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10. Diminutives in Finnish child-directed and child speech

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Abstract

There are various means to form diminutives in Finnish, for example regular suffixation (e.g. <i>isä </i>‘father’ + <i>i </i>&#62; <i>isi </i>‘daddy’) and modification of the stem possibly combined with suffixation (e.g. <i>kissa </i>‘cat’ &#62; <i>kisu </i>‘pussycat’, <i>maha </i>‘stomach’ &#62; <i>masu </i>‘tummy’). The article first deals with the different types of Finnish diminutives and then examines the diminutives of two Finnish-speaking children. In early child language, a trochaic bias is observed. In diminutive formation, there is a tendency towards transparent inflection: when forming diminutives by stem modification, different morphophonological alternations are eliminated and transparent inflection patterns are favoured.

References

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