Hakkama-verb in child language: a marker of aspectuality or future? Cover Image

Hakkama-verb in child language: a marker of aspectuality or future?

Author(s): Reili Argus, Helen Kõrgesaar
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Teaduste Akadeemia Kirjastus
Keywords: language acquisition; child language; future; inchoative aspect

Summary/Abstract: In Estonian one of the most frequent means of expressing the future is the phase verb hakkama ’begin’, which acts similarly to a future auxiliary; however, in addition to the future, it has several other meanings, such as the inchoative aspect or the beginning of a situation. Because in Estonian the future is expressed also by the present forms and temporal words that specify the temporal localization of an event, the acquisition of the future enables us to observe the entwinement of lexical and grammatical devices in the acquisition process. The article focuses on spontaneous speech of two differently-aged children (the material of the younger child represents the age 1;7–3;0 and that of the older child 4;0, 4;1, 7;2, 10;1 and 11;0). The purpose of the study was to find out whether for an Estonian child the hakkama-verb expresses the future or aspectuality, that is, the beginning phase of an action rather than the future. The study analysed constructions with hakkama-verbs in the speech of both the child and the caregiver, which allowed to observe the kind of input that parental speech offers to the child with regard to both the number of hakkama-verbs and their occurrence contexts.

  • Issue Year: 2011
  • Issue No: 57
  • Page Range: 009-024
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: Estonian