LINGUIST List 13.1786

Tue Jun 25 2002

Books: Applied Linguistics, Angelika Wittek

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  1. Julia Ulrich, Learning the Meaning of Change-of-State Verbs by Angelika Wittek

Message 1: Learning the Meaning of Change-of-State Verbs by Angelika Wittek

Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2002 12:15:32 +0200
From: Julia Ulrich <>
Subject: Learning the Meaning of Change-of-State Verbs by Angelika Wittek


>From the series
Studies on Language Acquisition (SOLA)
Series Editor: Peter Jordens

Wittek, Angelika

2002. 23 x 15,5 cm.
VIII, 233 pages. Cloth.
Approx. EUR 88,- /sFr 141,- /approx. US$ 88.00

ISBN 3-11-017304-2

(Studies on Language Acquisition 17)


Causative change-of-state verbs like 'to open', 'to fill', and 'to
wake' are central to both recent theories of grammatical development
and theories of lexical structure. This book focuses on how
German-speaking children learn the meaning of change-of-state
verbs. It offers a thorough characterization of the acquisition of
German, embedded in a crosslinguistic perspective. The author provides
a comprehensive review of the acquisition literature on that topic and
introduces a new account as to how the meaning of these verbs can be
learned. The empirical backbone of the investigation are a set of
carefully designed experimental studies.

>From the Contents:

Chapter I

1. What does it take to learn the meaning of a verb?
1.1. Why learning the meaning of verbs is difficult
1.1.1. The problem of determining verb meaning by observation
1.1.2. The problem of complexity of verb meaning
1.2. Why learning the meaning of change-of-state verbs should be
easy,but it isn't - previewing the learning paradox
2. Goals and organization of this study

Chapter II
A paradox: Learning the meaning of change-of-state verbs
should be easy, but it isn't

1. Children are sensitive to state changes from early on
2. The learning problem: Children neglect the endstate in interpreting
change-of-state verbs
2.1. Evidence for children's neglect of the endstate
2.2. Why would children neglect the endstate?
2.3. How to test the scope of the neglect of endstate: The Transparent
Endstate Hypothesis
3. Conclusion

Chapter III
Is the learning problem due to mapping problems? Testing the Transparent
Endstate Hypothesis

1. How causal state changes are lexicalized in German
2. Experiment 1: Transparent endstates (Type: wachmachen 'awake-make')
2.1. Method
2.2. Experimental predictions
2.3. Results
2.4. A tree-based modeling analysis of the data
2.5. Discussion
3. Experiment 2: Transparent endstates (Type: wachklingeln 'awake-ring')

3.1. Method
3.2.Experimental predictions
3.3. Results
3.4. Discussion
4. Experiment 3: Transparent endstates made salient (Type: wachmachen
4.1. Method
4.2. Experimental predictions
4.3. Results
4.4. A tree-based modeling analysis of the data
4.5. Discussion
5.General Discussion
6. Conclusion

Chapter IV
A subtle learning problem: The Weak Endstate

1. The resolution of the paradox?
1.1. Characterizing children's interpretation of change-of-state verbs:
The Weak Endstate
1.2. "Weak" endstates in the adult language
1.3. Change-of-state verbs in a broader crosslinguistic perspective
1.4. The learning problem is more subtle than we thought
2. How does the child correct inappropriate Weak Endstate
2.1. The Syntactic Bootstrapping Hypothesis
2.2. A related proposal: Morphological Bootstrapping
2.3. The Semantic Structure Hypothesis Testing Hypothesis
3. Conclusion

Chapter V
Modifiers as cues to verb meaning

1. How could the learner use modifiers as cues to verb meaning?
1.1. What do modifiers do?
1.2. The Adverbial Modification Cue Hypothesis
2. A candidate solution to the Weak Endstate problem: wieder 'again'
2.1. The properties of again
2.2. Restitutive again as an Adverbial Modification Cue
3. Do children have knowledge of restitutive wieder 'again',and do
caretakers use it in their speech?
3.1. Evidence from previous studies
3.2. A CHILDES search
4. Children's and adults' use of restitutive wieder 'again' with
morphologically complex vs. simple change-of-state verbs: An exploratory
4.1. Method
4.2. Predictions
4.3. Results
4.4. Discussion
5. Conclusion

Chapter VI
Testing the Adverbial Modification Cue Hypothesis

1. Developing an experimental design to test restitutive wieder 'again'
as an Adverbial Modification Cue
2. Experiment 4: Testing restitutive wieder 'again' as a cue that a verb

entails an endstate
2.1. Method
2.2. Experimental prediction
2.3. Results
2.4. Discussion
3. Experiment 5 (control experiment)
3.1. Method
3.2. Experimental prediction
3.3. Results
3.4. Discussion
4. General Discussion: A broader perspective on the Adverbial
Modification Cue Hypothesis
5. Conclusion

Chapter VII
Summary: The status of the endstate in children's semantic
representations of change-of-state verbs




Subject Index

Author Index

For more information please contact the publisher:

Mouton de Gruyter
Genthiner Str. 13
10785 Berlin, Germany
Fax: +49 30 26005 222

Please visit our website for other publications by Mouton de Gruyter

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Thursday, January 17, 2002