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Perspective-shifts in event descriptions in Tamil child language

Narasimhan, Bhuvana and Gullberg, Marianne LU (2006) In Journal of Child Language 33(1). p.99-124
Abstract
Children are able to take multiple perspectives in talking about entities and events. But the nature of children's sensitivities to the complex patterns of perspective-taking in adult language is unknown. We examine perspective-taking in four- and six-year-old Tamil-speaking children describing placement events, as reflected in the use of a general placement verb (veyyii ‘put’) versus two fine-grained caused posture expressions specifying orientation, either vertical (nikka veyyii ‘make stand’) or horizontal (paDka veyyii ‘make lie’). We also explore whether animacy systematically promotes shifts to a fine-grained perspective. The results show that four- and six-year-olds switch perspectives as flexibly and systematically as adults do.... (More)
Children are able to take multiple perspectives in talking about entities and events. But the nature of children's sensitivities to the complex patterns of perspective-taking in adult language is unknown. We examine perspective-taking in four- and six-year-old Tamil-speaking children describing placement events, as reflected in the use of a general placement verb (veyyii ‘put’) versus two fine-grained caused posture expressions specifying orientation, either vertical (nikka veyyii ‘make stand’) or horizontal (paDka veyyii ‘make lie’). We also explore whether animacy systematically promotes shifts to a fine-grained perspective. The results show that four- and six-year-olds switch perspectives as flexibly and systematically as adults do. Animacy influences shifts to a fine-grained perspective similarly across age groups. However, unexpectedly, six-year-olds also display greater overall sensitivity to orientation, preferring the vertical over the horizontal caused posture expression. Despite early flexibility, the factors governing the patterns of perspective-taking on events are undergoing change even in later childhood, reminiscent of U-shaped semantic reorganizations observed in children's lexical knowledge. The present study points to the intriguing possibility that mechanisms that operate at the level of semantics could also influence subtle patterns of lexical choice and perspective-shifts. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
placement, event description, first language acquisition, perspective-taking, cause motion, Tamil
in
Journal of Child Language
volume
33
issue
1
pages
99 - 124
publisher
Cambridge University Press
external identifiers
  • scopus:33344465714
ISSN
1469-7602
DOI
10.1017/S0305000905007191
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
9ffa21d8-1da3-4fbe-9f6e-efe79e6d2af3 (old id 1611791)
date added to LUP
2010-06-04 14:29:09
date last changed
2017-01-01 07:41:25
@article{9ffa21d8-1da3-4fbe-9f6e-efe79e6d2af3,
  abstract     = {Children are able to take multiple perspectives in talking about entities and events. But the nature of children's sensitivities to the complex patterns of perspective-taking in adult language is unknown. We examine perspective-taking in four- and six-year-old Tamil-speaking children describing placement events, as reflected in the use of a general placement verb (veyyii ‘put’) versus two fine-grained caused posture expressions specifying orientation, either vertical (nikka veyyii ‘make stand’) or horizontal (paDka veyyii ‘make lie’). We also explore whether animacy systematically promotes shifts to a fine-grained perspective. The results show that four- and six-year-olds switch perspectives as flexibly and systematically as adults do. Animacy influences shifts to a fine-grained perspective similarly across age groups. However, unexpectedly, six-year-olds also display greater overall sensitivity to orientation, preferring the vertical over the horizontal caused posture expression. Despite early flexibility, the factors governing the patterns of perspective-taking on events are undergoing change even in later childhood, reminiscent of U-shaped semantic reorganizations observed in children's lexical knowledge. The present study points to the intriguing possibility that mechanisms that operate at the level of semantics could also influence subtle patterns of lexical choice and perspective-shifts.},
  author       = {Narasimhan, Bhuvana and Gullberg, Marianne},
  issn         = {1469-7602},
  keyword      = {placement,event description,first language acquisition,perspective-taking,cause motion,Tamil},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {99--124},
  publisher    = {Cambridge University Press},
  series       = {Journal of Child Language},
  title        = {Perspective-shifts in event descriptions in Tamil child language},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305000905007191},
  volume       = {33},
  year         = {2006},
}