LINGUIST List 15.3506

Thu Dec 16 2004

Books: Language Acquisition: Diessel

Editor for this issue: Megan Zdrojkowski <>

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        1.    Joyce Reid, The Acquisition of Complex Sentences: Diessel

Message 1: The Acquisition of Complex Sentences: Diessel

Date: 14-Dec-2004
From: Joyce Reid <>
Subject: The Acquisition of Complex Sentences: Diessel

Title: The Acquisition of Complex Sentences
Series Title: Cambridge Studies in Linguistics, 105

Published: 2004
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL:

Author: Holger Diessel

Hardback: ISBN: 0521831938 Pages: 242 Price: U.S. $ 75.00
Hardback: ISBN: 0521831938 Pages: 242 Price: U.K. £ 45.00


This book presents the first comprehensive study of how children acquire
complex sentences. Drawing on observational data from English-speaking
children aged 2 to 5, Holger Diessel investigates the acquisition of
infinitival and participial complement clauses, finite complement clauses,
finite and nonfinite relative clauses, adverbial clauses, and coordinate
clauses. His investigation shows that the development of complex sentences
originates from simple non-embedded sentences and that two different
developmental pathways can be distinguished: complex sentences including
complement and relative clauses evolve from simple sentences that are
gradually expanded to multiple-clause constructions, and complex sentences
including adverbial and coordinate clauses develop from simple sentences
that are integrated in a specific biclausal unit. He argues that the
acquisition process is determined by a variety of factors: the frequency of
the various complex sentences in the ambient language, the semantic and
syntactic complexity of the emerging constructions, the communicative
functions of complex sentences, and the social-cognitive development of the

1. Introduction

2. A dynamic network model of grammatical constructions

3. Towards a definition of complex sentences and subordinate clauses

4. Infinitival and participial complement constructions

5. Complement clauses

6. Relative clauses

7. Adverbial and co-ordinate clauses

8. Conclusion.

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition

Subject Language(s): English (ENG)

Written In: English (ENG )

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