Multiple Parallel Grammars in the Acquisition of Stress in Greek L1
01 / 2001 - 10 / 2004
This dissertation focuses on the acquisition of stress in Greek L1. It investigates phonological development in a language with a lexical accent system where the position of stress is determined by the phonology-morphology interface. It demonstrates that the acquisition of stress in lexical accent systems proceeds differently compared to languages with less complex or non-lexical accentual systems. The production of multiple truncated outputs of variable prosodic shape as well as faithfully produced forms during the same phases of phonological development led to the conclusion that children employ multiple parallel grammars generated by the permutation of universal and innate constraints, or else follow several developmental paths, during the acquisition process. This implies that language development does not proceed in a strictly stage-like fashion as was assumed until now. Output variation further challenges the idea of the trochaic bias according to which there is a universal tendency for disyllabic trochees in child speech cross-linguistically. The multiple parallel grammars model developed here refers to production but has important implications, on the one hand, for perception, since it makes the prediction that the latter may be characterized by multiple grammars as well and, on the other hand, for the study of synchrony and diachrony, given that it can provide a unified account of synchronic, diachronic and language change phenomena. This study is addressed to linguists, students and those who are interested in phonological theory in general and language acquisition in particular.