The acquisition of verbal inflection in Estonian: Two Case Studies
The first six months of verb production is traced in two boys acquiring Estonian, based on both recordings and diary notes. Evidence of the emergence of contrast is identified and related to cumulative verb lexicon. Rate of verb learning is found to be variable whereas contrast emerges at a relatively constant rate for the two children. First contrastive use in context is illustrated for one child. The use of stems in lieu of obligatory inflections is described, as are phonological and morphological errors (errors of both omission and commission). The input frequency for all verb forms in the speech of one mother is analysed for tokens and types; only one exceptionally high frequency verb form appears to have had a direct effect on the child. The children are found to differ primarily in their focus on regular vs. irregular verb forms; the types of errors made are related to the learning path so defined.
KeywordsContrast Index Bilingual Child Person Plural Inflected Form Past Tense Form
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