By Aliyah Morgenstern . Last update : 3 April 2007.
There is very little French data on adult-child dialogic interaction (neither monolingual nor bilingual) accessible to wide community of scholars. This state of affairs hasn’t helped render scholarship on French first-language acquisition more dynamic. The project’s primary goal is to constitute a video database of French child speech, aligned with the corresponding transcriptions. Some of the children being bilingual, we will be able to draw comparisons between two languages acquired simultaneously.
The theoretical question under study will be how grammatical markers emerge and function in child speech — the children having been filmed from the age of 12 months to 3 years. The data collected will allow linguists specializing in morpho-syntax to compare the children’s use of grammatical markers with adult usage.
A database will be put together from work notes describing each video sequence, with a summary, a list of situations and the salient features of the child’s motor, linguistic and cognitive development at the time of the recording. The first appearance of each marqueur will be duly noted. The database will then be shared along with the corpus itself.
The linguistic analysis will be accompanied by reflections with a filmmaker and with a composer who is preparing a piece on the birth of language. The comparison between monolingual children and bilingual children will be conducted in collaboration with the University of Anvers and the research team headed by Annick de Houwer, a specialist of child bilingualism. We hope to contribute to the expansion of scolarship on language acquisition in France, to the dialogue between linguists, psychologists, doctors and speech therapists, and to improving the international stature of French linguists.