Lexically restricted utterances in Russian, German, and English child-directed speech

Sabine Stoll, Kirsten Abbot-Smith, Elena Lieven

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This study investigates the child-directed speech (CDS) of four Russian-, six German, and six English-speaking mothers to their 2-year-old children. Typologically Russian has considerably less restricted word order than either German or English, with German showing more word-order variants than English. This could lead to the prediction that the lexical restrictiveness previously found in the initial strings of English CDS by Cameron-Faulkner, Lieven, and Tomasello (2003) would not be found in Russian or German CDS. However, despite differences between the three corpora that clearly derive from typological differences between the languages, the most significant finding of this study is a high degree of lexical restrictiveness at the beginnings of CDS utterances in all three languages. Copyright © 2009 Cognitive Science Society, Inc. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)75-103
    Number of pages28
    JournalCognitive Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009


    • Child-directed speech
    • English
    • German
    • Language learning
    • Learning strings
    • Lexical restrictedness
    • Lexical strings
    • Russian


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