The Acquisition of Diminutives
A cross-linguistic perspective
This cross-linguistic volume innovates research of the acquisition of diminutives in the inflecting-fusional languages Lithuanian, Russian, Croatian, Greek, Italian, Spanish, German and Dutch, the agglutinating languages Turkish, Hungarian and Finnish and in the introflecting Hebrew. These languages differ in various aspects relevant for the acquisition of diminutives and the development of pragmatics in early child language. Diminutive formation often tends to be the first pattern of word formation to emerge. The main reason for this seems to lie in the pragmatic functions of endearment, empathy, and sympathy, which make diminutives particularly appropriate for child-centred communication. A main topic of this book is the relation of emergence and early development between diminutives and other categories of word formation and inflection. The greater degree of morphological productivity and transparency, as well as phonological saliency, favors the use of diminutives. In this case diminutives may facilitate the acquisition of inflection.