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Competing Motivations in Grammar and Usage$
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Brian MacWhinney, Andrej Malchukov, and Edith Moravcsik

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198709848

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198709848.001.0001

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Competition all the way down: How children learn word order cues to sentence meaning

Competition all the way down: How children learn word order cues to sentence meaning

Chapter:
(p.127) 8 Competition all the way down: How children learn word order cues to sentence meaning
Source:
Competing Motivations in Grammar and Usage
Author(s):

Caroline F. Rowland

Claire Noble

Angel Chan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198709848.003.0008

Most work on competing cues in language acquisition has focused on what happens when cues compete within a certain construction. There has been far less work on what happens when constructions themselves compete. This chapter aims to explore how the acquisition mechanism copes when constructions compete in a language. It presents three experimental studies, all of which focus on the acquisition of the syntactic function of word order as a marker of the Theme–Recipient relation in ditransitives. It concludes that there is not only competition between cues but competition between constructions from the very beginning of the language acquisition process.

Keywords:   competing constructions, competition model, language acquisition, dative alternation, crosslinguistic comparison

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