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Early Sensitivity to Telicity: The Role of the Count/Mass Distinction in Event Individuation

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Title:Early Sensitivity to Telicity: The Role of the Count/Mass Distinction in Event Individuation
Authors:Hara, Yukie
Keywords:linguistics
Date Issued:01 Apr 2010
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Department of Linguistics
Citation:Hara, Yukie. 2010. Early Sensitivity to Telicity: The Role of the Count/Mass Distinction in Event Individuation. University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Working Papers in Linguistics 41(4).
Series:University of Hawai‘I at Mānoa Working Papers in Linguistics
Abstract:This paper presents evidence that English-speaking children are sensitive to telicity based on the count/mass distinction of the object noun in verb phrases such as eat an apple (telic) vs. eat ice cream (atelic). Previous work (Wagner and Carey 2003) has demonstrated that children use the presence/absence of the object in a verb phrase to recognize the end point of an event, though children continued to show a bias for a spatio-temporally defined individuation compared to adults. In the present experiment, telicity was specified by the count/mass distinction of the object noun. The results both replicated and extended the general findings of Wagner and Carey: children showed knowledge of telicity, but the spatio-temporal bias was still dominant in their event individuation. It is concluded that children’s sensitivity to telicity stems from sources ranging from syntactic to semantic.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/73233
Rights:Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License
Volume:2010
Appears in Collections: Working Papers in Linguistics - 2010


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