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Language comprehension and language use of verb forms in children aged 2 to 4

Tatjana Glavan (2022) Language comprehension and language use of verb forms in children aged 2 to 4. MSc thesis.

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    Inflection of words is a morphological process in which we change the form of a word, its lexical meaning remains the same. The inflection of a verb is called conjugation, and in most languages, it changes its form according to tense, and must match the subject in person and number. The process of acquiring morphological rules of language is influenced by the characteristics of morphemes and the resulting typology of language. Due to morphological differences between languages, children are exposed to different language systems that they have to learn, which makes it difficult to transfer findings from one language to another. The field of acquisition of verb forms is variously researched among languages, with research on language production predominating the field. For the Slovene language, there is little research that has studied the morphological development of children, few have analysed the acquisition of verb forms in more detail, while research on language comprehension has not been found. Difficulties in acquiring verb forms, especially verb tense, can also be an indicator of problems in language development. In the empirical part, we performed a quantitative and qualitative analysis of language comprehension and production of verb forms between 2 and 4 years of age with an emphasis on verb tense (present and past). We included 5 two-year-olds (2;1-2;8) and 6 three-year-olds (3;4-3;8) in the sample. The data were obtained with the help of the Slovenian pilot version of the instrumentation New Reynell Developmental Language Scale (NRDLS-SI), which consists of the Comprehension Scale and the Production Scale. In the master’s thesis, we analysed the results of children in section E, which tests the language comprehension and production of verb forms on both scales, with an emphasis on the present and past tense. The results showed that three-year-olds achieved a significantly higher result than two-year-olds in both the task of language comprehension and the task of language production. The three-year-olds also achieved a significantly higher result in the language comprehension of the present and the past tense, and especially in the production of the past tense, but not in the production of the present tense. The analysis within each group showed that two-year-olds achieved significantly better results in the task of language comprehension than in the task of language production, which was not the case for three-year-olds, but they came very close to this. A more detailed analysis with respect to verb tense, showed that none of the groups were better at language comprehension and production of the present than the past tense. Since the past tense is a compound verb form compared to the present tense and appears later in the language production of children, this finding was surprising, especially in two-year-olds. We assume that this is due to the small and unbalanced number of test cases for each time. Qualitative analysis of the answers to the task of language production showed that two-year-olds most often, especially in the past tense, did not give an answer. The most common mistake in both groups was to omit the auxiliary verb be in the past tense, lexical verb substitution occurred several times, while agreement errors were few. We also found individual cases of overgeneralization errors when one of the children formed verb forms that do not exist in Slovene.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: inflectional morphology, verb forms, language comprehension, language production, present tense, past tense
    Number of Pages: 67
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Damjana KogovšekMentor
    asist. dr. Jerneja Novšak BrceComentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/peflj/115906819
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 7293
    Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2022 06:55
    Last Modified: 21 Jul 2022 06:55
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/7293

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