Ineta Dabašinskienė

The Acquisition of Compounds in Lithuanian

This study analyzes longitudinal data of two Lithuanian children, a boy and a girl, with the aim of investigating children’s ability to produce compounds. In contrast to such languages as German or English, Lithuanian does not show a marked preference for noun-compounding. It is not surprising, then that compounds in the analyzed child language data appear quite rarely, although in Lithuanian compounding is a productive pattern of word formation. The analysis of the data shows that compounds emerge quite early as pure imitations of adult utterances; however, even in later stages of language acquisition, when used spontaneously, they occur mostly as lexicalized items. Our data show that the first compounds appear after the emergence of noun and verb inflection and diminutives. These first compounds belong to the type of subordinate, endocentric two-member noun+noun compounds without interfixes.

Keywords: child language acquisition, compounds, endocentric, interfix, Lithuanian, productive, transparent, subordinate.