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The emergence of the semantics of tense and aspect in the language of a visually impaired child

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Item Summary

Title:The emergence of the semantics of tense and aspect in the language of a visually impaired child
Authors:Wilson, Robert Benjamin
Keywords:Children with visual disabilities -- Language
English language -- Tense
English language -- Aspect
English language -- Semantics
Date Issued:1985
Abstract:This is a naturalistic, quantitative study of the emergence of tense notion of pastness and the aspectual notion of punctuality in a visually impaired -- but otherwise normal -- child's acquisition of English from 24 to 54 months of age. Naturalness of the sample was safeguarded by the elimination of imitated and repeated utterances as well as those for which the tense or verb had been modeled by the caregiver. It was found that 1) Stem change was significantly related to the aspectual notion of punctuality throughout the period of the study, as was -ed during some periods and with some populations of verbs. 2) Due to strategies typical of visually impaired children Seth extracted the form didja from the input directed to him and used it -- without interrogatory, person/number or aspectual reference -- for 10 months as a simple marker of past tense. 3) Stem change, -ed, and didja all appeared at 24 months. 4) The change of state notion was not significantly related to any morphological marker, though it figured in a disproportionate share of the utterances. Conclusions: 1) The solid mapping of stem change and the more marginal mapping of -ed onto the notion of punctuality, and the mapping of unbound didja onto the pastness notion bear out claims that children expect aspect -- specifically punctuality to be marked nearest the verb and tense further away. 2) The simultaneous emergence of the marking of both semantic notions leads us to suggest that claims about the relatively late emergence of tense arise from observing children's interaction with the peculiarities of Indo- European verb m0r~hology the children, that is, expecting stem change to mark aspect -- rather than from the asserted cognitive difficulty of tense notions for two-year- olds. 3) The high cognitive salience -- relatively high text frequency -- of the change of state notion gives the false impression that it is also semantically relevant. That this is not true underscores the independence of language and cognition.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1985.
Bibliography: leaves 147-151.
xiv, 151 leaves, bound 29 cm
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Linguistics

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