Linguistik-Klassifikation: Spracherwerb / Language acquisition
MAIN: Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives
Natalʹja Vladimirovna Gagarina
- The Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives (MAIN) was designed in order to assess narrative skills in children who acquire one or more languages from birth or from early age. MAIN is suitable for children from 3 to 10 years and evaluates both comprehension and production of narratives. Its design allows for the assessment of several languages in the same child, as well as for different elicitation modes: Model Story, Retelling, and Telling.
MAIN contains four parallel stories, each with a carefully designed six-picture sequence. The stories are controlled for cognitive and linguistic complexity, parallelism in macrostructure and microstructure, as well as for cultural appropriateness and robustness.
The instrument has been developed on the basis of extensive piloting with more than 550 monolingual and bilingual children aged 3 to 10, for 15 different languages and language combinations.
Even though MAIN has not been norm-referenced yet, its standardized procedures can be used for evaluation, intervention and research purposes. MAIN is currently available in the following languages: English, Afrikaans, Albanian, Basque, Bulgarian, Croatian, Cypriot Greek, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Italian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Standard Arabic, Swedish, Turkish, Vietnamese, and Welsh.
Sprachstandstest Russisch für mehrsprachige Kinder = Russian language proficiency test for multilingual children
Natalʹja Vladimirovna Gagarina
- The 'Russian language proficiency test for multilingual children' is a linguistically and psycholinguistically-grounded test for L1-Russian bilingual children of pre-school and elementary school age. It allows the evaluation of language proficiency in Russian for scientific, therapeutic, and pedagogical purposes. The test is based on preliminary norms: data of 167 German-Russian bilingual children between the ages of 3 years and 6 years 11 months were evaluated.
Bilingual children's proficiency is examined in the following language domains:
- productive and receptive lexicon for verbs and nouns
- production of morphological marking on verbs (first and second-person singular present verbal inflection) and nouns (accusative and dative case singular)
- comprehension of grammatical constructions on the sentence level
The test should be administered by a competent – ideally native – speaker of Russian, and takes approximately 60 minutes to administer.
In addition to the test itself, the 'Russian language proficiency test for multilingual children' contains a questionnaire for gathering detailed information on the input situation as well as the child's previous linguistic and extra-linguistic development. The questionnaire is written in English and Russian and is intended to be filled out by the parents.
The acquisition of Greek case, number, and gender: a usage based approach
- Children […] growing up with highly inflected languages such as Modern Greek will frequently hear different grammatical forms of a given lexeme used in different grammatical and semantic-pragmatic contexts. In spite of the fact that the Greek noun is not as highly inflected as the verb, acquisition of nominal inflection of this inflecting-fusional language is quite complex, comprising the three categories of case, number, and gender. As is usual in this type of language, the formation of case-number forms obeys different patterns that apply to largely arbitrary classes of nominal lexemes partially based on gender. Further, frequency of the occurrence of the three gender classes and case-number forms of nouns greatly differs in spoken Greek, regarding both the types and tokens. […] [A] child learning an inflecting-fusional language like Greek must construct different inflectional patterns depending not only on parts of speech but also on subclasses within a given part of speech, such as gender classes of nouns and inflectional classes within or (exceptionally) across genders. It is therefore to be expected that the early development of case and number distinctions will apply to specific nouns and subclasses of nouns rather than the totality of Greek nouns. The two main theoretical approaches of morphological development that will be discussed in the present paper are the usage-based approach and the pre- and protomorphology approach.
Children's use of referring expressions : some implications for theory of mind
Jeanette K. Gundel
- This paper presents results of corpus analytic investigations of children's use of referring expressions and considers possible implications of this work for questions relating to development of theory of mind. The study confirms previous findings that children use the full range of referring forms (definite and indefinite articles, demonstrative determiners, and demonstrative and personal pronouns) appropriately by age 3 or earlier. It also provides support for two distinct stages in mind-reading ability. The first, which is implicit and non-propositional, includes the ability to assess cognitive statuses such as familiarity and focus of attention in relation to the intended referent; the second, which is propositional and more conscious, includes the ability to assess epistemic states such as knowledge and belief. Distinguishing these two stages supports attempts to reconcile seemingly inconsistent results concerning the age at which children develop theory of mind. It also makes it possible to explain why children learn to use forms correctly be-fore they exhibit the pragmatic ability to consider and calculate quantity implicatures.
Pronouns in competition : predicting acquisition delays cross-linguistically
- It is well known that English children between the age of 4 and 6 display a so-called Delay of Principle B Effect (DPBE) in that they allow pronouns to refer to a local c-commanding antecedent. Their guessing pattern with pronouns contrasts with their adult-like interpretation of reflexives. The DPBE has been explained as resulting from a lack of pragmatic knowledge or insufficient cognitive resources. However, such extra-grammatical accounts cannot explain why the DPBE only shows up in particular languages and in particular syntactic environments. Moreover, such accounts fail to explain why the DPBE only emerges in comprehension and not in production. This paper hypothesizes that the presence or absence of the DPBE can be explained from the properties of the grammar. Fischer's (2004) optimality-theoretic analysis of binding, explaining cross-linguistic variation, and Hendriks and Spenader's (2005/6) optimality-theoretic account of the acquisition of pronouns and reflexives are combined into a single model. This model yields testable predictions with respect to the presence or absence of the DPBE in particular languages, in particular syntactic environments, and in comprehension and/or production.
Influence of animacy and grammatical role on production and comprehension of intersentential pronouns in German L1-acquisition
- In anaphora resolution theory, it has been assumed that anaphora resolution is based on a reversed mapping of antecedent salience and anaphora complexity: minimal complex anaphora refer to maximal salient antecedents. In order to ex-amine whether and by which developmental steps German children gain command of this mapping maxim we conducted an experiment on production and comprehension of intersentential pronouns including the three pronoun types zero, personal, and demonstrative pronoun. With respect to antecedent salience, the experiment varied syntactic role (subject/object) and in/animacy. Six age groups of children (age range from 2;0 to 6;0) and an adult control group has been tested. The hypothesis arising from the mapping maxim is that zero pronoun correlates with more salient antecedents than personal and demonstrative pronoun, the latter correlating with the least salient antecedents. The results are: In production, children first establish the opposition of zero pronoun with animate antecedents vs. demonstrative pronoun with inanimate antecedents. In a next step, syntactic role comes into play and a more complex system opposing the three presented pronoun types is established. In comprehension, however, the effect of pronoun type re-mains weak and antecedent features remain a strong factor in reference choice. However, also adults employ pronoun type and antecedent features. The oldest children and the adults show variation in personal pronoun resolution according to the animacy pattern of the potential antecedents. In case of identical animacy features, the subject is the preferred candidate; in case of distinct animacy features, there is a tendency to choose the object antecedent.
Production and comprehension of intersentential pronominal reference in early child Bulgarian : an experimental study
- The paper presents results from a combined production and comprehension study addressing some of the factors which guide the establishment of intersentential pronominal reference in child and adult Bulgarian. We investigate the time course and different stages in the acquisition of null, personal and demonstrative pro-nouns and their specific anaphoric functions. We target possible age-induced changes in the salience hierarchy of referent features such as animacy and grammatical role. Following the general consent in the field of anaphora research, we assume a division of labour between different pronominal forms with respect to the salience of their referents. Based on the data of Bulgarian preschool children we investigate the validity of this form-function relation, its language-specific shape and its developmentally induced variation. The results reveal an initial prominence of animate referents which later on develops into preference for animate subjects. Although the investigated 3 to 5 year old Bulgarian children do not stick to the adult anaphora resolution strategy, they comply with the principle of the reversed mapping within the range of tested pronouns and react according to their salience criteria which promote animate subjects as the most prominent co-reference candidates.
Noun phrases, pronouns and anaphoric reference in young children narratives
Natalia Vladimirovna Gagarina
- This paper deals with the development of discourse competence in German-, Russian- and Bulgarian-speaking children. In particular, it examines the use of anaphoric pronominal reference in elicited narrations of children between the ages of 2;6 and 6;0. As the pronominal (and nominal) systems of target German, Russian and Bulgarian differ in the repertoire and functions of anaphoric elements we will examine which kind of noun phrases children use to make reference to story participants. In a second step of the analysis, we will investigate how pronominal expressions relate to antecedents. In this respect the pronominal form of the anaphor, the syntactic function of the antecedent and the distance between antecedent and anaphor will be analyzed. The findings will be discussed with regard to predictions made by proposals such as the Complementary Hypothesis (Bosch, Rozario, and Zhao 2003) which assumes an asymmetry between the use of personal pro-nouns and demonstrative pronouns when referring back to subject or object antecedents.
Intersentential pronominal reference in child and adult language : proceedings of the Conference on Intersentential Pronominal Reference in Child and Adult Language, December 1 - 2, 2006, Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS), Berlin
- The 48th volume of the ZAS Papers in Linguistics presents selected papers from the conference on Intersentential pronominal reference in child and adult language held at the ZAS in December, 2006. The conference, organized by the project Acquisition and disambiguation of intersentential pronominal reference, brought together leading researchers dealing with anaphora resolution in diverse theoretical approaches and the acquisition perspective on pronominal reference taken by the ZAS project.
A study of the McGurk effect in 4 and 5-year-old French Canadian children
- It has been shown that visual cues play a crucial role in the perception of vowels and consonants. Conflicting consonantal stimuli presented in the visual and auditory modalities can even result in the emergence of a third perceptual unit (McGurk effect). From a developmental point of view, several studies report that newborns can associate the image of a face uttering a given vowel to the auditory signal corresponding to this vowel; visual cues are thus used by the newborns. Despite the large number of studies carried out with adult speakers and newborns, very little work has been conducted with preschool-aged children. This contribution is aimed at describing the use of auditory and visual cues by 4 and 5-year-old French Canadian speakers, compared to adult speakers, in the identification of voiced consonants. Audiovisual recordings of a French Canadian speaker uttering the sequences [aba], [ada], [aga], [ava], [ibi], [idi], [igi], [ivi] have been carried out. The acoustic and visual signals have been extracted and analysed so that conflicting and non-conflicting stimuli, between the two modalities, were obtained. The resulting stimuli were presented as a perceptual test to eight 4 and 5-year-old French Canadian speakers and ten adults in three conditions: visual-only, auditory-only, and audiovisual. Results show that, even though the visual cues have a significant effect on the identification of the stimuli for adults and children, children are less sensitive to visual cues in the audiovisual condition. Such results shed light on the role of multimodal perception in the emergence and the refinement of the phonological system in children.