Adverbs of Degree: Children, spoken language and written language Jack Hoeksema Symposium on the Role of Frequency and Function in Language Development.
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Presentatie over: "Adverbs of Degree: Children, spoken language and written language Jack Hoeksema Symposium on the Role of Frequency and Function in Language Development."— Transcript van de presentatie:
Adverbs of Degree: Children, spoken language and written language Jack Hoeksema Symposium on the Role of Frequency and Function in Language Development
Principle of Contrast Speakers assume that every difference in form signals a difference in meaning (Eve V. Clark, ‘The principle of contrast: a constraint on language acquisition.’ In: Brian MacWhinney (ed.), 1987, Mechanisms of language acquisition, 1-33. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum.) 2
examples Ik ben een beetje/wat/ietsje/enigszins moe I am a bit/somewhat/a tad/a wee bit tired Ik ben nogal/vrij/tamelijk moe I am rather/pretty/reasonably tired Ik ben heel/erg/zeer/ontzettend moe I am very/extremely/truly tired Ik ben volkomen/totaal/helemaal nuchter I am totally/completely/entirely sober 4
Why so much variation? Degree levels: low/mid/high/absolute Stylistic levels: lowbrow/highbrow/neutral Polarity: negative polarity items, positive polarity items, neutral items Syntactic combinatorics: You are very lovely, I love you very much/He is very much a loner /I don’t like him much Semantic/lexical restrictions: very possible / *a bit possible / *rather possible / quite possible Phonological restrictions: highly intelligent / *highly smart / highly unlikely / *highly fat (# syllables > 1) 5
Why now, and not in 1600? Emergence of written languages And literacy With various writing styles And a stylistic requirement to avoid repitition of words 6
Dutch high degree adverbs (written data: Hoeksema 2005; spoken: De Jong 1979) 7
Most common degree adverbs in Dutch WrittenSpoken 8
Conclusions Children aged 2 to 3 by and large stick to the Principle of Contrast Despite lots of variants in their input They lack midlevel adverbs not explained by principle of contrast, strictly speaking Midlevel adverbs far less common in child- oriented speech than in adult oriented speech Choice of degree modifiers determined by frequency in the input 20
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