Production of articles and monosyllabic prepositions in early child English : a prosodic account
Children tend to omit functional categories in early language. The present thesis considers the production of such function words as articles and monosyllabic prepositions in child English. The analysis is conducted within a framework of the prosodic account. The development of early articles has received a lot of attention in the literature, while monosyllabic prepositions have not been discussed in detail in previous studies of child English. To examine the issues, spontaneous speech productions of one English child are investigated from the age of 1;10.06 to 2;6.04. The data are drawn from the Manchester corpus in CHILDES. The study reveals that the child’s early articles in footed contexts are realized at a higher rate than those in unfooted contexts. The footed contexts for the following article present a Sw trochaic foot where the article constitutes a weak syllable, while in the unfooted contexts the article falls outside a Sw trochaic pattern typical for English. The results also show that monosyllabic prepositions in nonfinal sentence positions appear to constitute a stressed syllable in the child’s speech. That is supported by the following. In an indirect analysis of article realization in PPs with monosyllabic prepositions, the latter was compared to the realization of articles in straightforward footed and unfooted contexts. The production of articles in the contexts with monosyllabic prepositions showed similar development as that in the other footed contexts. The production of monosyllabic prepositions investigated on their own reveals a high proportion of realizations of the latter in both footed and unfooted contexts. The current study presents evidence for the influence of phonological factors on the production of articles and monosyllabic prepositions in child English, thereby supporting the prosodic account of acquisition of functional categories in early language.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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