April 11: Polina Berezovskaya (Tübingen University) – UiL OTS

We are happy to announce that on Thursday, April 11, Polina Berezovskaya (Tübingen University) will give a LUSH talk in Utrecht entitled A Parametric Approach to the Acquisition of Russian Degree Constructions. We hope to see you all there!

Date: Thursday, April 11, 2013
Time: 15:00 – 17:00
Location: Utrecht, Janskerkhof 13, room 0.06 (Stijlkamer)

As discussed in the literature (Stassen (1985), Beck et al. (2009)), there is considerable cross-linguistic variation in degree constructions with respect to their syntax and semantics. This has consequences for the acquisition of these constructions: a child acquiring degree constructions is guided by the parametric constraints that they are subject to (Snyder (2007)).

This talk will center around the acquisition of Russian degree constructions. With Beck et al.’s parameters of cross-linguistic variation as my starting point, I propose a time course for the acquisition of Russian degree constructions. Furthermore, I will talk about Russian-specific features of degree constructions which also influence the order of acquisition. These specific features are: the distinction between synthetic and analytic forms (e.g. sil’nee (‘stronger’) vs. bolee sil’nyj (‘more strong’)), genitive marked vs. clausal structures in the embedded clause of comparatives (e.g. Katya vyshe Mashi (lit.: ‘Katja taller MashaGEN.’)  vs. Katya vyshe chem Masha (lit.: ‘Katya taller whatINSTR Masha.’ )), cf. Pancheva (2006), and evaluativity (Rett (2008), Krasikova (2009)) in certain Russian degree constructions.

The predictions that arise from (i) the parametric variation with special focus on Russian and (ii) Snyder’s parametric approach to language acquisition have been tested against data collected from a longitudinal corpus study containing data from two children. I will present the results of the corpus study and compare those to the findings of previous studies on the acquisition of English and German degree constructions (Tiemann (2009), Tiemann, Hohaus & Beck (2012)).


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