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Conference Information

Full Title: Beyond Frequency: Cognitive Factors in Children’s Acquisition of Morphosyntax

Location: Tartu, Estonia
Start Date: 10-Jul-2017 - 14-Jul-2017
Contact: Virve Vihman
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Frequency has often been seen as the flagship explanatory category for cognitive linguistics, across fields such as grammaticalisation, language variation and acquisition. However, many questions remain about what frequency means and how it interacts with other cognitive and linguistic factors. It is unclear whether the frequency of occurrence of linguistic elements is a measure with psychological reality or whether it stands as a proxy for other factors, such as class size or salience. In addition, it is clear that frequency interacts with other factors, like complexity and functional transparency, but it is not always evident how to incorporate these interactions in models of L1 acquisition.

Ambridge et al. (2015) make a strong case for the prominent role of frequency in language acquisition (but see also papers in Gülzow & Gagarina 2007). They advocate for a more nuanced view of frequency in explanation, but the details of this approach still need to be spelled out. They also raise, but leave open for discussion, the question of interaction with other factors, such as utterance position, relative complexity in a linguistic domain, or pragmatic foregrounding.

This proposed theme session will be discussing such issues as:

- What do we mean when we speak of frequency?
- How and what should we measure when assessing the role of frequency?
- How does frequency interact with other factors affecting the course of acquisition of morphosyntax?

Organisers’ Contact Information:

Laura de Ruiter (University of Manchester),
Virve Vihman (University of Tartu),


Ambridge, Ben, Evan Kidd, Caroline F. Rowland & Anna L. Theakston. 2015. The ubiquity of frequency effects in first language acquisition. Journal of Child Language, 42: 239-273. doi:10.1017/S030500091400049X

Gülzow, Insa & Natalia Gagarina (eds.) 2007. Frequency effects in language acquisition: Defining the limits of frequency as an explanatory concept. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-019671-9.
Linguistic Subfield: Cognitive Science; Language Acquisition; Morphology; Psycholinguistics; Syntax
LL Issue: 27.3308

This is a session of the following meeting:
14th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference

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