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Japanese Children’s Acquisition of the Accusative Case: Evidence for an Interim Stage Preceding Morphological Case Acquisition

Iwasaki, Noriko (2007) 'Japanese Children’s Acquisition of the Accusative Case: Evidence for an Interim Stage Preceding Morphological Case Acquisition.' In: Shirai, Hidetoshi and Kagakukai, Gengo, (eds.), Studies in language sciences; 6. Tokyo: Kuroshio Shuppan, pp. 77-94.

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Abstract

This study investigates the acquisition of the accusative marker o and case-marker drop among 2- to 3-year old Japanese children. Experiment 1 tested children’s comprehension of ga, o, and case-marker drop (indicated as ‘Ø’ below) in Wh-questions and that of ga and o in Yes/No questions. The results indicate that, while many children tended to incorrectly interpret both NP-o and NP-Ø as the agent of actions, children who correctly interpreted NP-o as patient also tended to correctly interpret NP-Ø as patient. Children in the latter group appeared to have syntactic knowledge of case-marker drop. Experiment 2 additionally used a pseudo-particle, –u, in order to test whether children who correctly interpret NP-o and NP-Ø as patient (1) have a knowledge of morphological case (the accusative case-marker o) as well as the syntactic constraints of its drop, or (2) have partial knowledge of the case-markers and grammatical relations (along with knowledge of the syntactic constraints of case-marker drop). Results indicate that some of the children in the current study can be characterized as (2). This is taken as evidence that there is a stage where children have come to understand the grammatical functions of case-markers without having a fully developed knowledge of morphological case.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of Linguistics
ISBN: 9784874243817
Depositing User: Noriko Iwasaki
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2009 10:16
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/6442

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