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Conference papers

Acquiring verbs in French: Inflections, constructions and conversational usage.

Abstract : When children acquire verbs, they must not only identify the core meaning of each verb, but also discover that a verb meaning can be modulated by the addition of inflections and grammatical morphemes to express such features as tense, aspect, number, and person. In this paper, we report on early stages in the process of verb acquisition in four children acquiring French, videotaped and recorded longitudinally from the time they used verbs in one form to the period when they produced two or more forms of a verb, and started to add grammatical morphemes that modulated the relevant verb meanings. Once children started producing two different inflected forms of a verb, they seemed to use a strategy of adding grammatical morphemes onto the left edge as a function of the particular form of the verb involved. That is, with infinitival or participial forms, they first added the semi-modal future aller (usually va) and modals like vouloir (veux), falloir (faut), and pouvoir (peux) as well as auxiliaries like avoir (usually a) and être (usually est), and only later added pronouns in front of the modal or auxiliary. But with present tense forms, they started out by adding pronouns. This leads to a décalage with children producing adult-like NP+VP sentences earlier with present-tense verb forms than with infinitival or participial ones. This development is related to the conversational contingencies in which these verb forms are used, and the meanings they express.
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Conference papers
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Contributor : Edy Veneziano <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - 1:13:35 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 9:52:20 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-00614049, version 1


Edy Veneziano, Eve V. Clark. Acquiring verbs in French: Inflections, constructions and conversational usage.. IASCL 2011, International Conference on the Study of Child Language, 2011, Montreal, Canada. ⟨halshs-00614049⟩



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