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How Known Constructions Influence the Acquisition of Other Constructions: The German Passive and Future Constructions

Abbot-Smith, Kirsten, Behrens, Heike (2006) How Known Constructions Influence the Acquisition of Other Constructions: The German Passive and Future Constructions. Cognitive Science, 30 (6). pp. 995-1026. ISSN 0364-0213. (doi:10.1207/s15516709cog0000_61) (KAR id:25329)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s15516709cog0000_61

Abstract

This article suggests evidence for and reasons why prior acquisition may either facilitate or inhibit

acquisition of a new construction. It investigates acquisition of the German passive and future constructions

which contain a lexical verb with either the auxiliary sein “to be” or werden “to become,” and are

related through these to potential supporting constructions. We predicted that a supported construction

should be acquired earlier, faster, and unusually rapidly. An inhibited construction should show an extended

depressed usage.We analyzed a dense corpus of a German boy between 2;0 and 5;0. He acquired

the sein- before the werden-passive. The former was supported by his prior acquisition of the sein copula,

whereas the werden-passive itself supported one werden copula construction. He acquired the

werden-future extremely slowly due to the hindrance of a semantically identical construction. These results

fit with an emergentist approach in which apparently “sudden” acquisition is still due to gradual

learning mechanisms.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1207/s15516709cog0000_61
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Kirsten Abbot-Smith
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2010 14:01 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:03 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/25329 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Abbot-Smith, Kirsten: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8623-0664
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