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.
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.
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.
Boersma, Paul. 2001. Praat, a system for doing phonetics by computer. Glot International 5(9/10). 341–345.
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.
Chen, Aoju. 2010. Is there really an asymmetry in the acquisition of the focus-to-accentuation mapping. Lingua 120. 1926–1939.
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.
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.10.1515/9783110922011.235)| false
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.
Ladd, D. Robert. 1980. The structure of intonational meaning. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Lambrecht, Knud. 1994. Information structure and sentence form: Topic, focus, and the mental representations of discourse referents. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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.
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.
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.
Linguistics Vanguard is a new channel for high-quality articles in all major fields of linguistics. Published solely online, the multimodal journal provides an accessible platform supporting both traditional contributions as well as innovative publications featuring interactive content. Linguistics Vanguard publishes concise and up-to-date reports on the state of the art in linguistics as well as cutting-edge research papers.