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"Mam, my trousers is fa'in doon!": Community, caregiver, and child in the acquisition of variation in a Scottish dialect

Smith, J., Durham, Mercedes and Fortune, L. 2007. "Mam, my trousers is fa'in doon!": Community, caregiver, and child in the acquisition of variation in a Scottish dialect. Language Variation and Change 19 (1) , pp. 63-99. 10.1017/S0954394507070044

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Abstract

Recent work on acquisition in sociolinguistic research suggests that some aspects of the structured variation found in adult speech are evident in children's speech from the very start of language acquisition, and input from the primary caregiver is crucial in this process. In this article we contribute to this research by conducting a cross-sectional analysis of the acquisition of variable forms in a Scottish dialect. Two linguistic variables are targeted in the speech of eleven children (2;10–3;6) and their primary caregivers. Quantitative analysis of over 5000 contexts of use demonstrates that one variable is conditioned by social and linguistic constraints in the speech of the caregiver and these constraints are matched by the children. In contrast, the other variable is influenced by a complex array of linguistic constraints only. We explore the ramifications of these findings for understanding the mechanisms involved in acquisition of variation from the very earliest stages.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0954-3945
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2017 06:48
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/38669

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Cited 53 times in Web of Science. View in Web of Science.

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