The discourse basis of the Korean copula construction in acquisition

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This chapter examines the discourse foundations of the Korean copula construction as it is acquired by two young children in interaction with their mothers. The findings suggest that the construction develops through gradual generalization of an initially limited set of context-specific structural schemas, and that it is profoundly sensitive to discourse factors throughout the course of development. From the outset, the realization and form of the construction’s components are shaped by the functions it serves (e.g., labeling vs. describing), the discourse-pragmatic properties of referents (e.g., given vs. new information), the interactional roles of participants (e.g., questioner vs. respondent), and the ideologies (e.g., child as conversational partner, mother as tutor and playmate) that motivate particular types of caregiver-child activities and talk.


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