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Academic Paper


Title: The perfective past tense in Greek child language
Author: Stavroula Stavrakaki
Institution: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Author: Harald Clahsen
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~harald/
Institution: Universität Potsdam
Linguistic Field: Morphology
Abstract: This study examines the perfective past tense of Greek in an elicited production and an acceptability judgment task testing 35 adult native speakers and 154 children in six age groups (age range: 3 ; 5 to 8 ; 5) on both existing and novel verb stimuli. We found a striking contrast between sigmatic and non-sigmatic perfective past tense forms. Sigmatic forms (which have a segmentable perfective affix (-s-) in Greek) were widely generalized to different kinds of novel verbs in both children and adults and were overgeneralized to existing non-sigmatic verbs in children's productions. By contrast, non-sigmatic forms were only extended to novel verbs that were similar to existing non-sigmatic verbs, and overapplications of non-sigmatic forms to existing sigmatic verbs were extremely rare. We argue that these findings are consistent with dual-mechanism accounts of morphology.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 36, Issue 1.

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