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The Comparative Method of Language Acquisition Research$
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Clifton Pye

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226481289

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226481319.001.0001

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(p.261) Chapter Eleven Conclusion
The Comparative Method of Language Acquisition Research

Clifton Pye

University of Chicago Press

This book has shown how the comparative method derived from historical linguistics can be applied to language acquisition research. While the comparative method in historical linguistics aims to reconstruct the history of genetically related languages, the comparative method can redirect the focus of language acquisition research away from forms and functions to contexts of use. As such, the comparative method controls the problem that nonequivalent units create for crosslinguistic comparisons. The book has also investigated how children acquire the many common features for K'iche', Mam, and Ch'ol, including lexical categories, intransitive and transitive verbs, ergative and absolutive agreement markers in the verb complex, and verb arguments relative to the development of agreement marking. One important finding is that common features of Mayan languages do not predict language development in children.

Keywords:   comparative method, historical linguistics, language acquisition research, children, verb complex, verb argument, Mayan languages, language development, language acquisition

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