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The Social Origins of Language

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Presents a new theoretical framework for the origins of human language and sets key issues in language evolution in their wider context within biological and cultural evolution


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Preposition Placement in English: A Usage-Based Approach

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This is the first study that empirically investigates preposition placement across all clause types. The study compares first-language (British English) and second-language (Kenyan English) data and will therefore appeal to readers interested in world Englishes. Over 100 authentic corpus examples are discussed in the text, which will appeal to those who want to see 'real data'


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Academic Paper


Title: Focus Identification in Child Mandarin
Author: Peng Zhou
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.maccs.mq.edu.au/members/profile.html?memberID=222
Institution: Macquarie University
Author: Stephen Crain
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.maccs.mq.edu.au/members/profile.html?memberID=55
Institution: Macquarie University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
Subject Language Family: Sino-Tibetan
Abstract: In this study, we investigated how Mandarin-speaking children and adults interpret focus structures like Zhiyou Yuehan chi-le pingguo 'Only John ate an apple' and Shi Yuehan chi-de pingguo 'It is John who ate an apple'. We found that children tended to associate focus operators zhiyou 'only' and shi 'be' with the verb phrase (VP), whereas adults uniquely associated them with the subject noun phrase (NP). To account for this difference, we propose that children initially treat focus operators as adverbials, thus ending up associating with the VP. In order to assess our proposal, we examined children's understanding of zhiyou-constructions with negation like Zhiyou Yuehan meiyou chi pingguo 'Only John didn’t eat an apple'. It was found that children, like adults, consistently associated the focus operator with the subject NP in this construction. The findings have an important bearing on language learnability, /L/since negation assists children in reaching the adult interpretation.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: To Appear, Journal of Child Language


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