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Academic Paper


Title: The influence of input on connective acquisition: a growth curve analysis of English because and German weil
Author: Rosie van Veen
Institution: Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS
Author: Jacqueline Evers-Vermeul
Institution: Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS
Author: Ted Sanders
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS
Author: Huub van den Bergh
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.let.uu.nl/~Huub.vandenBergh/
Institution: Universiteit Utrecht
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language: English
German
Abstract: The current study used growth curve analysis to study the role of input during the acquisition of the English causal connective because and its German counterpart weil. The corpora of five German and five English children and their adult caretakers (age range 0;10–4;3) were analyzed for the amount as well as for the type of connective use – imitated, elicited, and independent. The growth curves showed that children's elicited use developed faster than their independent use; imitations were rare. Adult connective input was not found to function as a scaffold of children's connective use. Rather, the adult why/warum-questions played an important role in the acquisition of because and weil. In turn, children also used why/warum-questions to elicit causal responses from their caretakers, which shows that children were responsible for a great part of their own input.

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This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 40, Issue 5, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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