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Ampersand: An International Journal of General and Applied Linguistics

Edited By R. Cann, H. Pichler, K. Van De Poel, D. van Olmen, and K. Watson


Academic Paper


Title: Splitting the notion of 'agent': case-marking in early child Hindi
Author: Bhuvana Narasinham
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.mpi.nl/world/persons/profession/bhuvana.html
Institution: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Syntax
Abstract: Two construals of agency are evaluated as possible innate biases guiding case-marking in children. A BROAD construal treats agentive arguments of multi-participant and single-participant events as being similar. A NARROWER construal is restricted to agents of multi-participant events. In Hindi, ergative case-marking is associated with agentive participants of multi-participant, perfective actions. Children relying on a broad or narrow construal of agent are predicted to overextend ergative case-marking to agentive participants of transitive imperfective actions and/or intransitive actions. Longitudinal data from three children acquiring Hindi (1;7 to 3;9) reveal no overextension errors, suggesting early sensitivity to distributional patterns in the input.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Journal of Child Language Vol. 32, Issue 4, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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