Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

Answers without Questions: The Emergence of Fragments in Child Language

Jonathan Ginzburg and Dimitra Kolliakou
Journal of Linguistics
Vol. 45, No. 3 (Nov., 2009), pp. 641-673
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40343761
Page Count: 33
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($34.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Answers without Questions: The Emergence of Fragments in Child Language
Preview not available

Abstract

Non-sentential utterances (NSUs), utterances that lack an overt verbal (more generally predicative) constituent, are common in adult speech. This paper presents the results of a corpus study of the emergence of certain classes of NSUs in child language, based primarily on data from the Manchester Corpus from CHILDES. Our principal finding is the LATE SHORT QUERY EFFECT: the main classes of non-sentential queries (NSQs) are acquired much later than non-sentential answers (NSAs). At a stage when the child has productive use of sentential queries, and has mastered elliptical declaratives and the polar lexemes 'yes' and 'no', non-sentential questions are virtually absent. This happens despite the fact that such questions are common in the speech of the child's caregivers and that the contexts are ones which should facilitate the production of such NSUs. We argue that these results are intrinsically problematic for analyses of NSUs in terms of a single, generalized mechanism of phonological reduction, as standard in generative grammar. We show how to model this effect within an approach of DIALOGUE-ORIENTED CONSTRUCTIONISM, wherein NSUs are grammatical words or constructions whose main predicate is a contextual parameter resolved in a manner akin to indexical terms, the relevant aspect of context being the discourse topic. We sketch an explanation for the order of acquisition of NSUs, based on a notion which combines accessibility of contextual parameters and complexity of content construction.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
641
    641
  • Thumbnail: Page 
642
    642
  • Thumbnail: Page 
643
    643
  • Thumbnail: Page 
644
    644
  • Thumbnail: Page 
645
    645
  • Thumbnail: Page 
646
    646
  • Thumbnail: Page 
647
    647
  • Thumbnail: Page 
648
    648
  • Thumbnail: Page 
649
    649
  • Thumbnail: Page 
650
    650
  • Thumbnail: Page 
651
    651
  • Thumbnail: Page 
652
    652
  • Thumbnail: Page 
653
    653
  • Thumbnail: Page 
654
    654
  • Thumbnail: Page 
655
    655
  • Thumbnail: Page 
656
    656
  • Thumbnail: Page 
657
    657
  • Thumbnail: Page 
658
    658
  • Thumbnail: Page 
659
    659
  • Thumbnail: Page 
660
    660
  • Thumbnail: Page 
661
    661
  • Thumbnail: Page 
662
    662
  • Thumbnail: Page 
663
    663
  • Thumbnail: Page 
664
    664
  • Thumbnail: Page 
665
    665
  • Thumbnail: Page 
666
    666
  • Thumbnail: Page 
667
    667
  • Thumbnail: Page 
668
    668
  • Thumbnail: Page 
669
    669
  • Thumbnail: Page 
670
    670
  • Thumbnail: Page 
671
    671
  • Thumbnail: Page 
672
    672
  • Thumbnail: Page 
673
    673