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Gradual Route to Productivity: Evidence from Turkish Morphological Causatives


Ger, Ebru; You, Guanghao; Küntay, Aylin C; Göksun, Tilbe; Stoll, Sabine; Daum, Moritz M (2022). Gradual Route to Productivity: Evidence from Turkish Morphological Causatives. Cognitive Science, 46(12):13210.

Abstract

Becoming productive with grammatical categories is a gradual process in children's language development. Here, we investigated this transition process by focusing on Turkish causatives. Previous research examining spontaneous and elicited production of Turkish causatives with familiar verbs attested the onset and early stages of productivity at ages 2 to 3 (Aksu-Koç & Slobin, 1985; Nakipoğlu, Uzundag, & Sarıgül, 2021). So far, however, we know very little about children's understanding of causatives with novel verbs. In the present study, we asked: (a) When does the generalization of causative morphology in a novel context emerge? and (b) What role does child-directed input play in this development? To answer the first question, we conducted comprehension-judgment experiments with children aged 2;6–6;11 using pseudo-verbs (Study 1 & 2). Results showed that children preferred the Turkish causative suffix -DIr over an unrelated or no suffix to denote caused events earliest at age 4;10. To answer the second question, we analyzed child-directed speech from a longitudinal corpus of Turkish language acquisition (Study 3). Results showed that when addressing children younger than age 3, caregivers used the -DIr suffix with little variation considering the overall variability of verbs they could utter. Overall, these findings suggest that productivity with morphological causatives in a novel context emerges in a later stage of acquisition. This later development might partly be accounted for by the insufficient variation of morphological causatives in the early input.

Abstract

Becoming productive with grammatical categories is a gradual process in children's language development. Here, we investigated this transition process by focusing on Turkish causatives. Previous research examining spontaneous and elicited production of Turkish causatives with familiar verbs attested the onset and early stages of productivity at ages 2 to 3 (Aksu-Koç & Slobin, 1985; Nakipoğlu, Uzundag, & Sarıgül, 2021). So far, however, we know very little about children's understanding of causatives with novel verbs. In the present study, we asked: (a) When does the generalization of causative morphology in a novel context emerge? and (b) What role does child-directed input play in this development? To answer the first question, we conducted comprehension-judgment experiments with children aged 2;6–6;11 using pseudo-verbs (Study 1 & 2). Results showed that children preferred the Turkish causative suffix -DIr over an unrelated or no suffix to denote caused events earliest at age 4;10. To answer the second question, we analyzed child-directed speech from a longitudinal corpus of Turkish language acquisition (Study 3). Results showed that when addressing children younger than age 3, caregivers used the -DIr suffix with little variation considering the overall variability of verbs they could utter. Overall, these findings suggest that productivity with morphological causatives in a novel context emerges in a later stage of acquisition. This later development might partly be accounted for by the insufficient variation of morphological causatives in the early input.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Comparative Language Science
06 Faculty of Arts > Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development
06 Faculty of Arts > Zurich Center for Linguistics
Special Collections > NCCR Evolving Language
Special Collections > Centers of Competence > Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language Evolution
Dewey Decimal Classification:490 Other languages
890 Other literatures
410 Linguistics
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Life Sciences > Cognitive Neuroscience
Physical Sciences > Artificial Intelligence
Uncontrolled Keywords:Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Neuroscience, Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 December 2022
Deposited On:12 Dec 2022 09:05
Last Modified:28 Apr 2024 01:40
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0364-0213
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/cogs.13210
PubMed ID:36458630