Statistics and semantics in the acquisition of Spanish word order: Testing two accounts of the retreat from locative overgeneralization errors



Aguado-Orea, Javier, Otero, Nuria and Ambridge, Ben ORCID: 0000-0003-2389-8477
(2016) Statistics and semantics in the acquisition of Spanish word order: Testing two accounts of the retreat from locative overgeneralization errors. Linguistics Vanguard, 2 (1).

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Abstract

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Native speakers of Spanish (children aged 6–7, 10–11 and adults) rated grammatical and ungrammatical ground- and figure-locative sentences with high frequency, low frequency and novel verbs (e. g., <jats:italic>Lisa</jats:italic><jats:bold><jats:italic>llenó/forró/nupó</jats:italic></jats:bold><jats:italic>la caja con papel; *Lisa</jats:italic><jats:bold><jats:italic>llenó/forró/nupó</jats:italic></jats:bold><jats:italic>papel en la caja</jats:italic>, ‘<jats:italic>Lisa filled/lined/nupped the box with paper’; ‘Lisa filled/lined/nupped paper into the box</jats:italic>’) using a 5-point scale. Echoing the findings of a previous English study (a language with some important syntactic differences relevant to the locative), participants rated errors as least acceptable with high frequency verbs, more acceptable with low frequency verbs, and most acceptable with novel verbs, suggesting that learners retreat from error using statistically-based learning mechanisms regardless of the target language. In support of the semantic verb class hypothesis, adults showed evidence of using the meanings assigned to novel verbs to determine the locative constructions in which they can and cannot appear. However, unlike in the previous English study, the child groups did not. We conclude that the more flexible word order exhibited by Spanish, as compared to English, may make these types of regularities more difficult to discern.</jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2020 10:59
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2021 07:10
DOI: 10.1515/lingvan-2015-0021
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3095705