Presentation Type

Poster

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Pablo Requena, Ph.D.

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures

Abstract

Acquisition of Differential Object Marking in Argentine Spanish

Humanities, Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures

Variation is ubiquitous to language. For example, Spanish marks animate and specific direct objects (DO) with “a” (as in: Vi a un niño ‘I saw a boy’ vs. Vi un carro ‘I saw a car’), a phenomenon known as Differential Object Marking (DOM). DOM has been shown to be probabilistically constrained by a number of linguistic factors the speech of Spanish-speaking adults. The only study on first language acquisition of DOM to date, however, has concentrated only on contexts considered categorical (i.e., using “a” where it is ‘required’ and zero marking where DOM is ‘prohibited’) and its results are commonly used to suggest very early and errorless acquisition of DOM, albeit in categorical contexts. This study investigates how monolingual Spanish-speaking children arrive at adult-like use of DOM including –and specifically- in contexts where it is probabilistically conditioned. All utterances containing transitive verbs were manually extracted from the Remedi longitudinal corpus of a monolingual Argentine child, available in the online Child Language Data Exchange System database. The corpus contains 14 transcripts of naturalistic conversation between a child aged 1;10-2;11 and her father. Data were further coded for a number of predictor variables known to impact DOM use (such as presence of clitic doubling, DO animacy, DO definiteness, DO specificity). Preliminary analyses revealed that DOM use by both the child and caregiver does not follow categorical rules, revealing a number of datapoints not considered in past research. Analysis of all tokens produced by the child indicates that children may not be as adult-like in DOM use at age two as suggested in the previous literature, but that they are acquiring DOM in a piecemeal fashion.

Category

Humanities

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Apr 17th, 11:00 AM Apr 17th, 12:00 PM

Acquisition of Differential Object Marking in Argentine Spanish

UC South Ballroom

Acquisition of Differential Object Marking in Argentine Spanish

Humanities, Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures

Variation is ubiquitous to language. For example, Spanish marks animate and specific direct objects (DO) with “a” (as in: Vi a un niño ‘I saw a boy’ vs. Vi un carro ‘I saw a car’), a phenomenon known as Differential Object Marking (DOM). DOM has been shown to be probabilistically constrained by a number of linguistic factors the speech of Spanish-speaking adults. The only study on first language acquisition of DOM to date, however, has concentrated only on contexts considered categorical (i.e., using “a” where it is ‘required’ and zero marking where DOM is ‘prohibited’) and its results are commonly used to suggest very early and errorless acquisition of DOM, albeit in categorical contexts. This study investigates how monolingual Spanish-speaking children arrive at adult-like use of DOM including –and specifically- in contexts where it is probabilistically conditioned. All utterances containing transitive verbs were manually extracted from the Remedi longitudinal corpus of a monolingual Argentine child, available in the online Child Language Data Exchange System database. The corpus contains 14 transcripts of naturalistic conversation between a child aged 1;10-2;11 and her father. Data were further coded for a number of predictor variables known to impact DOM use (such as presence of clitic doubling, DO animacy, DO definiteness, DO specificity). Preliminary analyses revealed that DOM use by both the child and caregiver does not follow categorical rules, revealing a number of datapoints not considered in past research. Analysis of all tokens produced by the child indicates that children may not be as adult-like in DOM use at age two as suggested in the previous literature, but that they are acquiring DOM in a piecemeal fashion.