The verbal argument structure constructions that produce meaningful utterances are called by Hornby (1945), one of the pioneers of systematical listings of English construction schemas, as “verb patterns”. There are about 25-30 verb patterns in English (Allerton, 1982;…
The Verb Island hypotheses (Tomasello, 1992) was formulated to explain the lexical-centered application of grammatical rules in children’s utterances.
The development of children’s acquisition of linguistic skills has been under investigation for a long while. However, no theory has received universal approbation. The arguement that young children’s verbs are independent, each developing its own mini-syntax unrelated to other verbs (Tomasello, 1992,2000) though well known in the academia, has also been criticized. According to Tomasello in the insular stage of development, children have inventory specific lexical schemas each used only for the specific predicates. This schemas are independent and do not form a grammatical pattern. It is in a later stage of growth, children develop abstract systems of construction of inter-related verbal patterns.
These early absence of grammatical representations are attested by a number of recent studies. The children’s early grammatical constructions are ordered around concrete lexical material. These lexical constructions consist of a term showing relation, often a verb and an open slot meant to be filled by various elements. (Tomasello 1992,2000; Pine and Lieven 1993; Dabrowska 2000;Israel, Johnson and Brooks 2000).The short sentences are from a diary study adopted from Tomasello (1992:285ff). The utterances are from his 2-year-old daughter.
The formational mechanism of the utterances shows that they are determined on the occurrence of specific lexical words. They are made up of an element with an open slot that is completed by a noun like expression. The given table identifies the following pattern: That’s_____, More_____, ______get-it. The early child parlance is marked by such lexically specific constructions. In all the multiple word combinations made by Tomasello’s 2-year-old daughter, it is possible to trace this predilection for the lexical centered speech formation.
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