Cue conflicts in context:interplay between morphosyntax and discourse context in Danish preschoolers’ semantic role assignment

Boeg Thomsen, Ditte and Poulsen, Mads (2015) Cue conflicts in context:interplay between morphosyntax and discourse context in Danish preschoolers’ semantic role assignment. Journal of Child Language, 42 (6). pp. 1237-1266. ISSN 0305-0009

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Abstract

When learning their first language, children develop strategies for assigning semantic roles to sentence structures, depending on morphosyntactic cues such as case and word order. Traditionally, comprehension experiments have presented transitive clauses in isolation, and crosslinguistically children have been found to misinterpret object-first constructions by following a word-order strategy (Chan, Lieven & Tomasello, 2009; Dittmar, Abbot-Smith, Lieven & Tomasello, 2008; Hakuta, 1982; McDonald, 1989; Slobin & Bever, 1982). In an act-out study, we replicated this finding with Danish preschoolers. However, object-first clauses may be context-sensitive structures, which are infelicitous in isolation. In a second act-out study we presented OVS clauses in supportive and unsupportive discourse contexts and in isolation and found that five-to-six-year-olds’ OVS comprehension was enhanced in discourse-pragmatically felicitous contexts. Our results extend previous findings of preschoolers’ sensitivity to discourse-contextual cues in sentence comprehension (Hurewitz, 2001; Song & Fisher, 2005) to the basic task of assigning agent and patient roles.

Item Type: Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Child Language
Uncontrolled Keywords: /dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200/3204
Subjects:
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Linguistics & English Language
ID Code: 85210
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 16 Mar 2017 04:50
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2020 10:15
URI: https://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/85210

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