It was about one and a half years ago that I finally I arrived where I had always wanted to be and do what I had always wanted-- teach students, support small language communities and conduct research on African languages on my doorstep. The University of Cape Town and my new colleagues welcomed my efforts to establish the Centre for African Language Diversity-- CALDi as well as The African Language Archive-- TALA and I was recently appointed the Mellon Research Chair: African Language Diversity this initiative. The main aim of CALDi is to train young African scholars in descriptive linguistics and open up space for research into African languages at UCT with the hopes of countering the dominance of African linguistics outside the continent. It has been a great challenge for which my whole career has been a form of preparation...Read more
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This dissertation investigates the acquisition of particle verbs in Dutch. Based on longitudinal child data it shows how children acquire lexical categories V, A and P and how they acquire the complex predicate status of particle verbs. It shows that the acquisition of categories A and P is dependent on the acquisition of category V and that the acquisition of category V is tightly connected to the acquisition of verb-second. It is the acquisition of this verb-second that also leads to the acquisition of the complex predicate status of particle verbs. It further shows that the acquisition process inevitably leads children into overgeneralisation of preposition stranding, but that the same acquisition process also inevitably leads children out of it. This dissertation further presents data from experiments with adult speakers that shed an interesting light on the role this overgeneralisation still plays in the adult grammar. Investigating the acquisition of particle verbs cannot be done without taking a closer look at the acquisition process itself. As such, this dissertation also addresses more general questions concerning the acquisition process, such as the role of the lexicon and of generalizations. It shows an acquisition process in which the child makes use of pragmatic ootstrapping and syntactic cueing to build layer upon layer of grammar without the need of inherently, specifically linguistic knowledge. This dissertation will be of interest to anyone working on language acquisition, the syntax of particle verbs and preposition stranding, and the interaction between syntax and information structure.