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Original scientific paper

Andrea Poljak, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, Zagreb

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

Diana Arapović, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, Zagreb

 

Abstract 

Language acquisition is a topic that has preoccupied researchers for years. Acquisition of
morphology is very demanding for children, so they may use different strategies for simplifying
complex segments of language morphology. The most frequent strategy is overregularization. The
main goal of this research was to explain the acquisition of differential object marking (DOM) in
Croatian. DOM in Croatian refers to the different marking of the accusative case regarding the
animacy status of the object. Acquisition of DOM has been observed through three idioms: child
language, child directed speech and adult to adult speech. It was expected that overregularizations
will be formed by adding the morpheme –a in accusative case of inanimate masculine nouns. The
study is based on the data from the Croatian corpus of child language (Kovačević, 2002) and the
Croatian corpus of spoken language (Kuvač Kraljević, Hržica, in preparation). Overregularizations
were found in all three idioms. In child language, overregularizations are evidence of language
acquisition strategies. In child directed speech, they might represent one of the strategies that
adults use to aid the child in acquiring language. Overregularizations found in adult speech are
sparse and restricted to the Kajkavian dialect.

 

Key Words

language acquisition, morphology, overregularization, Croatian

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