Matches and mismatches in nominal morphology and agreement: Learning from the acquisition of Eegimaa

Theoretical accounts of how children learn the structures of words and grammatical features of languages differ considerably, but our knowledge of what is possible is limited by the existing focus on a relatively small number of languages associated with industrialised nations.

This project investigates the acquisition of complex inflectional morphology in Gújjolaay Eegimaa, a language of Southern Senegal.

Our project aims to answer questions about the strategies children rely on to learn complex language structure, the role of adult input language in the acquisition of morphology, how children cope with variation in language input from their caregivers, and the order in which they learn different noun class markers. The research involves both a longitudinal study, involving five children aged two to four over three years, and a cross-sectional study; ten each at ages three and four years.

Dunstan Brown, Serge Sagna, Marilyn Vihman.

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