Development of directive expressions in Russian adult-child communication

Maria D. Voeikova, Kira Bayda

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The paper focuses on the development of language tools used to express directive meanings in Russian L1 acquisition based on the recordings of the spontaneous speech of two Russian children, a boy (1;6-2;8 years) and a girl (1;6-3;7 years). The acquisition of directives in Russian begins with imperative or infinitive forms. Singular imperative forms (e.g. Daj! ‘give.IMP.2SG’) are dominant during the whole period of observation in both adults and children. From the beginning of the third year of life children start to use the hortative and its frequency steadily increases both in child-directed speech and child speech. Periphrastic constructions with the imperative particle davaj (Davaj spojom! ‘Let’s sing!'), modal adverbs (Nado poigrat’! ‘It is necessary to play’) and elliptic constructions occur later in Russian child speech. Indirect requests expressed by hortatives and constructions with modal verbs and particles are deeply influenced by child-directed speech and therefore develop at a different pace in the speech of the two subjects. However, as far as the repertoire of verb forms used in directive utterances is concerned, children are selective in the choice of imperative lemmas and do not simply repeat the forms used by their parents.

Translated title of the contributionРазвитие директивных высказываний в диалогах русских родителей с детьми
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDevelopment of Modality in First Language Acquisition
Subtitle of host publicationA Cross-Linguistic Perspective
EditorsUrsula Stephany, Ayhan Aksu-Koç
Place of PublicationBerlin-Boston
PublisherDe Gruyter
Number of pages45
ISBN (Electronic)9781501504457
ISBN (Print)9781501512452
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2021

Publication series

NameStudies on Language Acquisition

Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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