The acquisition of split-ergative case marking in Kurmanji Kurdish

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This study examines the acquisition of split-ergative case marking in Kurmanji Kurdish, a language undergoing a shift in its case marking system, resulting in variable and inconsistent input to children. Data include naturalistic speech samples from a 12-month period from children (n = 12) from three age groups, 1;6, 2;6, and 3;6, and their caregivers (n = 41) and results from an Agent-Patient test. Descriptive and statistical analyses focus on adult patterns and children’s production at different ages. Results suggest that there are variable patterns in how adults use case. The children first use ergative case as early as 2;0 and show evidence of use of case and verbal agreement features productively repeated by 2;6. At these early ages, children use similar patterns to caregivers.


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