Encoding Motion Events: A Study of Mandarin-speaking Children
|Authors:||林珊如||Keywords:||動態事件;空間語言;語言習得;motion events;spatial language;language acquisition||Issue Date:||2006||Abstract:||
The present research aims (1) to investigate how Mandarin-speaking children encode motion events presented by motion pictures and (2) to examine how children use novel manner verbs in encoding motion events. Two studies were conducted. Twelve four-year-olds, twelve six-year-olds, and twelve adults participated in Study 1 and were asked to describe ten motion events presented by ten motion pictures. The results revealed that eighteen constructions were elicited in terms of combinations of five motion event components: manner, path, deixis, source and goal. It was found that manners played an important role in encoding motion events since the majority of motion event constructions were encoded with a manner verb and that manner + path + deixis was the most productive construction for both children and adults. For children, space cognition and language are related in encoding since they tended not to encode manners when manners of motion are not explicitly presented and used the path + deixis construction. Furthermore, source and goal are important components for acquisition of motion events since their syntactic effect on structures of constructions raise the complexity in encoding motion events.
Study 2 was conducted to examine children’s use of novel manner verbs and the effect of the morphosyntactic features of the novel manners on children’s use of these novel manner verbs. Thirty four-year-olds and thirty six-year-olds participated in this study, in which two tasks were designed. In Task 1, with the monosyllabic or disyllabic novel manner verb learned in training session, subjects were asked to describe four motion events presented with the novel manner and acted by puppets in stories. Task 2 was designed as a reference to have subjects describe four motion pictures in Study 1 which serve as the settings in Task 1. The results suggested that children used different linguistic devices for encoding novel manner verbs and the novel manner verb while the morphosyntactic features of novel manner verbs did not show any effect in encoding. With hesitation to treat novel manner verbs as familiar ones, children used dual manner encoding to use familiar manner verbs with old constructions but not directly put novel manners into these constructions. Such linguistic manipulations of novel manner verbs were more greatly produced by six-year-olds than by four-year-olds. We conclude that children have to acquire motion event elements and constructions in Mandarin and adults’ perspectives for motion events. Furthermore, how children use novel manner verbs in encoding motion events helps us to know that children’s linguistic knowledge does not only apply to familiar linguistic patterns, but also to new linguistic tasks they encounter.
|Appears in Collections:||語言學研究所|
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