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The emergence of linguistic productivity

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  1. The emergence of linguistic productivity Holger Diessel University of Jena holger.diessel@uni-jena.de http://www.holger-diessel.de/

  2. Linguistic productivity Language is productive. What underlies the productive use of language? Standard answer: A linguistic rule. What exactly is a rule?

  3. The acquisition of the English past tense • What is linguistic productivity (or what is a linguistic rule)? • How does linguistic productivity emerge?

  4. Overgeneralization errors buy  buyedhit  hittedbring  bringedgo  goed (wented)foot  foots (feets)child(ren)  childrens

  5. Overgeneralization errors 1. Children produce the correct forms: went, kissed, saw 2. Children overgeneralize the regular past tense form: ringed, sayed. But only 2% of all irregular verbs are regularized. Great variability. 3. Children produce the correct forms.

  6. U-shaped development Overgeneralizations (2%) correct (2,6) correct (3;5)

  7. Berko (1958) The wug test This is a wug.Now there is another one. There are two of them.There are two __ . 6-7 year olds

  8. Berko 1958 This is a man who knows how to rick.He is ricking. He did the same thing yesterday.What did he do yesterday?Yesterday he __ .

  9. Berko 1958

  10. Berko 1958

  11. Berko 1958

  12. Berko 1958 • Performance is not consistent. • Forms with [@d] are less often regularized than forms with [t] and [d]. • Real irregular English verb forms (i.e. ring) are less often regularized.

  13. Rules What did the children learn? -> A linguistic rule. What is a linguistic rule? Linguistic rules are often compared to mathematical equations or commands in a programming language: (4 x 3) + 5 = 17<table border="0" cellspacing=5 cellpadding=5>

  14. Rules phonological rule /t/ → [th] / #_ phrase structure rule NP → DET (ADJ) N semantic rule "x [Student(x) -> Talks(x)] morphological rule V + [ed] = PAST sing -> sang read -> read sleep -> slept go -> went ring-ed cutt-ed go-ed went-ed Rules + performance factors

  15. Bybee, Joan and Dan Slobin. 1982. Rules and schemas in the development and use of the English past tense. Language 58: 265-289

  16. Bybee and Slobin 1982 The overgeneralization rate is determined by two factors: (1) Frequency (2) Phonetic form (=similarity)

  17. Bybee and Slobin 1982 Hypotheses: (1) Infrequent irregular verbs will be regularized more often than frequent irregular verbs. (2) Irregular verbs that are phonetically similar to regular verbs are regularized less frequently than irregular verbs that are phonetically different from regular verbs.

  18. Bybee and Slobin 1982 Children (1,5-5,0) Spontaneous production data This is a girl who knows how to __ . She is __ing. She did the same thing yesterday. What did she do yesterday? Yesterday she __ .

  19. Bybee and Slobin 1982 School children (8,9-10,1) When I get a ballon, I always blow it up. Yesterday I __ . Adults Elicitation of past tense forms under time pressure: 90 irregular verbs and 270 regular verbs

  20. Bybee and Slobin 1982 Infrequent verbs were more often regularized than infrequent ones. Since frequent verbs are deeply entrenched in memory, they are less likely to change.

  21. Bybee and Slobin 1982 Irregular verbs that are phonetically similar to regular verbs are less frequently regularized than irregular verbs that are phonetically different from regular verbs.

  22. Bybee and Slobin 1982 1. Verbs that do not change at all: beat-beat, cut-cut 2. Verbs that change a final [d] to [t]: send-sent, build-built 3. Verbs that change the stem vowel and end in [t/d]: bite-bit, find-found 4. Verbs that change the stem vowel and a final [d] to [t]: feel-felt, lose-lost 5. Verbs that change the stem vowel, delete a final C, and add [t]: bring-brought 6. Verbs that change [I] to [{] or [ö]: sing-sang, sting-stung 7. Verbs that change the stem vowel in other ways: give-gave, break-broke 8. Verbs that change a final diphthong: blow-blew, fly-flew

  23. Bybee and Slobin 1982

  24. Bybee and Slobin 1982 • Addition of an alveolar plosive [t/d] in the past • The occurrence of an alveolar plosive [t/d] in the past and present • The occurrence of a stem vowel change

  25. Bybee and Slobin 1982

  26. Bybee and Slobin 1982

  27. Bybee and Slobin 1982

  28. Bybee and Slobin 1982 • Type 1. Verbs that form the past tense by a changing stem vowel and the addition of [t/d]. • Type 2. Verbs that end in both present and past in an alveolar plosive [t/d]. • Type 3. Verbs that form the past tense by a changing stem vowel and do not end in [t/d].

  29. Bybee and Slobin 1982

  30. Bybee and Slobin 1982

  31. Bybee and Slobin 1982

  32. Bybee and Slobin 1982 Why are type 1 verbs less frequently regularized than the two other types of verbs? walk walked

  33. Bybee and Slobin 1982 Why are type 1 verbs less frequently regularized than the two other types of verbs? walk feel walked felt

  34. Bybee and Slobin 1982 Why are type 2 verbs less often regularized than type 3 verbs? walk walked

  35. Bybee and Slobin 1982 Why are type 2 verbs less often regularized than type 3 verbs? walk find walked found

  36. Bybee and Slobin 1982 Why are type 2 verbs less often regularized than type 3 verbs? walk sing walked sang

  37. Bybee and Slobin 1982 Why are type 2 verbs less often regularized than type 3 verbs? walk sing walked sanged

  38. Bybee and Slobin 1982 More than 80% of verbs such as see, fly, blow were regularized. Why?

  39. Bybee and Slobin 1982 Matching problem “The phonological clue which the child can use in matching base with past is the consonantal structure of the verb. … Some verbs offer more consonantal structure than others, and would therefore be easier to master.” (277)

  40. Bybee, Joan and Carol L. Modor. 1983. Morphological classes as natural categories. Language 59: 251-270.

  41. Bybee and Modor 1983 /n/ spin spun/Î/ cling clungfling flung* sling slung* sting stung* string strung* swing swung wring wrung hang hung*/Îk/ slink slunk/k/ stick stuck strike struck*/g/ dig dug* [ö]-class

  42. Bybee and Modor 1983 /m/ swim swam swum come came come/n/ begin began begun run ran run/Î/ ring rang rung* sing sang sung spring sprang sprung/Îk/ drink drank drunk shrink shrank shrunksink sank sunk stink stank stunk [æ]-class

  43. Bybee and Modor 1983 Subjects: adult speakersItems: 93 nonce words 16 real verbsTechnique: Elicitation of past tense under time pressure

  44. Bybee and Modor 1983 Examples: sking strin flink streak meek skung skinged strun strinned flinked flunk streaked struck meeked muck

  45. Bybee and Modor 1983 • Stem vowel • Initial consonant cluster • Final consonant cluster

  46. Bybee and Modor 1983 Stem vowel:Verbs including [I] are more likely to form irregular past tense forms /like sing-sang) than verbs including other stem vowels. flink flunk gleak gloke

  47. Bybee and Modor 1983 Initial consonants + [I] stem vowel

  48. Bybee and Modor 1983 Final consonants + [I] stem vowel

  49. Bybee and Modor 1983 Real verbs