The acquisition of voice morphology in Jakarta Indonesian
Whereas in English children typically acquire the passive construction at a relatively advanced age, in some other languages it has been reported that the passive is acquired significantly earlier. This paper examines the acquisition of voice morphology in the Jakarta dialect of Indonesian, drawing on an ongoing longitudinal study of eight children, represented in a corpus of over 500,000 utterances. The paper focuses on the acquisition of two prefixes, typically characterized as markers of passive and active voice, showing that children begin using these prefixes in a productive and appropriate manner at a very early age, sometimes under 2;0. It is argued that the early acquisition of voice morphology in Jakarta Indonesian is due to a combination of two distinct factors: the formal simplicity of the associated morphosyntactic patterns and the high frequency with which the relevant forms occur in the adult input to the process of language acquisition.
KeywordsThematic Role Active Voice Passive Marker Bare Form Early Acquisition
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