Austrian Academy of Sciences

Department of Linguistics and Communication Research


Noun development in a cross-linguistic perspective: the interface of lexicon and grammar in first language acquisition

Project financed by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, P17276-G03

Duration: December 2004 – November 2009

Project leader: Wolfgang U. Dressler

The aim of this cross-linguistic project is to investigate the development of the noun class in children, aged 1;6-10, in four different languages – Austrian German, Dutch, Danish, and Hebrew. The three Germanic languages under investigation vary along the clines of morphological richness and phonological transparency, and thus present hitherto unexplored challenges to children learning them. Hebrew, a Semitic language with a more complex nominal system, offers yet another perspective on the development of the noun class.

In order to trace a detailed picture of children's early and later noun development, various methods of data collection are used. The data analyzed range from longitudinal spontaneous speech, over cross-sectional naturalistic elications (peer talk, scripts), to classical experimental data.

Languages and Project participants:

  • Austrian German

    Sabine Laaha
    Katharina Korecky-Kröll
    Johannes Bertl

    Student collaborators: Verena Blaschitz, Eva M. Freiberger, Volker Gadermaier, Andrea Haid, Marie-Christine Kremser, Laura E. Lettner, Marlies Martha, Lara K. Spendier, Nicole Stempfer, Marion Wechselberger

    Statistical consultant: Gregor Laaha (Boku Vienna)

  • Dutch
    Steven Gillis (University of Antwerp, Belgium)
    Agnita Souman
    Sim Dhollander
    Inge Molemans

  • Danish
    Hans Basboell (University of Southern Denmark)
    Laila Kjaerbaek
    Claus Lambertsen
    Katja Rehfeldt

  • Hebrew
    Dorit Ravid (University of Tel Aviv, Israel)
    Bracha Nir
    Ronit Levie
    Neta Abugov
    Naama Lavie
    Ephratt Raz
    Helli Zwilling


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