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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Acquisition of Morpho-syntax in Spanish: Implications for current theories of development Add Dissertation
Author: Javier Aguado-Orea Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Nottingham, MA Slavonic Studies (Research)
Completed in: 2004
Linguistic Subfield(s): Language Acquisition;
Subject Language(s): Spanish
Director(s): Julian Pine

Abstract: The objective of the analyses included in this thesis is to test two different sets of theories about the way children acquire the knowledge required to use verb inflection in Spanish. One of them assumes that children have innate knowledge about grammatical properties that are common to all languages. Some of the authors defending this claim propose that children are fully competent from the beginning of speech (Hoekstra & Hyams, 1998; Wexler, 1998). On the other hand, the other set of theories avoids assuming such initial domain-specific knowledge. Consequently, these theories predict a gradual progression towards the achievement of full competence (Pine, Lieven & Rowland, 1998; Tomasello, 2000a). New longitudinal naturalistic samples of the speech of two children have been collected for the purpose of this study (a boy: 1;10.21 – 2;5.29 years old;
a girl: 2;2.25 - 2;7.15 years old). New methods have also been developed to analyse these samples. They consist of controlled comparisons across the speech of different speakers (i.e. parents and children) or within the speech of the child recorded at different developmental points. The accuracy of children in the provision of finite and non-finite verb forms has also been assessed and used to differentiate between the theories mentioned above. Finally, a computational model of the acquisition of syntax has been used to explore the relation between the pattern of finiteness marking in early child Spanish and the distributional characteristics of Spanish child directed speech. The implications of these results for theories of language development and children's early knowledge of verb inflection are discussed.