Adverbs of degree children spoken language and written language
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Adverbs of Degree : Children , spoken language and written language. Jack Hoeksema Symposium on the Role of Frequency and Function in Language Development. Principle of Contrast.

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Adverbs of degree children spoken language and written language

Adverbs of Degree: Children, spoken language and writtenlanguage

Jack Hoeksema

Symposium on the Role of Frequency and Function in LanguageDevelopment


Principle of contrast
Principle of Contrast

  • Speakers assumethateverydifference in formsignals a difference in meaning (Eve V. Clark, ‘The principle of contrast: a constraint on language acquisition.’ In: Brian MacWhinney (ed.), 1987, Mechanisms of language acquisition, 1-33. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum.)


What is maximally in conflict with this
What is maximally in conflict withthis?


Examples
examples

  • Ik ben een beetje/wat/ietsje/enigszins moe

    I am a bit/somewhat/a tad/a wee bit tired

  • Ik ben nogal/vrij/tamelijk moe

    I amrather/pretty/reasonablytired

  • Ik ben heel/erg/zeer/ontzettend moe

    I amvery/extremely/trulytired

  • Ik ben volkomen/totaal/helemaal nuchter

    I amtotally/completely/entirely sober


Why so much variation
Whysomuchvariation?

  • Degreelevels: low/mid/high/absolute

  • Stylisticlevels: lowbrow/highbrow/neutral

  • Polarity: negativepolarity items, positivepolarity items, neutral items

  • Syntacticcombinatorics: You are verylovely, I loveyouverymuch/He is verymuch a loner /I don’tlikehimmuch

  • Semantic/lexicalrestrictions: verypossible / *a bit possible / *ratherpossible / quitepossible

  • Phonologicalrestrictions: highly intelligent / *highly smart / highlyunlikely / *highly fat (# syllables > 1)


Why now and not in 1600
Whynow, and not in 1600?

  • Emergence of writtenlanguages

  • And literacy

  • Withvariouswritingstyles

  • And a stylisticrequirement to avoidrepitition of words


Dutch high degree adverbs written data hoeksema 2005 spoken de jong 1979
Dutch high degreeadverbs(written data: Hoeksema 2005; spoken: De Jong 1979)


Most common degree adverbs in dutch
Most commondegreeadverbs in Dutch

Written

Spoken


Childes data abel and iris
Childes data: Abel and Iris


Een beetje
(een) beetje

Abel 2-8-13

150 *GER: en ben je wel een beetje uitgeslapen ?

151 *CHI: ja, ben beetje uitgelapen.

152 *GER: ja .

153 *GER: was je een beetje moe ?

154 *CHI: ja, beetje moe .


Beetje ctnd
Beetje (ctnd)

Abel 2-10-00

523 *GER: ik haal deze een beetje uit elkaar, ok ?

524 *CHI: ja, beetje aan mekaar .

526 *GER: nee, uit elkaar juist .

527 *CHI: oh .


heel

2-04-09 ABEL

900 *CHI: Falko heel hard chaatsen .

901 *JEA: hij kan heel hard schaatsen .

902 *CHI: heel schaatsen .

903 *GER: hij kan heel hard schaatsen .


Repeats ignored in data
Repeats (ignored in data)

Abel 3-0-23

1120 *CHI: hou de toren maar even vast .

1121 *GER: ja, dat doe ik .

1122 *GER: hij staat niet heel erg stevig .

1123 *CHI: hij staat niet erg stevig .


High degree vs absolute
High degreevs absolute

ABEL 3-4-1

583 *CHI: ik heb alleen maar xx weg .

584 *CHI: <ik heb> [//] ik ben heel weg .

585 *GER: waar ga je naartoe ?

586 *CHI: ik ga naar Artis .

587 *GER: naarArtis ?

588 *CHI: ja .


Veel vs heel
Veel vs heel

IRIS 3-6-15

448 *CHI: babyrups ət heel groter moet worden .

449 *FLO: ik [/] ik vind (he)t ook wel (ee)n mooie lange babyrups hoor .

450 *CHI: ja .



Adult degree adverbs in the abel iris files
Adultdegreeadverbs in the Abel/Iris files


Written data vs child language
Written data vschildlanguage


Children and caretakers
Children and caretakers

Children

Caretakers


C onclusions
Conclusions

  • Childrenaged 2 to 3 by and large stick to the Principle of Contrast

  • Despitelots of variants in their input

  • Theylackmidleveladverbs notexplainedbyprinciple of contrast, strictlyspeaking

  • Midleveladverbsfarlesscommon in child-oriented speech than in adultoriented speech

  • Choice of degreemodifiersdeterminedbyfrequency in the input



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