This cross-linguistic volume innovates research of the acquisition of
diminutives in the inflecting-fusional languages Lithuanian, Russian,
Croatian, Greek, Italian, Spanish, German and Dutch, the agglutinating
languages Turkish, Hungarian and Finnish and in the introflecting Hebrew.
These languages differ in various aspects relevant for the acquisition of
diminutives and the development of pragmatics in early child language.
Diminutive formation often tends to be the first pattern of word formation
to emerge. The main reason for this seems to lie in the pragmatic functions
of endearment, empathy, and sympathy, which make diminutives particularly
appropriate for child-centred communication. A main topic of this book is
the relation of emergence and early development between diminutives and
other categories of word formation and inflection. The greater degree of
morphological productivity and transparency, as well as phonological
saliency, favors the use of diminutives. In this case diminutives may
facilitate the acquisition of inflection.