Child language documentation: the sketch acquisition project

Birgit Hellwig, Rebecca Defina, Evan Kidd, Shanley E.M Allen, Lucinda Davidson, Barbara Kelly

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    his paper reports on an on-going project designed to collect comparable corpus data on child language and child-directed language in under-researched languages. Despite a long history of cross-linguistic research, there is a severe empirical bias within lan-guage acquisition research: Data is available for less than 2% of the worlds languages, heavily skewed towards the larger and better-described languages. As a result, theor-ies of language development tend to be grounded in a non-representative sample, and we know little about the acquisition of typologically-diverse languages from different families, regions, or sociocultural contexts. It is very likely that the reasons are to be found in the forbidding methodological challenges of constructing child language cor-pora under fieldwork conditions with their strict requirements on participant selection, sampling intervals, and amounts of data. There is thus an urgent need for proposals that facilitate and encourage language acquisition research across a wide variety of lan-guages. Adopting a language documentation perspective, we illustrate an approach that combines the construction of manageable corpora of natural interaction with and
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)29-58
    JournalLanguage Documentation & Conservation
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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