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Dissertation / thesis Dissertation / thesis
Title:The Acquisition of Verb Inflection in Libyan Arabic: The Role of Input
Author:Mussa, Albashir
Type of thesis:PhD thesis
Publisher:University of Essex
Geographic term:Libya
dissertations (form)
External link:http://repository.essex.ac.uk/27170/
Abstract:This thesis investigates the acquisition of verb inflection in Libyan Arabic (LA), and the role of input. It is a case study in which there is a single participant, a girl acquiring LA as a first language, and her parents are the main source of input. Data were collected by observation of naturalistic interactions over a period of thirteen months at home during play time, meal times, and story reading sessions. The thesis contributes to the theoretical debate about the question of whether young children have adult-like syntactic representations, and what role parental/carer input plays in the acquisition of inflectional verb morphology.The results confirm what has been reported in the literature, that very young children optionally use finite verb forms in finite contexts side-by-side with default verb forms. Agreement errors are few. The results also demonstrate that the parents studied do not regularly provide negative evidence, and if they do so, they do not provide it after every error the child makes. The results show that negative evidence has little effect on the acquisition of certain grammatical features from which the child does not recover, even after the error is corrected. This thesis contributes to our knowledge of first language acquisition by presenting data from a variety of the Arabic language family which has not been investigated before. Moreover, it adds new results to the few existing findings about the acquisition of the verbal domain in Arabic. Furthermore, it provides new results about the role of input in language acquisition in general and in the acquisition of Arabic in particular.