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Constructing verb paradigms in French: adult construals and emerging grammatical contrasts

Abstract

Children acquiring French at first use just one form of each verb, where the meaning identifies only the event-type. How and when do they add additional forms, with the appropriate meanings? In this paper, we explore the information available to children from adult reformulations of these early verb-form uses, and show how adult construals contribute to children’s learning to distinguish between the homophonous infinitival (donner ‘give-Inf’) and participial (donné ‘give-PP’) forms, both /done/, of class 1 verbs. We argue that conversational exchanges, with the construals adults contribute, enable children to differentiate the meanings of homophonous forms, and so begin to construct verb paradigms.

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Correspondence to Eve V. Clark.

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Clark, E.V., de Marneffe, MC. Constructing verb paradigms in French: adult construals and emerging grammatical contrasts. Morphology 22, 89–120 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11525-011-9193-6

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Keywords

  • Early verbs
  • French
  • Homophony
  • Reformulations
  • Acquisition