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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter aims to provide a large overview of research focusing on the development of modality and mood during first language acquisition. This overview synthesizes results concerning both early and later phases of development, within and across a large number of languages, and including some more peripheral categories, such as evidentials and tense–aspect markings. Results recurrently show the earlier acquisition of agent-oriented modality as compared to epistemic modality. However, cross-linguistic variation has raised some questions about this acquisition sequence, suggesting that language-specific properties may partially impact timing during acquisition. In addition, findings about later phases show a long developmental process whereby children gradually come to master complex semantic and pragmatic modal distinctions. The discussion highlights the contribution of these conclusions to current theoretical debates, such as the role of input factors and the relation between language and cognition during ontogenesis.

Keywords: language acquisition, first language, evidential, input, modality, agent-oriented, epistemic, mood, tense–aspect

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