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ERIC Number: EJ777145
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Feb
Pages: 17
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0305-0009
Understanding Completion Entailments in the Absence of Agency Cues
Wagner, Laura
Journal of Child Language, v29 n1 p109-125 Feb 2002
This study investigated the role that agency information plays in children's early interpretations of grammatical aspect morphology, in particular, the progressive "-ing" and simple past forms. Fifty-nine children (two-, four- and five-year olds) were presented with a forced-choice sentence-to-scene matching task very similar to the one used by Weist and colleagues (Weist, 1991; Weist, Wysocka & Lyytinen, 1991; Weist, Lyytinen, Wysocka & Atanassova, 1997), except that here the scenes contained only information about the relative completion of the object of the event and no information about the state of the agent of the event. In contrast to previous research, the children here did not succeed at this object-oriented task until as late as age five; moreover, also contra previous work, when they did succeed, their performance tracked the formal entailments of grammatical aspect. Thus, subjects consistently matched the perfective sentence to the completed event (reflecting the perfective's entailment of completion) but never consistently matched the imperfective sentence to either scene (reflecting the imperfective's lack of entailments). It is argued that agent-oriented meaning, in particular, intentionality, has priority in the mapping process over object-oriented completion entailments. [This research was supported by a fellowship from the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science at the University of Pennsylvania.]
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A