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Early verb development in Croatian. SE aus Psycho-/Patholinguistik Tijana Radisavljevic, 12.01.


Croatian is a pro- drop lang. As a typical Slavic language, Croatian is a highly inflecting language. The finite verb agrees with subject in regard to person and number. In analytic tenses (in perfect for example) also AGR in gender, because in Croatian the participles are marked also for gender. Aspect (perfective and imperfective) is expressed derivationally, by suffixes and prefixes. Ex. pre-gled-a-ti/ pregled-av-a-ti

Analyzed corpus for Croatian: Antonijas Corpus (ANT). ZKD (Zagreb Kajkavian Dialect) Dialect characteristics: only perfect as past forms/Future II=Future I/overt pronouns without emphatic interpretation. The analyses include recordings from the age of 1;6.15-2;0, they are made in her home in spontaneous interactions with her mother. The period of about one month, between 1;7 and 1;9, is missing due to family reasons. Transcriptions follow the norms of CHILDES. Emergency of verb forms (general): Finiteness in language acquisition: - English: verbs with and without -s in adult 3rd singular contexts - German: finite verb and root infinitives in adult finite contexts - Croatian: finite verbs from the beginning-no root infinitives phase From the moment on when verbs emerge in ANTs production, their rate is high (a slow decrease at 1;7 before verb usage in general increases). A pick appears in 1;9-connected with a development in ANTs verbal system. The next pick at 2;0-at this point the childs verbal lexicon and inventory of verb forms has expanded. 1;6-1;7.Premorphology1 First verb forms in most cases in this period are present 3rd p., and imperative 2nd p. 3rdp sg.present correspond in Croatian to the base form/default- the least marked form: inf:gled-a2-ti/ 3rd p.present: gleda). In the present, 1st person marking was observed only with 3 verbs: bacim- I throw/ nisam-I am not/necu- I dont want. Plural is found only with formulaic expressions 2 times and only 1 analytic form appeared (perfect). There are also instances where the pronominal subject is overt, but the realized verb does not agree in number and person: ja prima- I receive (3rd p.sg. present), instead ja primam. Infinitives and participles are very rare and strictly context-bound. 3rd forms of present are used also for imperatives. Ex. cita (3rd sg.present) instead of citaj. But in the same session, ANT produces full target form of a phonologically similar verb-cekaj! 1;9-2;0 Protomorphology phase At the age 1;9 the child has entered the protomorphological phase. ANT produces new subcategories, multiword utterances, the rate of the copula is relatively high. From this phase, in addition to 3rd p.sg, ANT uses also other persons, even in imperatives: (1;7,2: cita/ 1;10, 10: citaj). Pl forms remain still rare. First analogical errors appear in this period: hocem instead of hocu. At the age of 1;10.30- 3rd p pl present marking appears with the most frequent suffix ju (two other suffixes are:-u/-e), which results in the erroneous forms: ljubiju instead of the target form ljube. All analytic forms with infinitives (future I) and participles (Future II and perfect) are used spontaneously. Infinitives and participles without corresponding finite verbs are very rare in her production (only as elliptic answers, also used by adults). No gender or number errors on participles have been detected.
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Dressler & Karpf 1995: In this period verb forms appear to be non-analyzed and rote-learnt a-is taken to be either a thematic vowel, ex. rad-i-ti/ radi

In ANTs data, the gender marking on participles are in most cases feminine, presumably because the girl refers to herself or to fem. subject (her mother). Dressler et al. (1996) established 4 major marcoclasses with productive microclasses, where 4a is the most frequent, homogeneous, transparent and productive microclass. Verb classes: In ANTs production, there is a dominance of 2 classes (see table): 1) suppletive and isolated paradigms 2) 2 most transparent and homogeneous classes: 4/a (29% of all tokens) and 3/1/a (7% of all tokens). The preference of morphotactically opaque suppletive and irregular verbs (54% of all tokens) is connected with the extensive use of grammatical verbs, which have high token frequency in the target language, ex. copula and modal or aux. verb htjeti-want. After the age 1;10 the verbal lexicon expands and the amount of verbs belonging to other microclasses grows.

Syntactic usage: 1;6- 1;7.2: first verb forms appear as one-element utterances (gram. verbs: copulas and aux (35%) From 1;7.15- ANT has both one- and two-element utterances. 1;9.15- ANTs production shows striking syntactic development: utterances with more than 3 elements occur. She produces very often pronominal subjects (although Croatian is a pro drop language). From 1;9.15 onwards (except from the session 1;10.21- with 3 agreement errors), generally all finite verbs show person and number agreement, and gender (by participles).The use of grammatical verbs increases-53% grammatical verbs. Adverbs, indirect object pronouns and analytic tense forms emerge: Fut I, ind.obj.- Necu tebi dati- I wont give you. 1;10: constructions with modals and infinitives and the first coordinate clauses appear. 2;0: first relative and subordinated clauses. Qualitative analysis The emergence of mini -paradigms3 is taken to be an indicator for the fact that the child has identified morphology of the target language. At the age of 1;7ANT shows variations of the same lemma (bacim, bacis, bacimo, and the root bac-)as a precursor of mini-paradigms. At 1;9-true mini-paradigms appear. Morphological substitutions Category substitutions- are the most frequent type of substitutions in ANTs data: verbs in their base forms (=3rd pres. Sg) , which is typical for the premorphological period. Analogy After omitting the 1st p. suffix (1;6.15-1;7.27), she starts marking the present in analogy to all verbs with the suffix m (hocem instead of hocu). At 1;10.30 , first 3rd p present forms appear with verbs from class 3/1/a, which require changing of the thematic vowel i and addition of the suffix

They have to show up in contrastive contexts and have a clear category specification, i.e. three-types of the same lemma.

e: nositi, nosim, nose. Verbs in 3rd p pl present, she adds by analogy the suffix: -ju (ljubiju instead of ljube) and treats them like verbs belonging to more transparent classes (4/1, ex. gledati, gledam, gledaju). The copula in child language Some languages (ex. English, German, and Croatian): copula obligatory. Some languages allow primary predication without an overt copula (ex. Russian), where non-existential predication cases, the copula byt is not expressed in the present tense: Direktor v otpuske- Boss on holiday The boss is on holiday. - child English and German: predication structures without a copula. From German corpuses (Nico and Paul), the coexistence of copula and copulaless predication structures falls in the same period as the coexistence of finite verbs and root infinitives. - child Croatian: no predication structures without a copula The copula is obligatory in Croatian. Generally, copulaless predication structures are rare and stylistically marked in the target language, ex. In an idiom: Sve uzalud -Everything in vain. There are clitic (fixed to the 2nd position), strong (emphatic interpretation) and negated forms of the verb biti to be /ne biti not to be : Ex. 1.sg. sam-jesam-nisam (clitic-strong-negated) Analysis from ANTs corpus: Copula constructions are present from the beginning of the two-word stage. No omissions of the copula at all. Furthermore, ANT corrects herself when she skips the copula, ex: to kajun - to je kajun [: klaun] /that clown - that is-CL clown That is a clown Ant10 (1;9.15) Antonijas usage of the copula conforms to the regularities of the target language (contextual use of clitic, emphatic or negated forms, clitic placement, subject and verb agreement). The dominance of enclitic forms indicates that the child chooses enclitic forms for the neutral (non-emphatic) affirmative contexts.
Bibliography: 1. Czinglar C. & Khler K. (2002). The Copula in First Language Acquisition: A Comparison between German and Croatian Child Language. Joint work by Christine Czinglar, Katharina Khler, Antigone Katicic & Chris Schaner-Wolles University of Vienna & Austrian Academy of Sciences 2. Czinglar, C., Katiid A., Khler K., Schaner-Wolles C. (2006). Strategies in the L1-acquisition of predication: The copula construction in German and Croatian. In: N. Gagarina & I. Glzow. eds. Verb grammar in the early stages of language acquisition. Dordrecht: Springer, 71-104. 3. Dressler W. & Karpf A. (1995). The theoretical relevance of pre- and protomorphology in language acquisition. Yearbook of Morphology 1994: 99-122 4. Dressler W., Dziubalska-Kolaczyk K., Katicic A (1996). A contrastive analysis of verbal inflection classes in Polish and Croatian. Suvremena Lingvistika 22: 127-138 5. Katicic, Antigone (1997). Zum Erstspracherwerb des Kroatischen: Morphologische und syntaktische Aspekte beim Erwerb des Verbalsystems. M.A. Thesis. University of Vienna. 6. Katicic, Antigona & Chris Schaner-Wolles (2001). Subjekt i predikat u usvajanju hrvatskoga jezika. Paper presented at Psycholinguistics and Cognitive Science in Croatian Applied Linguistics. 15. Jahrestagung der Croatian Applied Linguistics Society (Hrvatsko drutvo za primjenjenu lingvistiku), Opatija im Mai 2001. 7. Katiid, Antigone (2003). Early Verb Development in one Croatian Speaking Child. In Dagmar Bittner, Wolfgang U. Dressler & Marianne Kilani-Schoch (eds.), Development of Verb Inflection in First Language Acquisition. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter 8. MacWhinney B. (2011). The CHILDES Project: Tools for Analyzing Talk-Electronic Edition.Carnegie Mellon University. http://childes.psy.cmu.edu/ 9. Schaner-Wolles C. (2001).Vom Umgang mit erstspracherwerbsdaten. Erschienen in: Gruber, Helmut & Florian Menz (Hrsg.) Interdisziplinaritt in der Angewandten Sprachwissenschaft. Methodenmen oder Methodensalat? Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang, 223-249