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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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Academic Paper


Title: Mandarin-speaking three-year-olds' demonstration of productive knowledge of syntax: evidence from syntactic productivity and structural priming with the SVO-ba alternation
Author: Dong-Bo Hsu
Institution: National Taiwan Normal University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Syntax
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
Abstract: Two studies investigated syntactic productivity in three-year-old Mandarin speakers' use of verbs in the SVO and S-ba-OV constructions. In Study 1, children were taught novel verbs in one construction and assessed for their production in the other construction. Children produced verbs taught in the ba constructions in SVO utterances, but showed order effects when producing verbs taught in SVO constructions in ba utterances. In Study 2, children described animated scenes either with structural priming (i.e., after hearing verbs in SVO or ba constructions). Children demonstrated structural priming, producing more SVO and ba utterances, respectively, directly after hearing verbs in these constructions. These results indicate that Mandarin speaking three-year-olds demonstrate productive knowledge of both SVO and S-ba-OV constructions. Their ability to override the predominant input frequency of SVO runs counter to a purely usage-based account of early acquisition of grammar.

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This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 41, Issue 5.

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