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The Acquisition of Ergativity in Samoan

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Title:The Acquisition of Ergativity in Samoan
Authors:Muagututia, Grant
Keywords:linguistics
Date Issued:01 Sep 2017
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Department of Linguistics
Citation:Muagututia, Grant. 2017. The Acquisition of Ergativity in Samoan. University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Working Papers in Linguistics 48(5).
Series:University of Hawai‘I at Mānoa Working Papers in Linguistics
Abstract:What little research there is on the acquisition of ergativity focuses on morphological ergativity (Ochs 1982; Bavin and Stoll 2013). This paper investigates the acquisition of ergativity in Samoan, which exhibits both morphological (case) and syntactic (relative clauses) ergativity. The results of two experiments (picture description; children, adolescents and adult controls) show that both morphological and syntactic ergativity is acquired rather late. Experiment 1 (case) revealed that children only produce the ergative case-marker 32% of the time. Remaining responses involved alternative strategies such as using an intransitive/control verb. Experiment 2 (relative clauses) revealed that in producing Object-relatives, children made errors 15% of the time, but produced the target form only 31% of the time. However, with (transitive) subject-relatives, accuracy exceeded 60%. Adolescents were adult-like in all respects. We conclude that morphological and syntactic ergativity is acquired by roughly age 8yrs.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/73267
Rights:Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License
Volume:2017
Appears in Collections: Working Papers in Linguistics - 2017


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