• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Working paper

Acquisition of Russian Nominal Case Inflections by Monolingual Children: A Psycholinguistic Approach

Nina Ladinskaya, Chrabaszcz A., Lopukhina A.
While different researchers agree that the acquisition of Russian nominal cases proceeds somewhat sequentially, there is no consensus about the exact order of case acquisition in the literature on L1 acquisition (see Ceitlin, 2000; Gvozdev, 1981, 2007; Gagarina & Voeikova, 2009). Besides, accumulated longitudinal data are sparse and disparate, coming from children of different ages, socio-economic statuses, and language acquisition backgrounds. We adopt a psycholinguistic approach to examine acquisition of Russian nominal case inflections by Russian monolingual children (2-5 years old). The goal of the study is twofold: it sets out 1) to examine at what age children learn to generalize rules of noun case usage, and 2) to identify the order of acquisition of Russian oblique case inflections. Children perform a picture-based sentence completion task in which they have to finish the sentence by naming real or nonexisting objects in the pictures. Five sentence frames are constructed to bias the children’s responses towards the use of a noun form in one of the five oblique Russian cases, across three declensions plus plural forms. Data collection is in progress, but interim results show that monolingual Russian-speaking children learn to generalize morphological rules to novel nouns by the age of 2 and that nouns in the plural form are acquired later in language development compared to singular forms. Within the singular forms, 3rd declension cases, especially the instrumental case, present most difficulty. Additionally, 2-3-year-old children tend to substitute oblique cases with the nominative case forms. The results corroborate some of the previous findings and add additional insights into the acquisition of Russian case.