ERIC Number: ED197614
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Acquisition of Person Markers in Quiche Mayan. Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, Number 19.
The speech of three Quiche Mayan children aged 2;1, 2;9, and 3;0 was monitored for the acquisition of the distinction between ergative and absolutive person markers. The children were found not to confuse markers, but to use either the appropriate one or none at all. The one exception to this rule, when analyzed, indicates that children grasp the distinction between person markers before they produce them in their own speech. Order of acquisition did not follow semantic predictability, nor did frequency order of person markers in adult speech consistently correlate with order of acquisition. Instead, perceptual saliency, as determined by interaction between forms of person markers and rules determining word stress and syllable boundaries, correlated significantly with acquisition order. These findings support a model of language acquisition in which children first produce those parts of utterances that have the greatest degree of perceptual saliency (i.e., that require the least auditory processing), and then move on to the next degree. (JB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Dept. of Linguistics.
Identifiers: Mayan (Quiche); Person (Grammar)