From little things, big things grow: How children learn a morphologically complex Australian indigenous

Recording child language, Wadeye 2012
Recording child language, Wadeye 2012

This project provided detailed study of the acquisition of Murrinhpatha (Wadeye, NT), based on the language of Murrinhpatha speaking children from 2-6 years. Although much is known about how children acquire languages such as English, there has been very little research that examines how children acquire a complex polysynthetic language like Murrinhpatha. The findings from this project have implications for our understanding of how acquisition processes are created through linguistic complexity, cognitive constraints and social interaction and how these processes differ across children acquiring radically different language types. It also provided detailed language information for the bilingual school program in Wadeye to ensure that the maintenance of Murrinhpatha is optimally managed in the early school years.

Chief Investigators: Professor Rachel Nordlinger, Dr Barbara Kelly, Professor Gillian Wigglesworth, Dr Joe Blythe , ARC discovery grant.

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