Research on Language and Computation

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 239–253 | Cite as

A Computational Analysis of Interaction Patterns in the Acquisition of Turkish

  • Ayşe Pınar SaygınEmail author
Open Access


We provide a corpus-based computational approach to analyzing acquisition data on Turkish, a richly inflected language. We describe the process by which transcripts from the CHILDES database for 16 children aged 2;0 to 3;0 were morphologically tagged and parsed. We computed a number of imitation, overlap, and repetition measures on the transcripts using CLAN and CHIP programs. These measures tended to decrease as a function of mean length of utterance, which was broadly consistent with previously published work on English-speaking children. The data also revealed additional usage patterns, where the adult utterances provided children with rich morphosyntax in the input, while at the same time helping them to maintain discourse. Children on the other hand, tended to omit optional constituents and repeat morphemes from the previous utterance. The Turkish data and previously published English data showed cross-linguistic differences in repetition patterns that were congruent with the typological differences between the two languages. More generally, the data were consistent with a usage-based model for the acquisition of Turkish as a first language. The corpora and methods provided here can be extended to future applications.


Turkish Acquisition Morphology Parsing Computational linguistics CHILDES Interaction Input Crosslinguistic 



I would like to thank the late Elizabeth Bates for her support of the work presented here as well as many invaluable discussions; Kemal Oflazer for advice on using his parser; Jeremy Boyd and Holger Keibel for helpful comments.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cognitive Science, Center for Research in LanguageUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, La JollaUSA

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