Difficulties children have in native Polish-learning?

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anthox
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Difficulties children have in native Polish-learning?

Postby anthox » 2008-11-26, 18:22

Hi,

I am very interested in both Polish and language acquisition, so I had a general question for you all. What aspects of the language do you notice children having (or remember yourself having) the greatest difficulty learning, or taking the longest time to acquire? I’ve often wondered about certain ‘difficult’ (to a foreigner) sound aspects, such as 'trz', which, as a somewhat subtle sound, seems like it would take a while for kids to pronounce properly, but perhaps I’m wrong.
Also, do young children often make mistakes when using the past tense, since it is gendered, for example a girl saying "ja był...", or is this something they pick up without having to be corrected?


Edit: 'trż' changed to 'trz'; the z-to-ż switch happened automatically when I converted l/ to ł. Thanks for the response, pittmirg!
Last edited by anthox on 2008-11-26, 20:00, edited 1 time in total.

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pittmirg
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Re: Difficulties children have in native Polish-learning?

Postby pittmirg » 2008-11-26, 19:52

I’ve often wondered about certain ‘difficult’ (to a foreigner) sound aspects, such as 'trż', which, as a somewhat subtle sound


I don't think there is a Polish word with "trż" in it, but there is the postalveolar affricate [t͡ʂ] (usually <cz>) and the sequence [tʂ] (most often written as <trz>). I suppose small children do have some tendency to mix up the affricates and the sequences of a stop and a fricative, but their distribution in the normal adult speech doesn't totally reflect the orthography either, for many speakers including me.

And small children often (even stereotypically) mix postalveolar and dental sounds (usually pronouncing them all as dental), just like some Anglophone children tend to confuse the dental (/θ ð/) and labiodental (/f v/) fricatives, from what I have heard. The phenomenon is called seplenienie.

/r/, which is normally realized as a trill (although somewhat "weaker" than the one in Russian, in my opinion) or a flap, is another difficulty for many young, but not only, native speakers. In fact realizations such as [ɹ], [ʁ], [ʀ] (and even [l] etc. for small children), are relatively common (so common that I sometimes wonder if it won't ultimately lead to some sound change :mrgreen:), though they're regarded as speech impediments. My own /r/ tends to be some weird velarized flap, although I'm able to produce a normal [r], I do it only when I am not understood.

Also, do young children often make mistakes when using the past tense, since it is gendered, for example a girl saying "ja był...", or is this something they pick up without having to be corrected?


Hm, neither I'm an expert in child language acquisition, nor I've had some enormous amount of contact with little children, but I've never heard a child confusing the masculine and feminine forms when talking about themselves. Perhaps they pick it up early because such errors would be strongly socially stigmatized, or something, I don't know.

I have noticed that I sometimes stumble before using a 2nd person plural non-virile form in -łyście (e.g. byłyście, znalazłyście), I suspect it's because these aren't used that frequently, because they require a group to consist solely of women; the virile variants are more frequent and safer in many situations.* Well, maybe I'm just weird.

*In addition, as a man, obviously I never use the 1st person pl non-virile forms except when quoting some female.

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Re: Difficulties children have in native Polish-learning?

Postby BezierCurve » 2008-11-27, 13:40

Also, do young children often make mistakes when using the past tense, since it is gendered, for example a girl saying "ja był...", or is this something they pick up without having to be corrected?


As for the gender mistakes, I'd say it would be in your example "ja byłem" (1st person m. sing.), but since the 2nd person past includes also the distinctive vowel (-a- for f., -e- for m.), the kids easily pick it up when addressed by their parents:

- Posprzątałaś zabawki?
- Posprzątałam.

... and in male form:

- Posprzątałeś zabawki?
- Posprzątałem.

That's why it's rather unusual to mix them by kids - never really heard one make that mistake.
Last edited by BezierCurve on 2008-11-28, 13:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Difficulties children have in native Polish-learning?

Postby BezierCurve » 2008-11-28, 13:22

It crossed my mind that children sometimes have problems with conjugating verbs from different groups. Let's take for example "pocałować" (to kiss) and "posprzątać" (to clean up, both verbs in their perfective aspects):

1 person sing. future tense:

pocałuję / posprzątam

My friend's son used to mix them up and say "pocałowam".

Some children also have problems with the subjunctive mode construction. Let's take "posprzątałbym" - "I would clean up". You can expect to hear sometimes "posprzątałem bym", which is probably caused by the fact, that "posprzątał" as the 3rd person form sounds somehow unnatural to a child.
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Re: Difficulties children have in native Polish-learning?

Postby polishboy » 2008-12-18, 11:16

I don't think there is such a problem.
sometimes people make a mistake, they say "poszłem", but it should be "poszedłem", they do such mistake since female form is "poszłam".
Also they make mistakes in writting.
not correct u and ó, ch and h, rz and ż.
By the way, I saw many foriengers learn difference between ch and h.
But hte most Polish does not know about this difference.
I was very suprised when I read that thee sound are pronounced differently.

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Re: Difficulties children have in native Polish-learning?

Postby dorenda » 2008-12-18, 11:28

polishboy wrote:By the way, I saw many foriengers learn difference between ch and h.
But hte most Polish does not know about this difference.
I was very suprised when I read that thee sound are pronounced differently.
How are they pronounced differently? I read everywhere they are pronounced the same way (but if I don't think about it, I sometimes pronounce h as [h] or [ɦ]).
нехай мій гаманець порожній
моя дорога невідома
я стану вільним, подорожнім
найголовніше вийти з дому

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Re: Difficulties children have in native Polish-learning?

Postby arti » 2008-12-18, 11:40

I read once in a comment that a woman asks her husband to pronounce a word with "h" or "ch" if she doesn't know how to write it. And she hears a difference... I was thinking about this but I am unable to catch any difference. If such a difference existed the world would be much easier :D
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Re: Difficulties children have in native Polish-learning?

Postby pittmirg » 2008-12-18, 12:32

dorenda wrote:
polishboy wrote:By the way, I saw many foriengers learn difference between ch and h.
But hte most Polish does not know about this difference.
I was very suprised when I read that thee sound are pronounced differently.
How are they pronounced differently? I read everywhere they are pronounced the same way (but if I don't think about it, I sometimes pronounce h as [h] or [ɦ]).


They aren't pronounced differently in the standard language and by the vast majority of Polish speakers (both graphemes stand for /x/), the distinction is preserved mostly in some eastern dialects, under the influence of Belarusian and Ukrainian.
I'm also pretty sure that Polish /x/ can be realized allophonically as [h] when before an open vowel, that is, /a/. Thus one could hear pronunciations like ["hata] (realization of /xata/). But [h] and [x], being mere allophones, cannot distinguish words - they're positional variants of the same phoneme. And native speakers with no phonetic training won't even hear the allophonic variation.

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Re: Difficulties children have in native Polish-learning?

Postby Timpul » 2009-02-11, 16:19

In fact realizations such as [ɹ], [ʁ], [ʀ] (...), are relatively common (so common that I sometimes wonder if it won't ultimately lead to some sound change :mrgreen:)

Oh really? I've naver heard a native saying [ɹa'baɹbaɹ] for example :P Sounds utterly stupid! :D

Children also realize r sometimes as [j], such as [jɔ'vɛjɛk] for rowerek. That's cute :)

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Re: Difficulties children have in native Polish-learning?

Postby pittmirg » 2009-02-11, 18:49

Timpul wrote:
In fact realizations such as [ɹ], [ʁ], [ʀ] (...), are relatively common (so common that I sometimes wonder if it won't ultimately lead to some sound change :mrgreen:)

Oh really? I've naver heard a native saying [ɹa'baɹbaɹ] for example :P Sounds utterly stupid! :D


Perhaps you associate [ɹ] with an English-style labialized [ɹʷ], while what I've heard (or produced) is closer to a velarized [ɹˠ] (or maybe just [ɹ] at times ). Furthermore, it is of course non-standard. One of my friends realizes his /r/ as an approximant consistently (which, I'll admit, does sound quite weird), and my /r/ tends to approach [ɹˠ] in non-emphatic speech too. I also produce [ɾ(ˠ)] and [r] as allophones. In fact I can think of at least two acquaintances who speak like that, so I guess it's rather common in my vicinity, be it a speech impediment or whatever.

During a trip, when I was in Kąty Rybackie with my class, we met an ornithologist who actually realized /r/ as a uvular trill. Yeah, it was pretty funny so I had to bite my lips for a while in order not to smile as I was standing right before him.

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Re: Difficulties children have in native Polish-learning?

Postby Quetzalcoatl » 2009-03-02, 10:43

pittmirg wrote:They aren't pronounced differently in the standard language and by the vast majority of Polish speakers (both graphemes stand for /x/), the distinction is preserved mostly in some eastern dialects, under the influence of Belarusian and Ukrainian.
I'm also pretty sure that Polish /x/ can be realized allophonically as [h] when before an open vowel, that is, /a/. Thus one could hear pronunciations like ["hata] (realization of /xata/). But [h] and [x], being mere allophones, cannot distinguish words - they're positional variants of the same phoneme. And native speakers with no phonetic training won't even hear the allophonic variation.



There are some hints, that this allophony perhabs exists: On the contrary to Russians, most native speakers of Polish pronounce "Haus" as [haws] and not [xaws] and some even know how to say [haʊs]... :ohwell:


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