The Acquisition of Complex Sentences by Holger Diessel

By Holger Diessel

This new and pathbreaking examine offers the 1st ever finished account of ways little ones gather complicated sentences. Drawing on observational information, Holger Diessel investigates the spontaneous speech of English-speaking young children elderly among and 5, reading the purchase of infinitival and participial supplement clauses, finite supplement clauses, finite and non-finite relative clauses, and co-ordinate clauses. His research indicates that straightforward, non-embedded sentences progressively evolve into biclausal buildings, and that various developmental pathways could be individual: supplement and relative clauses evolve from easy sentences which are elevated to a number of clause buildings; and adverbial and co-ordinate clauses increase from easy sentences which are built-in right into a particular biclausal unit. He argues that the purchase approach depends upon quite a few components: the frequency of a number of the complicated sentences within the ambient language, the complexity of the rising buildings, the communicative services of complicated sentences, and the kid's social-cognitive improvement.

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Chomsky 1995:4) Note that the elimination of constructions includes structures such as the passive, which have always been treated as constructions in linguistic theory. e. Minimalism). They are derived from a small number 16 The Acquisition of Complex Sentences of linguistic primitives and some general grammatical rules. The only exceptions are idiomatic expressions, which obviously do not abide by general rules. However, since idioms have the status of words in generative grammar, they do not undermine the general principle that grammar is strictly compositional in this approach.

The similarity between constructions is one important factor determining productivity in this approach (cf. Elman et al. 1996; Diessel and Tomasello 2004). e. restricted to particular types in certain situations). Apart from similarity, the productivity of a constructional schema is determined by the number of expressions that are related to a particular schema: the more types of expressions are linked to a constructional schema, the more productive is its use (cf. MacWhinney 1978; Bybee 1985, 1995).

The frequent use of prefabricated chunks is one of the features that distinguishes the speech of native speakers from the speech of second language learners (cf. Pawley and Syder 1983). The speech of second language learners 22 The Acquisition of Complex Sentences often sounds unnatural, even if it is grammatical, because second language learners usually do not have enough communicative experience to know the prefabricated chunks that are characteristic of everyday speech. Although the expressions in (6) are in accordance with general schematic representations, they are not derived on-line by means of constructional schemas; rather, native speakers access these structures directly without activating the corresponding schemas.

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