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Séminaire Octogone : "Cognition and Motion Event Semantics: A Basis for Single and Multiword Predicates"

le 6 février 2013
14h - 16h

de Lorraine McCune (Rutgers University)

Résumé :

Problem: Do the motion event meanings of the single word period predict meanings expressed in the earliest sentences? Dynamic event word and verb use was examined in seven English-learning children video-recorded monthly from 14 to 24 months. Age of multiword onset ranged from 17-23 months and MLU at 24 months from 1.50 - 3.88, mean 560 combinations produced.
Results: Dynamic event words comprised (70%) of single word predicates, few verbs occurred, and those accompanied child action. Combinations continued these meanings with general purpose verbs (e.g., put, go, do, make; 59%) and dynamic event words (26%). More complex verbs, e.g., walk vs  go, (15%) were limited in use to single typical situations accompanying child action or occurred in unanalyzed phrases.
Conclusion: Why are “ordinary” verbs so sparse in some languages at the beginning? We claim that early cognitive motion event understanding, filtered through the semantics of the ambient language, forms the basis for initial predication. In English, a satellite-framed language, first true verbs “bootstrap” on dynamic event word meanings, opening the door to more complex verbs and their syntactic patterns. In verb-framed languages  (e.g., French, Korean ) children begin with single verbs for meanings comparable to those in English, but at first limit verb use in sentences to the motion event meanings we describe. In  earliest sentences English-learning, children rely on such verbs as “do”, “make”, “find”, “come” and “go” because these express a dawning sense of self activity in relation to established semantic relationships. Their use may facilitate further syntactic and semantic steps. Broader single verb use in other languages may predict a different path to early sentences.

Pour en savoir plus sur Lorraine McCune, voir ici !

Lieu(x) :
MdR, salle D31


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