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Acquisition of verb argument structure from a developmental perspective: Evidence from Child Hebrew

  • Sigal Uziel-Karl
Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 33)

The present study proposes a developmental account of Verb Argument Acquisition based on analysis of longitudinal data from four Hebrew-speaking children aged 1;5 - 3;0 years. The following developmental trajectory emerges from the data: Verb argument structure is initially acquired in a bottom-up fashion, limited to specific lexical items. Children start out by rote-learning particular unanalyzed verb forms and verb-argument combinations (holophrases). Then, they start hypothesizing about argument positions, as attested by the use of “groping patterns” (Braine 1976). Once argument positions are set, children start producing verb-specific “utterance schemas” with a wide range of nouns. Gradually, they increase the variation in argument types. As children experience more and more verbs in a variety of communicative contexts, acquisition becomes more abstract and top-down. This is evident from their use of innovated verbs in familiar argument patterns, and from their overextension errors. The proposed account is in line with other input-based accounts of verb argument acquisition (e.g., Braine 1976; Tomasello 1992, 2000a, b).

Keywords

Language Acquisition Argument Structure Morphological Form Argument Position Early Acquisition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sigal Uziel-Karl
    • 1
  1. 1.Kibbutzim College of EducationIsrael

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