Parts of Speech: Descriptive tools, theoretical constructs
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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This paper presents empirical evidence for a theory of syntactic categories in the tradition of categorial grammar, in which more complex categories are derived from simpler ones by means of category formation operators. In Jakarta Indonesian, almost all words and larger expressions belong to a single open syntactic category, S(entence), while a small residue of semantically heterogeneous items belong to a single closed syntactic category S/S. The theory predicts that in first-language acquisition, simpler categories are acquired before more complex ones. Thus, for Jakarta Indonesian, it predicts that the category S is be acquired before the category S/S. Examination of a naturalistic corpus of almost one million utterances provides support for this prediction, deriving from errors of overgeneralization, in which members of S/S exhibit the distributional properties of members of S.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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