“Frequent Frames” in German Child-Directed Speech: A Limited Cue to Grammatical Categories
Article first published online: 26 JUL 2011
Copyright © 2011 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
Volume 35, Issue 6, pages 1190–1205, August 2011
How to Cite
Stumper, B., Bannard, C., Lieven, E. and Tomasello, M. (2011), “Frequent Frames” in German Child-Directed Speech: A Limited Cue to Grammatical Categories. Cognitive Science, 35: 1190–1205. doi: 10.1111/j.1551-6709.2011.01187.x
- Issue published online: 26 JUL 2011
- Article first published online: 26 JUL 2011
- Received 18 September 2009; received in revised form 14 March 2011; accepted 11 May 2011
- Language acquisition;
- Child-directed speech;
- Corpus analysis;
- Distributional analysis;
- Grammatical categories;
Mintz (2003) found that in English child-directed speech, frequently occurring frames formed by linking the preceding (A) and succeeding (B) word (A_x_B) could accurately predict the syntactic category of the intervening word (x). This has been successfully extended to French (Chemla, Mintz, Bernal, & Christophe, 2009). In this paper, we show that, as for Dutch (Erkelens, 2009), frequent frames in German do not enable such accurate lexical categorization. This can be explained by the characteristics of German including a less restricted word order compared to English or French and the frequent use of some forms as both determiner and pronoun in colloquial German. Finally, we explore the relationship between the accuracy of frames and their potential utility and find that even some of those frames showing high token-based accuracy are of limited value because they are in fact set phrases with little or no variability in the slot position.