Argument Structure Preferences in Pre-School and School-Age Children*
Study of the acquisition of verb argument structure is an area that has seen considerable growth in recent years, particularly since the appearance of Pinker’s (1989) study of the acquisition of argument structure alternations (see e.g., Brinkman, 1995;Gropen et al., 1989;Gropen et al., 1991;Ingham, 1990,Ingham, 1993/4; Naigles, 1990). In this paper we wish to investigate a relatively less studied aspect of argument structure in children’s language. Although some light has been cast on constraints that underlie argument structure alternations, and the lexical representations involved in argument structure alternations that can be ascribed to children, not much is known about how argument structure typically develops in use between the pre-school and early school years, and whether certain argument structure realisations are more typical of certain stages of development than others. Our intention in this paper is to investigate this issue, focusing on a few of the better studied argument structure types, especially those involving what can loosely be called location events, in which an entity moves or is moved to another location.
KeywordsSpecific Language Impairment Direct Object Argument Structure Semantic Role Sentence Length
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Brinkmann, U. (1995). The Iticative alternation: its structure and acquisition. PhD Thesis University of Nijmegen.Google Scholar
- Carter, R. (1988). “On linking”. Papers by Richard Carter, edited by B. Levin, & C. Tenny. Lexicon Project working papers No. 25. Centre for Cognitive Science, MIT.Google Scholar
- Fletcher, P., R. Ingham, C. Schelleter, & 1. Sinka (in preparation). Verb alternations in English-speaking children with Specific Language Impairment. Ms. University of Hong Kong.Google Scholar
- Ingham, R. (1990). Lexical structure and children’s syntax. in: M. Forrester, L.-A. Smith, & B. Shire (eds.):Proceedings of the 1990 Child Language Seminar, University of Kent at Canterbury, pp. 74–85.Google Scholar
- Ingham, R. (1993/4). Input and learnability: Direct-Object Omissibility in English. Language Acquisition 3/2, 95–120.Google Scholar
- Ingham, R., P. Fletcher, C. Schelleter, & I. Sinka (in press). Resultative VPs and Specific Language Impairment. To appear in Language Acquisition 8.Google Scholar
- Pinker, S. (1984). Language learnability and language development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.Google Scholar
- Pinker, S. (1989). Learnability and cognition: the acquisition of argument structure. MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Pye, C. (1994). A crosslinguistic approach to the causative alternation In: Y. Levy (ed.) Other children, other Erlbaum: New JerseyGoogle Scholar
- Slobin, D. (1981). The origins of grammatical encoding of events. In W. Deutsch (ed.) The child’s construction of language. London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Slobin, D. (1985). A crosslinguistic approach to language acquisition. Lawrence Erlbaum: Hillsdale.Google Scholar