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ERIC Number: ED555369
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 212
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3033-9488-1
Development of Lexical and Syntactic Representations: The Acquisition of Symmetrical and Asymmetrical Verbs
Gurcanli, Ozge
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Johns Hopkins University
This dissertation concerns the acquisition of the interaction between lexicosemantic properties of verbs and syntax, focusing on symmetrical and asymmetrical verbs in different syntactic structures. Based on linguistic evidence, it is shown that two conceptual categories, Mutuality and Number, interact to give rise to four event-types: Single (A??B) and Multiple (sequentially-derived) mutual (A?B, A?B), and Single (A?B), Multiple (parallel) non-mutual (A?B?). The mapping between the four event types and syntax is tested in three experiments to explore whether symmetrical and asymmetrical verbs have distinct lexical representations. First, in an elicited production task, English and Turkish-speaking children's (3;0-3;08 and 5;0-5;08) and adults' knowledge is assessed by looking at the type of syntactic structures they produced in response to the four event types. Children as young as five were sensitive to the complex interaction between lexicon and syntax, though three-year-olds showed mixed results. Strikingly, English and Turkish speakers performed similarly. Second, in a comprehension task, the mapping from events to sentences is examined by asking whether English-speaking children (3;0-3;08, 5;0-5;08, and 7;0-7;08) and adults map sentences heard in varying structures ([A Verb B], [A and B Verb], [A and B Verb each other]), onto different event types when they act them out. The results were parallel to the results from the production task. Regardless of the frame type, symmetrical verbs mostly mapped onto mutual events, while asymmetrical verbs were mapped onto different events. Finally, the different scopal effects of "each other" on symmetrical and asymmetrical verbs were assessed in a Truth-Value-Judgment Task. English speaking children (4;11-5;09) and adults, judged whether sentences like "The monkey and the penguin met/kicked each other two times" mapped onto 1 or 2 sequentially-derived mutual events ((A?B, A?B) vs. (A ?B, A?B) x2). Both children and adults distinctively chose different events for symmetrical versus symmetrical verbs (1 vs. 2), although the results for asymmetrical verbs were more varied. Overall, the findings show that the distinct representation of symmetrical and asymmetrical verbs is a core distinction, which is shared across languages and the knowledge of the distinction is available to children as young as three-year-olds. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A