Semantics and morphology : the acquisition of grammatical gender in Russian
The dissertation investigates how Russian children acquire the category of grammatical gender in their mother tongue. The focus of the study is on several specific classes of nouns whose gender is usually derived from their semantic rather than their morphological properties, e.g. papa ‘daddy’. Previously, such nouns have been found to be problematic for children acquiring various languages. This dissertation presents the results of acquisition experiments with 37 Russian-speaking children and provides novel evidence suggesting that between the ages of 2½ and 6 the children are rather sensitive to the noun’s form. Special attention in the dissertation is paid to the asymmetries in children’s agreement production with various classes of nouns. The detailed analysis of the experimental results reveals that children distinguish classes of nouns and that primary linguistic data play an important role in this process.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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