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Slot-and-Frame Schemas in the Language of a Polish- and English-Speaking Child: The Impact of Usage Patterns on the Switch Placement

Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication, Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX, UK
Department of Culture Studies, School of Humanities and Digital Sciences, Tilburg University, P.O. Box 90152, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands
Institute of British Studies, Leipzig University, GWZ, Beethovenstra├če 15, 04107 Leipzig, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Languages 2019, 4(1), 8;
Received: 27 November 2018 / Revised: 2 January 2019 / Accepted: 27 January 2019 / Published: 1 February 2019
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How does the bilingual child assemble her first multiword constructions? Can switch placement in bilingual combinations be explained by language usage? This study traces the emergence of frozen and semi-productive patterns throughout the diary collection period (0;10.10–2;2.00) to document the acquisition of constructions. Subsequently the focus falls on most frequently produced monolingual and bilingual combinations captured through 30 video recordings (1;10.16–2;5.11) which are linked to the diary data to confirm their productivity. First, we verify that like in monolingual development, frequency-based piecemeal acquisition of constructions can be reproduced in our bilingual diary data: in the child’s earliest combinations 87% are deemed as semi-productive slot-and-frame patterns. Second, video recordings show that productivity, understood as a function of type frequency, plays a role in determining the switch placement in early bilingual combinations only to some extent. A more accurate explanation for why frames from one language take slot fillers from another is their autonomous use and semantic independence. We also highlight limitations of input: while the child was raised with two languages separated in the input, she continued to switch languages which suggests that switching is developmental. View Full-Text
Keywords: bilingual; slot-and-frame; child codeswitching bilingual; slot-and-frame; child codeswitching

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Gaskins, D.; Backus, A.; Quick, A.E. Slot-and-Frame Schemas in the Language of a Polish- and English-Speaking Child: The Impact of Usage Patterns on the Switch Placement. Languages 2019, 4, 8.

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