Lexically restricted utterances in Russian, German, and English child-directed speech

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This study investigates the child-directed speech (CDS) of four Russian-, six German, and six English-speaking mothers to their 2-year-old children. Typologically Russian has considerably less restricted word order than either German or English, with German showing more word-order variants than English. This could lead to the prediction that the lexical restrictiveness previously found in the initial strings of English CDS by Cameron-Faulkner, Lieven, and Tomasello (2003) would not be found in Russian or German CDS. However, despite differences between the three corpora that clearly derive from typological differences between the languages, the most significant finding of this study is a high degree of lexical restrictiveness at the beginnings of CDS utterances in all three languages. Copyright © 2009 Cognitive Science Society, Inc. All rights reserved.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-103
Number of pages28
JournalCognitive Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009