The acquisition of the Dutch discourse particle wel | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 20, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1384-5845
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1171



Dutch is known for its large inventory of discourse particles. Discourse particles are very frequent and highly important in conversation. Yet, not much research has been conducted on how children acquire them. In this paper we focus on the acquisition of the Dutch discourse particle . In earlier work, it was argued that despite the apparent diversity of the different uses of the particle , it has a core meaning, namely that it functions as a denial of an implicit or explicit negation in the context. In this paper we show that this core meaning is also reflected in the acquisition pattern of by Dutch children. Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the occurrences of are not used as a response to an explicit negation, children seem to acquire as the positive counterpart of ‘not’.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): acquisition; discourse markers; lexical semantics; polysemy; pragmatics
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