First Verbs: A Case Study of Early Grammatical Development

First Verbs: A Case Study of Early Grammatical Development

by Michael Tomasello
     
 

ISBN-10: 0521034515

ISBN-13: 9780521034517

Pub. Date: 12/28/2006

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

During the second year of his daughter's life, Michael Tomasello kept a detailed diary of her language, creating a rich database. He made a study of how she acquired her first verbs and analyzed the role that verbs played in her early grammatical development. The vast majority of the child's first multiword utterances contained verbs. These nascent sentences were…  See more details below

Overview

During the second year of his daughter's life, Michael Tomasello kept a detailed diary of her language, creating a rich database. He made a study of how she acquired her first verbs and analyzed the role that verbs played in her early grammatical development. The vast majority of the child's first multiword utterances contained verbs. These nascent sentences were almost all straightforward combinations of previously produced utterances, containing no productive syntactic devices. When she did begin to use productive syntactic devices and morphological markers, they were invariably tied to specific verbs, implying that the syntagmatic categories involved were such verb-specific categories as "thrower," "thing thrown," etc. It is hypothesized that more general syntagmatic categories await the formation of a paradigmatic category of verb, and that this in turn awaits complex sentences in which verbs are treated as mental objects by other predicates. The author argues persuasively that the child's earliest language is based on very general cognitive and social-cognitive processes, especially event structures and cultural learning. The richness of the database and the analytical tools used make First verbs a particularly useful and important book for developmental psychologists, linguists, language development researchers, and speech pathologists.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521034517
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
12/28/2006
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.87(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1Introduction1
1.1Cognitive Linguistics and the developmental approach2
1.2The importance of verbs6
1.3Plan of the monograph7
2In the beginning was the verb9
2.1Children's first verbs9
2.2Children's first sentences20
2.3Goals and hypotheses of the study29
3Methods and an introduction to T's language30
3.1The diary30
3.2Determining meaning33
3.3Semantic analysis of verbs35
3.4Syntactic analysis of sentences38
3.5T's earliest language40
4Change of state verbs and sentences44
4.1Presence, absence, and recurrence of objects44
4.2Presence, absence, and recurrence of activities60
4.3Exchange and possession of objects69
4.4Location of objects82
4.5Movement of objects91
4.6State of objects101
5Activity verbs and sentences114
5.1Activities involving objects115
5.2Activities not involving objects135
6Other grammatical structures147
6.1Sentences without verbs148
6.2Grammatical morphology154
6.3Complex sentences179
6.4Summary185
7The development of T's verb lexicon187
7.1Cognitive bases of T's early verbs187
7.2Contexts for early verb learning204
7.3Processes of early lexical development209
7.4Summary219
8The development of T's grammar222
8.1Constructing sentences: Symbolic integration and syntactic devices225
8.2Constructing a grammar: The Verb Island hypothesis238
8.3Processes of early grammatical development257
8.4Summary262
9Language acquisition as cultural learning264
9.1Summary of major findings264
9.2A speculation on the human capacity for language267
9.3Later development271
9.4Conclusion273
References275
Appendix285
Index371

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