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The Semantics of Compounds in Swedish Child Language
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5609-9535
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.
2016 (English)In: The Semantics of Compounding / [ed] Pius ten Hacken, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016, 110-128 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This study examines the semantics of NN compounds produced by Swedish children. Three questions are addressed: What is the head’s status in the children’s compounds? What semantic relations are found within the compounds? What is the frequency of these relations, in total and per child? The data contains 387 spontaneously produced novel NN compounds from three monolingual Swedish children, collected longitudinally along with contextual information. The study shows that all children manage right-hand head position. It suggests that around 15 semantic relations, based on previous lists proposed by e.g. Jackendoff (2009; 2016), can account for almost all of the children’s compounds. Some relations are however more frequent than others. There seem to be individual preferences for particular semantic relations. Yet, two tendencies appear: (i) in all children, some relations are frequent (e.g. Purpose, Composition, Location) others rare; (ii) almost all relations are used by all children. In conclusion, although the number of compounds produced by each child is limited, a range of relations is attested. In relation to overall cognitive development, some compounds provide evidence that children indeed make further distinctions from adult speakers, and that they have understanding of the semantic content of their coinages. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. 110-128 p.
Keyword [en]
NN compounds, semantic relations, thematic relations, child language, Swedish, spontaneous production
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-113941ISBN: 978-1-107-09970-8OAI: diva2:951542
Available from: 2016-08-09 Created: 2016-01-07 Last updated: 2016-08-30Bibliographically approved

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Mellenius, IngmarieRosenberg, Maria
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