ERIC Number: EJ791463
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Reference Count: 0
Turkish Children use Morphosyntactic Bootstrapping in Interpreting Verb Meaning
Goksun, Tilbe; Kuntay, Aylin C.; Naigles, Letitia R.
Journal of Child Language, v35 n2 p291-323 May 2008
How might syntactic bootstrapping apply in Turkish, which employs inflectional morphology to indicate grammatical relations and allows argument ellipsis? We investigated whether Turkish speakers interpret constructions differently depending on the number of NPs in the sentence, the presence of accusative case marking and the causative morpheme. Data were collected from 60 child speakers and 16 adults. In an adaptation of Naigles, Gleitman & Gleitman (1993), the participants acted out sentences (6 transitive and 6 intransitive verbs in four different frames). The enactments were coded for causativity. Causative enactments increased in two-argument frames and decreased in one-argument frames, albeit to a lesser extent than previously found in English. This effect was generally stronger in children than in adults. Causative enactments increased when the accusative case marker was present. The causative morpheme yielded no increase in causative enactments. These findings highlight roles for morphological and syntactic cues in verb learning by Turkish children.
Descriptors: Sentences, Cues, Verbs, Morphemes, Turkish, Grammar, Morphology (Languages), Phrase Structure, Nouns, Language Research, Child Language, Adults, Role, Language Acquisition
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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