Language-specificity of motion event expressions in young Korean children

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This paper examines the development of motion expressions in two Korean children. The database consists of bi-weekly to monthly recordings of spontaneous mother&#8211;child interaction in their home between ages 1:11 and 4;2. All expressions of motion, both spontaneous and caused, were analyzed following the coding system developed by Hickmann, Hendriks &#38; Champaud (2009). Analyses include form&#8211;function relationships between the types of linguistic devices used and the components of Motion expressed (e.g. Path, Manner, Cause), as well as the semantic density of motion-relevant information within the clause. The results were then compared to those of French and English learners reported in Hickmann et al. (2009). <br />Korean is typologically a <i>verb-framed</i> language similar to French (Talmy, 2000), but it allows serial verb constructions and postpositional markers. Results show that from two years of age, Korean children use these syntactic features and produce semantically denser utterances than French children. Moreover, Korean children often express Manner of Motion with adverbs, another characteristic feature in the adult Korean grammar. These findings support the claim that language-specific grammar influences children&#8217;s expression of Motion events from very early on. In addition, the present study shows that significant variation exists among languages of the same type.


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