence of varying choice of word order to mark specific focus types, and use prosody to distinguish focus types in subject and object nouns in both SVO and OVS sentences. These comparisons suggest that typological differences in the relative importance between word order and prosody can lead to differences in children’s use of word order and prosody in unmarked and marked word orders. A more equal role of word order and prosody in the ambient language can stimulate more extensive use of prosody in the marked word order, whereas a more limited role of word order can restrict the use of prosody in the unmarked word order.

Keywords: information structure; Dutch-speaking children; word order; prosody; focus

References

  • Arnhold, Anja, Aoju Chen & Juhani Järvikivi. 2016. Acquiring complex focus-marking: Finnish four- to five-year-olds use prosody and word order in interaction. Frontiers in Psychology 7. 1886. Doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01886.Google Scholar

  • Baumann, Stefan, Johannes Becker & Martine Grice & Doris Mücke. 2007. Tonal and articulatory marking of focus in German. In Jürgen Trouvain & William J. Barry (eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 1029–1032. Saarbrücken: University of Saarland.Google Scholar

  • Boersma, Paul. 2001. Praat, a system for doing phonetics by computer. Glot International 5(9/10). 341–345.Google Scholar

  • Bouma, G. 2008. Starting a sentence in Dutch: A corpus study of subject- and object-fronting. Groningen Dissertations in Linguistics 66, University of Groningen. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0aa6/73b3deee0d381552f316f8212462f4c616a1.pdf?_ga=2.135318198.6646024.1498499486-1658732288.1498499486.

  • Chen, Aoju. 2009. The phonetics of sentence-initial topic and focus in adult and child Dutch. In Marina Vigário, Sónia Frota & Maria Freitas (eds.), Phonetics and phonology: Interactions and interrelations, 91–106. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.Google Scholar

  • Chen, Aoju. 2010. Is there really an asymmetry in the acquisition of the focus-to-accentuation mapping. Lingua 120. 1926–1939.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Chen, Aoju. 2011a. Tuning information packaging: intonational realization of topic and focus in child Dutch. Journal of Child Language 38(5). 1055–1083.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Chen, Aoju. 2011b. The developmental path to phonological encoding of focus in Dutch. In Sónia Frota, Gorka Elordieta & Pilar Prieto (eds.), Prosodic production, perception and comprehension, 93–109. Heidelberg, London & New York: Springer Netherlands.Google Scholar

  • Féry, Caroline. 2006. Wide Focus Object Fronting. Interdisciplinary Studies on Information Structure (Vol. 8). Retrieved from http://pub.sfb632.uni-potsdam.de/publications/A1/A1_Fery_2007a.pdf.

  • Frey, Werner. 2006. Contrast and movement to the German prefield. In Valéria Molnár & Susanne Winkler (eds.), The Architecture of Focus, 235–264. Berlin & New York: De Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Hanssen, Judith, Jörg Peters & Carlos Gussenhoven. 2008. Prosodic effects of focus in Dutch declaratives. In Plinio Almeida Barbosa, Sandra Madureira & Cesar Reis (eds.), Proceedings of the 4th Conference on Speech Prosody, 609–612. Campinas, Brazil: Editora RG/CNPq.Google Scholar

  • Ladd, D. Robert. 1980. The structure of intonational meaning. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar

  • Lambrecht, Knud. 1994. Information structure and sentence form: Topic, focus, and the mental representations of discourse referents. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Oostdijk, Nelleke. 2000. The Spoken Dutch Corpus. Outline and first evaluation. In Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, Vol. 2, 887–894.Google Scholar

  • Romøren, Anna-Sara & Aoju Chen. 2014. Accentuation, pitch and pausing as cues to focus in child Dutch. In Will Orman & Matthew James Valleau (eds.), Online Proceedings Supplement of the 38th Boston University Conference on Language Development, 1–12. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.Google Scholar

  • Sauermann, Antje, Barbara Höhle, Aoju Chen & Juhani Järvikivi. 2011. Intonational marking of focus in different word orders in German children. In Mary Byram Washburn, Katherine McKinney-Bock, Erika Varis, Ann Sawyer & Barbara Tomaszewicz (eds.), Proceedings of the 28th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, 313–322. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.Google Scholar

  • Schwab J. A. 2006. Multinomial logistic regression: Basic relationships and complete problems. Retrieved in 2006 from https://www.scribd.com/presentation/130345922/Multinomial-Logistic-Regression-Basic-Relationships.

  • Vallduví, Enric & Elisabet Engdahl. 1996. The linguistic realization of information packaging. Linguistics 34(3). 459–519.Google Scholar

  • Vilkuna, Maria. 1995. Discourse configurationality in Finnish. In Katalin É. Kiss (ed.), Discourse configurational languages, 244–268. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Wonnacott, Elizabeth & Duane G. Watson. 2008. Acoustic emphasis in four year olds. Cognition 107(3). 1093–1101. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2007.10.005.Web of SciencePubMedCrossrefGoogle Scholar

About the article

Received: 2016-11-21

Accepted: 2017-12-12

Published Online: 2018-03-09


Citation Information: Linguistics Vanguard, Volume 4, Issue s1, 20160101, ISSN (Online) 2199-174X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2016-0101.

Export Citation

©2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in