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Original scientific paper

Gordana Hržica, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences



Acquisition of morphology is a demanding task in language acquisition. Young speakers use
diverse strategies to simplify complex segments of language morphology. As a child reaches the
competence level of adult speakers the need for such strategies gradually decreases. Studying
overgeneralisations, specific types of errors occurring during language acquisition, is a way
to reconstruct the mechanisms underlying the strategies of simplification. Previous research
and theoretical assumptions emphasise the importance of transparency and productivity of
morphological paradigms for overgeneralisations. This paper describes the research on verb
overgeneralisations in Croatian language acquisition. The system of verb classes and subclasses
was used to classify overgeneralisations. Croatian verbs are classified according to differences
between present and infinitive stems and most overgeneralizations consist of picking the wrong
stem in building a verb form (e.g. inf. stem pis–a– ’write’, pres. stem piš–e– as in piš–e–m ’I
write’ and overgeneralized form *pis–a–m). The study is based on data from Croatian Corpus of
Child Language (Kovačević, 2002). Croatian Corpus of Child Language is a longitudinal corpus
of spoken language transcripts of children acquiring Croatian. Verb overgeneralisations were
classified according to their verb class and the verb class of the overgeneralised form. Analysis
shows the influence of transparency of verb paradigm on overgeneralisation. Productivity of verb
class did not show the effect on overgeneralisation.


Key words

language acquisition, acquisition of morphology, overgeneralisation, verb classes and subclasses, Croatian



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