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The acquisition of agglutinating languages: converging evidence from Tamil*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2009

Parimala Raghavendra
Affiliation:
Purdue University
Laurence B. Leonard
Affiliation:
Purdue University

Abstract

The acquisition of verb inflections in Tamil, an agglutinating language, was investigated in three 2-year-old children. The findings revealed a high percentage use of verb inflections indicating tense, aspect, modality, person, number and gender by all three children. Explanations for this early, almost error-free acquisition are discussed in terms of the facilitating properties of agglutinating languages.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1989

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Footnotes

*

The authors would like to thank M. S. Thirumalai for his valuable suggestions. Special thanks are extended to the three children and their families for their participation in the study. We would also like to thank Richard Schwartz and Jack Gandour for their comments.

References

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Garman, M. (1974). On the acquisition of two complex syntactic constructions in Tamil. Journal of Child Language 1. 6576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schiffman, H. (1979). A grammar of spoken Tamil. Madras: The Christian Literature Society.Google Scholar
Slobin, D. I. (1982). Universal and particular in the acquisition of language. In Wanner, E. & Gleitman, L. R. (eds), Language acquisition: the state of the art. Cambridge: C.U.P.Google Scholar
Slobin, D. I. & Bever, T. (1982). Children use canonical sentence schemas: a crosslinguistic study of word order and inflections. Cognition 12. 229–65.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Thirumalai, M. S. (1972). Some aspects of four-year-plus old stage in the acquisition of Tamil phonology. Journal of All India Institute of Speech and Hearing 3. 719.Google Scholar

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