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Identifying formulas in first language acquisition*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 September 2008

Tina Hickey*
Affiliation:
Linguistics Institute of Ireland
*
Institiúid Teangeolaíochta Éireann/Linguistics Institute of Ireland, 31 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2, Ireland.

Abstract

With the increase in interest in formulas, or apparently non-productive utterances in children's speech, a range of definitions has emerged and sometimes conflicting criteria have been proposed for their identification. These definitions of formulas are compared, and the criteria of Brown (1973), Wong Fillmore (1976), Peters (1983) and Plunkett (1990) for the recognition of formulas are reviewed. A preference rule System is proposed, which distinguishes necessary, typical and graded conditions for the recognition of formulas. Using these conditions, some of the formulas found in the data of one child acquiring Irish between 1;4 and 2;1 are examined. Issues such as length of units, frequency of occurrence and appropriateness of use are discussed. The methods developed in this study could be used to assess the importance of formulas in the language acquisition of other children.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1993

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Footnotes

[*]

Earlier versions of this article were presented at the Ninth World Congress of the International Association of Applied Linguistics (AILA) 1990 and the Fifth International Congress for the Study of Child Language 1990. I am grateful to Michael Garman, Bernard Spolsky and other conference participants for their comments.

References

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