"Mam, ma troosers is fa'in doon!" Community, caregiver and child in the acquisition of variation in Scottish dialect

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

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0954394507070044


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:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Smith, Professor Jennifer and Durham, Ms Mercedes
Authors: Smith, J., Durham, M., and Fortune, L.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Journal Name:Language Variation and Change
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2007 Cambridge University Press
First Published:First published in Language Variation and Change 19(1):63-99
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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