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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: Learning a generative syntax from transparent syntactic atoms in the linguistic input
Author: Anat Ninio
Institution: Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Syntax; Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: We examined parents' two-word utterances expressing core syntactic relations in order to test the hypothesis that they may enable children to derive the atoms of hierarchical syntax, namely, the asymmetrical Merge/Dependency relation between pairs of words, and, in addition, to identify variables serving generative syntactic rules. Using a large English-language parental corpus, we located all two-word utterances containing a verb and its subject, object, or indirect object. Analysis showed that parental two-word sentences contain transparent information on the binary dependency/merge relation responsible for syntactic connectivity. The syntactic atoms modelled in the two-word input contain natural variables for dependents, making generalization to other contexts an immediate possibility. In a second study, a large sample of children were found to use the same verbs in the great majority of their early sentences expressing the same core grammatical relations. The results support a learning model according to which children learn the basics of syntax from parental two-word sentences.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 41, Issue 6.

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