7. A longitudinal study of the acquisition of diminutives in Dutch

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The acquisition of diminutives in the language of three Dutch-speaking children from the Netherlands is described on the basis of longitudinal observational data between the age of 21 and 36 months. It is shown that diminutives occur early, i.e. in the first stage of vocabulary development, and that the frequency of diminutives is high and increases over time. The language of the parents does not shown such a development, but they seem to provide more diminutive lemmas in the first stages of diminutive acquisition. Furthermore, a higher occurrence of diminutives is found in child directed speech than in adult speech. The allomorphs that occur in child directed speech are used with relative similar frequency in child speech, except for certain low frequent ones.


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