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Academic Paper

Title: Emerging temporality: past tense and temporal/aspectual markers in Spanish-speaking children's intra-conversational narratives
Author: Paola Uccelli
Institution: Harvard Graduate School of Education
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Morphology
Abstract: This study describes how young Spanish-speaking children become gradually more adept at encoding temporality using grammar and discourse skills in intra-conversational narratives. The research involved parallel case studies of two Spanish-speaking children followed longitudinally from ages two to three. Type/token frequencies of verb tense, temporal/aspectual markers and narrative components were analyzed to explore interrelationships among grammatical and discourse skills. Children progressed from scattered unsystematic means of encoding temporality to mastering a basic linguistic system that included devices to mark location of events, temporal relations and aspectual meanings. The consolidation of perfective past tense to express narrative events marked a crucial developmental point which preceded an explosion of additional verb tenses and temporal markers. The value of spontaneous language data, and the need to study grammar and discourse simultaneously to construct a comprehensive developmental picture are highlighted. Results are discussed in relation to theoretical proposals on the development of temporality.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 36, Issue 5, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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