While the few studies of child future expression have noted that the periphrastic variant is more common in children's speech than adults', to the best of our knowledge little if any work has been done on child L1 expression of futurity from a variationist perspective. Given this gap in the literature, the current study applies variationist methods to the study of future expression in the L1 child speech of Madrid via a subset of the Becacesno corpus of the CHILDES database. A total of 40 children, equally stratified from three to 12 years of age, were included in this subset. Results indicate a lower use of MF than attested in the adult L1 literature. Additionally, the binomial regression run in GoldVarb X revealed three significant factor groups: speaker sex, speaker age, and subject animacy. Female children favored the MF, while males disfavored it. The youngest children most strongly disfavored the MF, and a cross-tabulation of age and sex revealed that girls produced the MF earlier than boys and produced a significantly higher percentage of MF than their male counterparts until later in childhood, which supports previous literature of earlier female linguistic development. Also, non-human grammatical subjects favored the MF. Generally, the MF was shown to only be favored in the least frequent linguistic contexts of each factor group, which serves as further evidence of the PF's status as the default marker of futurity for the children analyzed.
Selected Proceedings of the 16th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Jennifer Cabrelli Amaro, Gillian Lord, Ana de Prada Pérez, and Jessi Elana Aaron
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