Child Language Acquisition - A Case from Nepali

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This is the first longitudinal case study on Nepali Child language Acquisition. The study covers the development of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and discourse from age 6 month through 4 and half years.
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  Child Language Acquisition: A Case from Nepali Lekhnath S PathakLecturerCentral Department of Linguistics Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, epallekhnathspathak! gmail"comlekhnathspathak! yahoo"com Introduction:  There are theories and counter#theories on Language $c%uisition,so is true of Child Language $c%uisition" $ll the practicing linguists are familiar&ith most of them" $nd most of the theories are con'ned to the &estern studies,since these theories have srcinated and developed in the (est" The practice inthe )ast is, normally, to try these theories in their o&n conte*t" This paper is alsoa part of that band&agon simply because &hat has already been established ascon'rmed truth, nobody dares to refute it" +ut the purpose of the present paperis neither to prove nor disprove any particular theory or hypothesis" t-s anattempt, using the universally accepted cannons to trace the linguisticdevelopment of Poshak, a epali male child" The studies of this kind date back to./01s in the (est and innumerable books have been &ritten since then in thisarea of study" 2o&ever, in epali no such study has been done yet" $t least, theauthoritative mouthpiece A Bibliography of Nepalese Languages andLinguistics  3 nd  edition 4.//56 compiled by Sueyoshi Toba, Published by CentralDepartment of Linguistics, does not sho& it" This study might add to that corpusof study, especially from this part of the &orld, &hich might contribute in a cross#cultural, cross# linguistic study of Child Language $c%uisition" 7 )T28D8L89: "    This is a longitudinal study 4+ellugi and +ro&n ./;<6 of asingle child over a certain span of time" 7ostly naturalistic approach 48=9radyet al .//>6 has been adopted for the study" The main tool for the study &as adiary entry 4see also Tomasello .//36 . , one of the most primitive tools for thechild language studies, but useful till no&, nevertheless" 7ost often it &ouldbe his mother, 9ita, to observe and keep in record all that Poshak &ould bedoing linguistically all through the day 4 it is, of course, not a daily record,only the productive days on &hich ne& occurrences &ere observed havebeen kept on record6 and the author himself &ould be doing the same veryoften" The data so observed have been coalesced to conduct the study"8ccasionally e*perimental method 48=9rady et al .//>6 also has been usedto test his level of language comprehension and production 4C2LD)S6" 1   To retain the authenticity of the study, the actual dates on &hich thelinguistic occurrence and development &ere observed have been given here"?or convenience, both epali and )nglish dates have been used" The datebefore the slash 4@6 is in epali and after it in )nglish" )nglish and epalimonths do not correspondent directly" $ epali month begins around themiddle of an )nglish month and vice#versa" So, to avoid confusion, againstthe )nglish date the 'rst letter of the month is mentioned against it" Language $c%uisition begins &ith the ac%uisition and production of . st  soundsuttered by the child # so should begin &ith the birth cry itself" Phonology of thechild, though, forms the foundation for the language developmentA it does notconstitute the language as such" Language actually begins to emerge at themorphological stage, &hen the child starts to combine vo&el and consonantsounds and begins to produce one# &ord utterances" The boundary bet&eenphonology and morphology, at this stage, ho&ever, remains %uite fuBBy, as it isdicult to demarcate clearly the phonological and morphological border" Thispaper &ill trace the linguistic development of Poshak from around his ; th  monthto < th  year, touching on phonology, morphology, synta* and discourse@semantics"Poshak, the 'rst born of the author, born on .< th  $ugust 3113" Phonology  Phonologically he had the follo&ing consonant and vo&el sounds athis disposal around ; th  month Vowels  pure vo&els#@@, @i@, @e@, @E@, @a@, @U@, @u@Diphthongs#@EU@, @E@, @ai@ Consonant:  Stops#@p@, @b@, @k@, @g@ $Fricates#@G@, @H@asal#@m@, @n@Dentals#@t@, @d@Sibilants#@s@, @I@ orphology  7orphologically, he sho&s the simplest cvcv combination,reduplicated sometimes" ?ollo&ing is the chronological se%uence of ac%uisition of his &ords"J th  month# ba  4the sound of dog, &hich &as e*tended to mean animal-65 th  month# baba  4ust the reduplication of @b ā/   65 M month#@ ɡ E  yo @, @ ɡ Ei@ 4anything that moved or disappeared6/ th  month# tai-tai  4imitation of peddler-s cry6, grra 4imitation of vehicle-s sound6.1 th  month# kā  4Nying obect4s6, from kāɡ  cro&-6   .3 th  month# ɡā 4insects Nying lasted only for t&o &eeks6  .0 th  month# nai  no-, mama,  uncle- 4mother-s brother6  juju  4no particularmeaning6,b ball-, brrrr 4the sound of bike6.< th  month# nana  cloths-, baau  ball- bai  bye bye- ,baje  old man-,clipped bilabialnasal sounds e"g" mu  for sammu4his aunt-s name6, mi  for simi  bean-, mo  for moryo  died-4seeing a dead mos%uito6.J th  month# me  me& of cat-,  jai-jai  4prayer@&orship6, aaija  come- , bu  milk-, babu small kid4s6@himself-, gaai  vehicle-4from gaadi 6, maammi  mother- , kaai  comb-.; th  month# dada elder brother-, daai  pulse- 4from daal6, daati  4fromdirty6, maammu  mother-, naain  4for nine6 ,  jojo(  picked from the ad of oo cho&#cho&6 L )OC$L   D))L8P7)T "   $n attempt has bee made to trace the le*icaldevelopment of fre%uent &ords the subect has used"8nly one syllable phase31;1 +"S" @ 3110 $" D"7angsir@ December 4.; th  month63/   @ .J  paani  &ater- paPoush @ December 4.> th  month6. @.; fanpya 4also for pya onion-6freeBepigunga mathi  above-maJ   @31 tala  belo&-ta mula  radish- and mudha  stool-mu> @33 banda  close- ba gaaja r carrot-ga/ @3< phonepo.< @3/ egge buttonba7agh @Qanuary 4.5 th  month63 @.; nun  salt-nu nikalne  take out-ni helmet me 4'rst sound of the 3 nd  syllable6n this stage, the phonetic processing is, Poshak is simplifying his syllabicstructure by systematically deleting certain sounds" 2e is e*hibiting thesimplest C pattern 48=9rady et al .//>6"n the .> th  month voiceless labio#dental fricative @f@ as in fan- and freeBe-is replaced by voiceless bilabial stop @p@ making @pR@ and @pi@ respectively&hich are comparatively easier to articulate, but the follo&ing vo&els @R@ and@i@ are retained in both the cases, &hich sho& these vo&els are easy toarticulate" t should be noted, of the t&o vo&els here, the former one is an  )nglish and not a epali vo&el" So the sounds ac%uired do not have to &ithany language speci'c, but the e*posure" (hereas in most of the cases, thelatter sounds are deleted, in helmet-, he pronounces me-, thus deleting the'rst syllable and the follo&ing voiceless alveolar stop @t@ &hich is dicult toproduce at this level" n case of other &ords here, the pattern is undoubtedlyso but &here the &ord itself is one#syllabled as in egg-, he uses only @e@ thusstill dropping the follo&ing sounds"  T&o#syllable phase7angsir @november#december 4.; th  month6J @3. ghadi  &atch-aa#i.< @01 bhat   rice-ma#am./ @JD  paani  &ater-paa#i31@;Dpaapadpaa#puPoush @December#Qanuary4.> th  month6. @.;D keraa  banana-ki#a.3 @3>D guruji gu#i.< @3/D doodh  milk- dut, ghiu  ghee-giu.> @.Qauntyaa#ni  phupu  aunty-pu#pu3; @.1Qchainchincomputerkam#pu3> @..Q gaadi  vehicle- gaa#i35@.3Q   bikebaa#i, okergag7agh @Qanuary#?ebruary 4.5 th  month63@.;Q suntala  orange-ka#tacomputercom#pu To#o@T#+ tato  hot-ta#tu  gita didi gi#dishipchip  nanglo na#mo 4cham#pa earlier, from chamal6.3@3;Q grapegep  paisa pai#cha  .0@3>Q uncleaan#ta anaar   pomegranate- a#naa  achaar   pickle-aa#chaastick@beatingpaa#i.<@35Q fanfen  patrikaa  magaBine-pat#ti  chappal chap#paa.;@01Q  paani &ater-paa#ni 4'rst correct &ord uttered6.5@.? unclean#ka./@3?  juttaa  shoe-gud#daa@gud#de35@..? khutta  leg-kut#taaheadhet handhen?algun @ ?ebruary#7arch 4./ th  month6.@.07  pirkaa pik#kaa3@.<7 batterybya safaa clean-chha#paa;@.5? chyadar   sha&l-chya#da>@./? blanketbyan#ke/@3.? lightaait@bat#ti gobhi  cauliNo&er-ko#bi  murai  puFed rice- muito&elta#bi   jhaadu  broom-aau.1@33? hostelho#che.;@35? nikaal  take out@oF ni#kaa maathi  up-maa#ti pencilpen#chi.>@3/?  juttaa  shoe-uk#kaa33@J7 bathroombaa#tumbasinbya#chin30@;7 candleken#de.1 th  Poush@3JD hajurba  grandfather-hau#ba7agh @ Qanuary#?ebruary 4.5 th  month6.0@3>Q tamaatar   tomato-tam#taa
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