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Frequency vs. Salience in First Language Acquisition: The Acquisition of Aspect Marking in Chintang


Mazara, Jekaterina; Stoll, Sabine (2021). Frequency vs. Salience in First Language Acquisition: The Acquisition of Aspect Marking in Chintang. In: Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, online, July 2021. California Digital Library, 840-846.

Abstract

Frequency of occurrence in the input is a main factor determining the ease of acquisition in first language learners. However, little is known about the factors relevant for the acquisition of low-frequency items. We examine the use of aspectual markers in a longitudinal corpus of Chintang (Sino-Tibetan, Nepal) children (ages 2;1-4;5). Only 7.7% of all Chintang verbs are overtly marked for aspect. Chintang has three aspect markers, one of which is substantially more frequent than the others. One of the low-frequency markers is positionally and prosodically more salient, appearing at the word-boundary. Using a Bayesian beta-binomial model, we assess the distribution and flexibility of use of aspectual markers in the input and children's production. Our analysis shows that the most frequent marker was acquired earliest, as predicted. For the low-frequency markers, position, segmentability and uniformity are better predictors of ease of acquisition.

Abstract

Frequency of occurrence in the input is a main factor determining the ease of acquisition in first language learners. However, little is known about the factors relevant for the acquisition of low-frequency items. We examine the use of aspectual markers in a longitudinal corpus of Chintang (Sino-Tibetan, Nepal) children (ages 2;1-4;5). Only 7.7% of all Chintang verbs are overtly marked for aspect. Chintang has three aspect markers, one of which is substantially more frequent than the others. One of the low-frequency markers is positionally and prosodically more salient, appearing at the word-boundary. Using a Bayesian beta-binomial model, we assess the distribution and flexibility of use of aspectual markers in the input and children's production. Our analysis shows that the most frequent marker was acquired earliest, as predicted. For the low-frequency markers, position, segmentability and uniformity are better predictors of ease of acquisition.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Comparative Language Science
06 Faculty of Arts > Zurich Center for Linguistics
Special Collections > Centers of Competence > Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language Evolution
06 Faculty of Arts > Linguistic Research Infrastructure (LiRI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:490 Other languages
890 Other literatures
410 Linguistics
Language:English
Event End Date:July 2021
Deposited On:30 Nov 2021 13:03
Last Modified:10 Jan 2024 14:25
Publisher:California Digital Library
Number:43
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:https://escholarship.org/uc/item/5px0n9ck
  • Content: Published Version