Rosie van Veen, J. Evers-Vermeul, T. Sanders
Aug 1, 2009
In this study, the influence of parental input on the acquisition of discourse connectives was investigated. Three factors were hypothesized to play a role in contributing to the course of language acquisition: first, an increase in age, and hence, an increase in conceptual abilities; second, short-term frequency effects (effects of parental input in the space of one recording); and third, long-term frequency effects (effects of the cumulative parental input over a longer period of time). The authors developed a growth curve analysis and used this to analyze data from a dense longitudinal corpus of a German boy aged 1;11.12—2;11.27. Results show that each factor has a significant effect on the acquisition of the German connectives aber `but,' damit `so that,' und `and,' weil `because,' and wenn `when' and should always be taken into account when studying connective acquisition. Furthermore, growth curve analysis promises to be an innovative tool to study factors influencing the course of language acquisition.