1887
Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139
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Abstract

The available literature on the facet of imitation and its role, if any, in language acquisition is bipolaric in nature. The efficacy of imitation is seen as either a minor inconsequential feature, or a primary means to the child’s learning of language. The present paper investigates a strategy for language acquisition adopted by one child, and the usefulness of imitation in supporting that strategy. Naturally occurring conversations between the child and his parents were recorded and examined. Imitated utterances were found to surpass spontaneous ones on the dimensions of grammatical and semantic complexity, and, with few exceptions, new structures appeared first in imitative utterances. The higher complexity and the prior appearance of new construction in imitative utterances suggest that imitation fulfilled a progressive function for the child. The usefulness of imitation for language learning and the implications of imitation as a primary strategy are discussed.

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/content/journals/10.1075/aral.21.1.05lit
1998-01-01
2019-10-22
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