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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Object Agreement and Specificity in Early Swahili
Author: Kamil Ud Deen
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
Linguistic Field: Syntax
Subject Language: Swahili
Abstract: Schaeffer (1997, 2000) argues that children lack knowledge of specificity because Dutch children omit determiners and fail to scramble pronouns. Avrutin & Brun (2001), however, find that Russian children place arguments correctly according to whether they are specific or non-specific. This paper investigates object agreement and specificity in early Swahili. Object agreement in Swahili is obligatory when the object is specific, but is prohibited when the object is non-specific. Analysis of naturalistic data from four Swahili-speaking children (1;8-3;2) reveals that children overwhelmingly provide object agreement in obligatory contexts (when the object is a personal name, is topicalized, or refers to first/second person). The supply of object agreement cannot be due to a general strategy of overusing agreement, since object agreement does not occur in prohibited contexts such as intransitive clauses. I conclude that object agreement and knowledge of specificity are acquired by Swahili children before the age of two years.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 33, Issue 2.

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