The nature of CDS in Hebrew

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The chapter explores the distribution and content of frequent frames – recurring multiword sequences – appearing at the start of utterances in speech directed to young Hebrew-speaking children. Previous work has documented the existence and prevalence of such frames in several languages (English, German, and Russian). Here, analysis of a dense corpus of Hebrew child-directed speech was undertaken with two goals in mind. The first aims at examining the distribution of multiword elements in Hebrew child-directed speech, to ascertain whether frequent frames are found in a morphologically rich language like Hebrew and, if so, to see how pervasive they are compared to other languages, and how consistent across different caretakers. The second goal is to explore the content of frequent frames in Hebrew to address such questions as: Do they provide children with relevant morphological and syntactic information? Are they frequent enough to be employed in learning? Results show that frequent frames do occur in Hebrew, that they are relatively consistent across caretakers, and that they illustrate a range of grammatical relations. These findings expand our understanding of frequent frames in general, while also adding to the relatively sparse information on the nature of child-directed speech in Hebrew.


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