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The Acquisition of Interjections in Early Childhood

Magisterarbeit 2008 125 Seiten

Pädagogik - Kindergarten, Vorschule, frühkindl. Erziehung


The question of how and if children acquire language has long been of perennial interest: is language innate or not? If it is, what then is the proto-language? The first phylogenetic ‘study’ was conducted as early as the 7th century BC: pharaoh Psammetich I. undertook to determine what the proto-language is by giving two infants to a foster father who was not allowed to talk to them. After two years of no linguistic input they could only speak one word – ‘bek’ – which was assumed to be the Phrygian word for bread (bekos). In the 16th century Akbar the Great initiated the first ontogenetic study. By having two infants raised by a mute woman he proved that children do not learn to speak if they do not hear anyone speak. Since then ample questions concerning first language acquisition have been faced and replied to in detail and at great length. Yet, there are still some left unanswered or even unasked. One of the topics that have not been of great interest so far is the acquisition of interjections not only in first language but also in foreign language learning.
In fact, interjections play an important role in communicative as well as non-communicative contexts, and their actual linguistic value and role were underestimated and misjudged for quite a long time:
Interjections are among the most little studied of language phenomena; as one looks for references to them in the works of linguists, one is struck by the fact that they are very rarely mentioned, and where they are mentioned, it is usually only briefly and cursorily.
Only recently have linguists delved into the subject of interjections and discovered that this particular linguistic phenomenon provides in fact ample opportunity for study and research. Moreover, with the interest in interjections the problem arose to determine what actually defines an interjection. As we shall see, opinions on this point differ considerably and attempts at agreeing upon the definition of interjections have been unsuccessful so far. Yet, there are some general tendencies which will form the basis for how the term interjection is used in this paper, and discussion of this point will be postponed until part II.
Now, this M.A. thesis aims at gaining an insight into the acquisition of interjections in early childhood. This field has been neglected so far but merits in fact extensive and thorough inspection. This paper consists of three main parts, with the first two parts forming […]


ISBN (eBook)
1.5 MB
Institution / Hochschule
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz – Philosophie / Pädagogik
interjektion spracherwerb kindheit



Titel: The Acquisition of Interjections in Early Childhood