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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.

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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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