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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Academic Paper


Title: Nouns and Verbs in Chintang: Children's Usage and Surrounding Adult Speech
Author: Sabine E. Stoll
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.eva.mpg.de/lingua/staff/stoll/index.html
Institution: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Author: Balthasar Bickel
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.uni-leipzig.de/~bickel
Institution: Universit├Ąt Leipzig
Author: Elena V. Lieven
Institution: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Author: Netra Prasad Paudyal
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://uni-leipzig.de
Institution: Universit├Ąt Leipzig
Author: Goma Banjade
Institution: Chintang and Puma Documentation Project
Author: Toya Nath Bhatta
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Chintang and Puma Documentation Project
Author: Martin Gaenszle
Institution: Chintang and Puma Documentation Project
Author: Judith Pettigrew
Institution: Chintang and Puma Documentation Project
Author: Ichchha Purna Rai
Institution: Chintang and Puma Documentation Project
Author: Manoj Rai
Institution: Chintang and Puma Documentation Project
Author: Novel Kishore Rai
Institution: City University London
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Subject Language: Chhintange
Abstract: Analyzing the development of the noun-to-verb ratio in a longitudinal corpus of four Chintang (Sino-Tibetan) children, we find that up to about age four, children have a significantly higher ratio than adults. Previous cross-linguistic research rules out an explanation of this in terms of a universal noun bias; instead, a likely cause is that Chintang verb morphology is polysynthetic and difficult to learn. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that the development of Chintang children's noun-to-verb ratio correlates significantly with the extent to which they show a similar flexibility with verbal morphology to that of the surrounding adults, as measured by morphological paradigm entropy. While this development levels off around age three, children continue to have a higher overall noun-to-verb ratio than adults. A likely explanation lies in the kinds of activities that children are engaged in and that are almost completely separate from adults' activities in this culture.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Journal of Child Language Vol. 39, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site .



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