Grammatical role of French first verbs
The aim of the present study is to investigate whether different functional verbs play the same role in the development of grammar and if there is a correlation between verbal grammatical marking and argument construction. The study is based on the analysis of longitudinal data from six French-speaking children aged 2;0-3;0 years. The following questions are addressed in this study: What verbal forms are prevalent in the speech of children between the ages of 2;0-3;0? Do verbs have a semantic/predicative or grammatical content? What role do verbs play in the argument construction? The analyses show that different constructions utilizing the same lexical verb are a milestone in the acquisition of syntactic structures. The data also shows that there is a different pattern of decreasing/increasing use of verb types and verb forms from the age of 2;6 on: Verb types show a decreasing tendency whereas verbal forms continue to increase. Our findings also show that French-speaking children between the ages of 2 and 3 use verbs that carry very light meaning. However, these verbs have different grammatical functions in the predication and are used with different forms of conjugation. Our analysis of the verbs most frequently used by all children in our sample enables us to claim that these verbs play an important role in the process of language acquisition by French-speaking children and can be considered language-specific. Finally, the data show that children before the age of 2;6 exhibit individual differences in lexical diversity and in their use of alternative forms of produced verbs.
KeywordsVerbal Form Target Language Language Acquisition Grammatical Category French Language
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