9. Acquisition of diminutives in Hungarian

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The chapter presents a longitudinal study on the acquisition of diminutives in Hungarian from the age of two to three. The analysis shows that the two children in the study followed their own particular paths while acquiring diminutive suffixes. Grammatical productivity did not exert an unequivocal effect on the sequence of acquisition: both children started with unproductive suffixes such as <i>-u </i>and -<i>ó</i>, with the productive <i>-kA </i>and the semi-productive <i>-i</i>, whereas the grammatically most productive <i>-cskA </i>was produced later. Our analysis indicates that matching relevant functions to diminutive suffixes is probably a later development: diminutive suffixes did not convey the semantic meaning of “smallness”; a positive emotional evaluation as a pragmatic value of diminutives was not clearly present in the analyzed conversations either.


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