Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


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."

New from Cambridge University Press!


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: Diachronic change: Early versus late acquisition
Author: Fred Weerman
Institution: University of Amsterdam
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Language Acquisition
Abstract: There is a long linguistic tradition in which language change is explained in terms of first language acquisition. In this tradition, children are considered to be the agents of language change, or at least the agents of changes in the underlying grammar. Since the early 1980s, this has been formulated in the (generative) terminology in terms of parameters set by children: whereas an older generation acquires one particular setting of a parameter (during childhood), a next generation of L1 children may set a parameter differently, based on the input of their parents, and this may lead to a different output. For obvious reasons this argumentation had to be built on theoretical rather than empirical work on language acquisition. There are no children acquiring Old English or Middle Dutch, and, in fact, the field of acquisition research was until recently much less developed and very often not focused on the type of facts that happened to play a role in discussions of language change.


This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 14, Issue 2.

Return to TOC.

Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page