First language acquisition of compounds

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This chapter discusses early phases of first language acquisition of compounds in German based on longitudinal data of two Austrian children and compares these data to results on compound acquisition in other languages. The first compounds to emerge in German (simultaneously with the emergence of noun and verb inflection and of diminutives) were subordinate and endocentric two-member noun-noun compounds without linking elements. The first correct linking element which emerged later on is -<i>n</i> after word-final schwa of the first member. Order of emergence of compound patterns can be related to factors such as frequency, productivity, morphotactic and morphosemantic transparency. Left-headed and exocentric compounds had not yet emerged in our child speech corpora, and only one coordinate compound appeared.


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