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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Optional elements and variant structures in the productions of bei2 ‘to give’ dative constructions in Cantonese-speaking adults and three-year-old children
Author: Anita M. Y. Wong
Institution: University of Hong Kong
Author: Dorcas C. Chow
Institution: University of Hong Kong
Author: Catherine Mcbride-Cheng
Institution: Chinese University of Hong Kong
Author: Stephanie F. Stokes
Institution: University of Canterbury
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Syntax
Subject Language: Chinese, Yue
Abstract: To express object transfer, Cantonese-speakers use a ‘ditransitive’ ([V–R–T] or [V–T–R] where V=Verb, T=Theme, R=Recipient), or a more complex prepositional/serial-verb (P/SV) construction. Clausal elements in Cantonese datives can be optional (resulting in ‘full’ versus ‘non-full’ forms) or appear in variant orders (full non-canonical and full canonical). We report on usage of dative constructions with the word bei2 ‘to give’ in 86 parents and 53 three-year-old children during conversations. The parents used more P/SV than ditransitive bei2-datives, and vice versa for the children. Both groups showed a similar usage pattern of optional elements and variant structures in their ditransitive and P/SV bei2-datives. The roles of multiple construction types, optional elements and variant structures in children's learning of bei2-dative constructions are described.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 37, Issue 1.

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