Protosyntactic Devices in the Acquisition of Italian Free Morphology

Piero Bottari, Paola Cipriani, Anna Maria Chilosi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article concerns the production of schwa-like elements (Monosyllabic Place Holders, MPHs) before lexical items in early utterances of Italian children. These elements perform the function of protomorphemes, a role testified to by several facts, including the complementary distribution between them and free grammatical morphemes over time. These findings consistently support the idea that functional categories emerge very early and that virtually no “prefunctional” stage needs to be hypothesized for early combinatorial speech. The purpose of this article is twofold: (a) to show that MPHs do not stem from imitation but actually retain important grammatical properties of functional free morphemes, and (b) to show that in the development of free morphology certain syntactic (positional) properties, via the MPH strategy, emerge before full assessment of morphophonological paradigms take place. This implies that learning morphology cannot be conceived of solely as proceeding through a series of inferences about the distributional properties of the single morphological items.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-369
Number of pages43
JournalLanguage Acquisition
Volume3
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 1993

Fingerprint

imitation
paradigm
learning
time
Syntax
Functional Categories
Lexical Item
Morpheme
Imitation
Schwa
Utterance
Free Morpheme
Inference
Proceedings
Paradigm
Complementary Distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

Protosyntactic Devices in the Acquisition of Italian Free Morphology. / Bottari, Piero; Cipriani, Paola; Chilosi, Anna Maria.

In: Language Acquisition, Vol. 3, No. 4, 01.10.1993, p. 327-369.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bottari, Piero ; Cipriani, Paola ; Chilosi, Anna Maria. / Protosyntactic Devices in the Acquisition of Italian Free Morphology. In: Language Acquisition. 1993 ; Vol. 3, No. 4. pp. 327-369.
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