Acquisition of Lithuanian adjective: lexical and morphosyntactic features ; Lietuvių kalbos būdvardžio įsisavinimas: leksinės ir morfosintaksinės ypatybės
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Acquisition of Lithuanian adjective: lexical and morphosyntactic features ; Lietuvių kalbos būdvardžio įsisavinimas: leksinės ir morfosintaksinės ypatybės

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VYTAUTAS MAGNUS UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF THE LITHUANIAN LANGUAGE Laura KAMANDULYTö ACQUISITION OF LITHUANIAN ADJECTIVE: LEXICAL AND MORPHOSYNTACTIC FEATURES Summary of Doctoral Dissertation Humanities, Philology (04 H) Kaunas, 2009 The dissertation has been prepared at Vytautas Magnus University in 2005–2009. The right for the joint doctoral studies was accorded to the Institute of the Lithuanian Language and Vytautas Magnus University on July 15, 2003 according to the decree of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 926. Research supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ineta Dabašinskien÷ Vytautas Magnus University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H The dissertation will be defended before the Council of Philological Sciences of the Vytautas Magnus University and Institute of the Lithuanian Language, Kaunas. Chair: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Violeta Kal÷dait÷ Vytautas Magnus University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H Members: Prof. Habil. Dr. Bonifacas Stundžia Vilnius University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H Prof. Habil. Dr. Aloyzas Gudavičius Šiauliai University, Philology – 04 H Assoc. Prof. Dr. Daiva Aliūkait÷ Vilnius University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H Assoc. Prof. Dr. Erika Rimkut÷ Vytautas Magnus University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H Opponents: Prof. Habil. Dr. Axel Holvoet Institute of Lithuanian Language, Humanities, Philology – 04 H Prof. Habil. Dr.

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Publié le 01 janvier 2010
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VYTAUTAS MAGNUS UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF THE LITHUANIAN LANGUAGE        LauraKAMANDULYTö 
ACQUISITION OF LITHUANIAN ADJECTIVE: LEXICAL AND MORPHOSYNTACTIC FEATURES
Summary of Doctoral Dissertation Humanities, Philology (04 H)
Kaunas, 2009
The dissertation has been prepared at Vytautas Magnus University in 2005–2009.  The right for the joint doctoral studies was accorded to the Institute of the Lithuanian Language and Vytautas Magnus University on July 15, 2003 according to the decree of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 926.  Research supervisor:  Prof. Dr.Ineta Dabašinskien÷  Vytautas Magnus University, Humanities, Philology –04 H  The dissertation will be defended before the Council of Philological Sciences of the Vytautas Magnus University and Institute of the Lithuanian Language, Kaunas.  Chair:  Assoc. Prof. Dr.Violeta Kal÷dait÷  Vytautas Magnus University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H    Members:  Prof. Habil. Dr.Bonifacas Stundi a  Vilnius University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H Prof. Habil. Dr.Aloyzas Gudavičius  Šiauliai University, Philology – 04 H  Assoc. Prof. Dr.Daiva Aliūkait÷ Vilnius University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H   Assoc. Prof. Dr.Erika Rimkut÷  Vytautas Magnus University, Humanities, Philology –04 H  Opponents:  Prof. Habil. Dr.Axel Holvoet Institute of Lithuanian Language, Humanities, Philology – 04 H   Prof. Habil. Dr.Aurelija Usonien÷  Vilnius University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H   The defence of the dissertation will be open to public. It is to be held at a public meeting of the Council of Philological Sciences of the Vytautas Magnus University and the Institute of Lithuanian Language at 3 p.m. on Februar 5, 2010 in a room No. 514 of the Faculty of Humanities. Address: K. Donelaičio st. 52, LT–44248, Kaunas, Lithuania Phone: +370 37 327 830, fax: +370 37 323 689  The summary of the doctoral dissertation was sent out on 4hJanuar 2010.  Those interested may acquaint themselves with the doctoral dissertation in the M. Mavydas National Library and in the Library of the Lithuanian Language in Vilnius, as well as in Vytautas Magnus University Library in Kaunas.   
 
                
 
VYTAUTO DIDIOJO UNIVERSITETAS LIETUVIŲKALBOS INSTITUTAS        LauraKAMANDULYTö 
LIETUVIŲKALBOS BŪDVARDIOĮSISAVINIMAS: LEKSINöS IR MORFOSINTAKSINöS YPATYBöS
Daktaro disertacijos santrauka Humanitariniai mokslai, filologija (04 H)
Kaunas, 2009
Disertacija rengta 2005–2009 metais Vytauto Didioj universitete. Doktorantūros teis÷ Lietuvi suteiktaų kalbos institutui kartu su Vytauto Didiojo universitetu Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausyb÷s 2003 m. liepos 15 d. nutarimu Nr. 926.  Mokslin÷vadov÷: prof. dr.Ineta Dabašinskien÷ Vytauto Didiojo universitetas, humanitariniai mokslai, filologija – 04 H  Disertacija ginama Vytauto Didiojo universiteto ir Lietuvių kalbos instituto Filologijos mokslo krypties taryboje.  Pirminink÷: doc. dr.Violeta Kal÷dait÷ Vytauto Didiojo universitetas, humanitariniai mokslai, filologija – 04 H  Nariai:  prof. habil. dr.Bonifacas Stundia  Vilniaus universitetas, humanitariniai mokslai, filologija – 04 H  prof. habil. dr.Aloyzas Gudavičius  Šiauliųuniversitetas, humanitariniai mokslai, filologija – 04 H doc. dr.Daiva Aliūkait÷ Vilniaus universitetas, humanitariniai mokslai, filologija – 04 H doc. dr.Erika Rimkut÷ Vytauto Didiojo universitetas, humanitariniai mokslai, filologija – 04 H   Oponentai: prof. habil. dr.Axel Holvoet Lietuviųkalbos institutas, humanitariniai mokslai, filologija – 04 H prof. habil. dr.Aurelija Usonien÷  Vilniaus universitetas, humanitariniai mokslai, filologija – 04 H    Disertacija bus ginama viešame Vytauto Didiojo unviersiteto ir Lietuvių kalbos instituto Filologijos mokslo krypties tarybos pos÷dyje 2010 m. vasario 5 d. 15 val. val. Vytauto Didiojo universiteto Humanitarinių mokslų 514 fakulteto auditorijoje. Adresas: K. Donelaičio g. 52, LT–44248, Kaunas, Lietuva Tel. +370 37 327 830, faks. +370 37 323 689  Disertacijos santrauka išsiuntin÷ta 2010 m. sausio m÷n. 4 d.  Disertaciją peri galimaūr÷ti Nacionalin÷je M. Mavydo, Lietuvių instituto kalbos bibliotekose Vilniuje ir Vytauto Didiojo universiteto bibliotekoje Kaune.     
 
1. INTRODUCTION
 Relevance of the Topic and Novelty of the Thesis This study investigates lexical and morphosyntactic features of Lithuanian adjective acquisition. Although some researchers of the Lithuanian language development have dealt with the acquisition of morphology (Wójcik et al. 1997; Wójcik 2000; Savickien÷1999, 2000, 2003, 2006a, 2006b, 2007a etc.; Savickien÷ir kt. 2009; Balčiūnien÷study is the very first attempt to describe the 2005b) this  2005a, emergence of adjective category1. The analysis of the acquisition of adjective is a rather new and interesting endeavour, whereas the acquisition of the most frequent parts of speech (nouns and verbs) are being the most investigated not only by Lithuanian linguists but also by other linguists. Meanwhile rarer parts of speech, usually those that modify meaning of other words, are not analysed so extensively. That is due to the fact, that it is much more difficult to analyse the acquisition of modifying words, as they are used less frequently than words with other functions. Consequently, the analysis requires more linguistic data. Therefore, the analysis of the acquisition of Lithuanian adjective is based on the large quantity of linguistic data, which is the corpus of four children compiled according the method of longitudinal observation. Until this work, there has not been possible to analyse more than the data of two children in studies of the Lithuanian language acquisition. So it can be asserted that the current study uses the large sample of data, which allows defining some universal features of Lithuanian adjective that are typical to most children and that are connected to the structure of language. Besides, while analysing the acquisition of adjective, we also describe how the adjective is used by adults when talking to children, thus results of the research reflect a relation between children’s speech and thechild directed speech, and its significance to the language development.                                                    1The beginning of the studies of the Lithuanian language development was initiated in 1994 as the part of the international project "Pre- and Protomorphology in Language Acquisition" (the project manager W. U. Dressler, the University of Viena) In 2005-2009 the author of the dissertation has participated in the project, which helped to choose a topic for the dissertation. It is believed, that the results of this analysis will be useful for future comparative studies.
 
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The Objective of the Study The mainobjective of the study to analyse the usage of the adjective in is Lithuanian children’s speech and to define the acquisition of lexical and morphosyntactic features of adjective. To achieve these goals the following research tasks have been set: 1) to describe lexical and morphosyntactic features of adjective by applying the functional approach; 2) to compile an appropriate children’s speech corpus for the analysis of lexical and morphosyntactic features of adjective; 3) to analyse the acquisition of lexical and morphosyntactic features of adjective by different children, and to discuss individual and universal features of acquisition, as well as their underlying factors; 4) to define lexical and morphosyntactic problems of the acquisition of adjective; 5) to define links between adjective acquisition and the Lithuanian language system, as well as between adjective acquisition and child directed speech.  Research Methods The study has interchangeably applied several methods of analysis:longitudinal observation, corpus linguistics, error analysisandcomparative method. The longitudinal observation method has been applied for compiling empirical material, while the method of corpus linguistics for processing and analysing the compiled linguistic material. The error analysis method has been used for analysing the empirical data. The comparative method has been applied for comparing language features of four children and for comparing children’s speech to child directed speech.  The Practical and Theoretical Value of Work The study may be useful for speech therapists and help them to create the methodology of enlarging children’s lexicon of adjectives based on frequency lists and lists of errors. The analysis of lexical and grammatical errors of adjective, frequency lists of lexical items and grammatical categories may be useful for language teaching practice and could help learning Lithuanian as a foreign language.
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The work could be useful for Lithuanian language theoreticians too, whereas the dissertation presents a new classification of adjectives into semantic groups; and syntactic criteria for establishing adjectives’ functions that are described according to the functional approach, as they are not well defined in Lithuanian grammars yet. Spoken language researchers may also refer to this dissertation, as they are usually using grammars of written language for analysing spontaneous speech, and thus they often run into numerous problems. The results of the research can be easily compared with acquisition studies of other languages. It is believed, that the current research will not only be useful as a continuation of Lithuanian language acquisition studies, but also important for comparative language development studies.  Structure of the Work The dissertation consists of introduction (the first part) and three main parts. The second partResearch on the acquisition of adjective by the method of longitudinal observation the chosen methods of longitudinal observation and corpus presents linguistics, as well as different stages of processing and compilation of the children’s speech corpus. The third partFunctional approach to the grammatical category of adjectivedeals with main principles and criteria of the functional approach, which are used for the analysis of lexical and morphosyntactic features of adjectives. The fourth partAcquisition of adjectiveis devoted to the analysis of usage of adjectives in children’s speech. The fifth part of the dissertation presents conclusions and generalisations.  Statements to be Defended  1. Lexical features of adjectives are acquired by children with difficulties: they often confuse adjectives of a single semantic group; they cannot grasp the correct meaning, which is often over-extended or under-extended. 2. Children easily acquire morphosyntactic features of adjectives: they do not make many errors. Some errors may be observed only in cases, when adjective paradigms do not coincide with noun paradigms or when marked grammatical categories are interchanged with unmarked ones.
 
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3. Lexical and morphosyntactic features of adjectives are acquired simultaneously. The meaning of adjective is realised only when multi-word combinations and morphosyntactic features have been acquired. 4. The acquisition of adjectives correlates with the individual language development of a child. Bigger lexical variety of adjectives and abundance of semantic groups are more characteristic to children with early and late language development, if compared to children with typical language development. Morphosyntactic features of adjectives do not pose problems to children with late language development. 5. The acquisition of adjective is influenced by the input, as well as by the linguistic system. The frequency of lexical and grammatical categories in child directed speech is related to the simplicity of acquisition and their frequency in children’s speech, while the system of the Lithuanian language facilitates the acquisition of adjective’s agreement features (because of the iconicity of adjectives and nouns paradigms).   2. RESEARCH ON THE ACQUISITION OF ADJECTIVE BY THE METHOD OF LONGITUDINAL OBSERVATION
 Longitudinal observation method has been applied for the research. During the research the speech of two boys, Elvijus and Teodoras, have been recorded, transcribed, and grammatically annotated. The corpus also includes corpora of two girls, Rūta and Monika, which have been compiled by other authors. Families of all four informants belong to the middle class, while all parents have higher education. All the families have had only one child, during the observation period. The development of children’s language has been mostly affected by the family language model. Parents of Rūta, Elvijus and Teodoras are Lithuanians, who speak in Standard Lithuanian. Monika’s parents spoke in Northern Panev÷iškiai Subdialect besides Standard Lithuanian; however they have only used the subdialect when speaking between themselves, while they have spoken to Monika in Standard Lithuanian. There have been noticed some typical phonetic and grammatical features of this sub dialect in the early period of observation, therefore differences of declining of adjectives that
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exist between Standard Lithuanian and this dialect have been considered during the analysis. The size of the transcribed data is 392,707 running words (see Table 1). In the recorded conversations of Rūta, Monika, and Elvijus communication to children has mostly been done by mothers, while in Teodoras case, the number of words produced by his father and mother is similar.  Table 1. Structure of the children’s speech corpus Adapted corpora New corpora Child’s Record Number Participants Child’s Record Number Participants age Length of words  agenumber of Length of words number of words words 1;7–2;5 ~35 hrs 155,414 Rūta 1;7–2;6 ~20 hrs 72,094 Elvijus (91,646) (28,846) mother mother (58,763) (41050) father (2220) father others (2785) (2170) others (28) 1;8–2;8 ~27 hrs 119,968 Monika 2;8–3;11 ~14 hrs 45,231 Teodoras (26,449) (20,937) mother mother (89673) (10071) father (2939) father others (907) (13454) others (769) In total:392,707 words (children’s speech – 167,878, child directed speech – 224,829)   The chosen investigation period of language acquisition is similar for Rūta, Monika and Elvijus: the investigation period for Rūta is 1;7–2;5, for Monika – 1;8–2;8, and for Elvijus – 1;7–2;6. The investigation periodfor Teodoras is 2;8–3;11. The beginning of the investigation period has been defined according to the criteria of multi-word utterances and occurrence of different word forms, which signify the start of grammar acquisition. The first different word forms and two-word utterances have been noticed in Rūta’s speech at the age of 1;7, Monika’s – 1;8, andElvijus –1;7. At that age the mean length of an utterance in Rūta’s, Monika’s, and Elvijus’ speech is  9  
similar – 1,3 words (the standard deviation is also similar: 0,7 in Rūta’s and Elvijus’ speech, and 0,5 in Monika’s speech). Teodoras’ language development is later, if compared to other three children, as different word forms are noticed in his speech at the age of 2;8. Until that age the boy has used unfinished words – mostly first syllables. Although Teodoras has used multi-word utterances prior to the investigation period, the used utterances have usually been just several syllables combined into one utterance. Thus the age of 2;8 has been chosen as the start of investigation period, whereas at this age some inflections have started to occur in the boy’s speech. Due to the boy’s late language development, the average length of an utterance is 1;9 (standard deviation is 1) and it is much larger than in other children’s speech. The analysed data comprise approximately one year of children’s language development, which is the most intensive period of grammar system formation. As soon as a child acquires the grammar system (although errors occur in cases of exceptions), the language observation period is being terminated.  3. FUNCTIONAL APPROACH TO THE GRAMMATICAL CATEGORY OF ADJECTIVE  The dissertation, when dealing with the acquisition of adjective, apply functionalist approach, “which is based explicitly in the expression and comprehension of communicative intentions” (Tomasselo 2005). Theresearch investigates not only the usage of grammatical elements, but also how grammatical structures are formed (direction of the investigation isfrom usage to grammar / from meaning to form). According to M. Tomasselo (2005: 325–327), the features of the current approach may be summarized in three emphases. Firstly, the current approach isfunctionalistand concerns with the acquisition of concrete pieces of language for use in referring to and predicating things about phenomena in the real world. Secondly, the current approach isconstruction-based.“It means that the focus is on hole utterances and construction – not isolatedwords or morphemes – as the most fundamental unit of language acquisition” (Tomasselo 2005). According M. Tomasselo (2005), utterances are the primary reality of language from a communicative point of view because they are the most direct embodiment of a speaker’s communicative
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intentions. Therefore children acquiring language are focused on utterances – not words or abstract categories. Thirdly, the current approach can be described asusage-based. This is based on the assumption that language structure emerges from language use (Bybee et al. 2001; Bybee 2003; Tomasselo 2000, 2005), as “a child hears and stores concrete utterances and then finds patterns in these stored utterances”(Tomasselo 2005). This is considered by Tomasselo “as a gradual and uneven process that depends crucially on the type and token frequency with which certain structures appear in the input“. Correct usage of early grammatical forms is related to the imitation of the most frequent elements in adults’ speech, thus frequency is considered to be the most important principle of the language acquisition, while the language acquisition is the result of social communication. Thus the dissertation, when dealing with the acquisition of adjective, is based on functionalist, construction-based, and usage-based criteria. According to the functional approach, the language is understood as expression of communicative interaction. The functional approach allows to explain how the communicative intention facilitates the acquisition of certain lexical or grammatical elements, but prevents understanding of other more difficult ones, and how it causes their frequent or infrequent usage. The functional approach is also important when considering the context of adjective usage, which helps to define meanings and syntactic functions of adjectives. The construction-based principle is used for the acquisition analysis of the morphosyntactic agreement features (that is expressed by a combination of adjective and noun), when the most frequent word combinations with adjectives are considered. The usage-based criterion is used as well for the analysis of adjective’s lexical and morphosyntactic features, whereas the frequency of lexical and grammatical categories is related to the simplicity of acquisition and their frequency in children’s speech.  
4. ACQUISITION OF ADJECTIVE  The dissertation is based on thetheory of naturalness (Wurzel 1984; Dressler 1987; Karpf 1990; Savickien÷ Dabašinskien 2003;÷ which says that human 2008),
 
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