Infants’ encoding of social interaction as a conceptual foundation for the acquisition of argument structure

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Patterns of linguistic encoding influence infant event representations, and fundamental prelinguistic semantic categories are reflected in linguistic structures. We report a study investigating 10-month-old infants&#8217; encoding of action roles in a ditransitive give-and-take event by using a combination of looking time and eyetracking techniques. Results indicate that distinctive encoding strategies of a role reversal in a give-and-take event are associated with looking-time patterns: infants whose looking times indicate an understanding of the role reversal between agent and recipient track actions on an <i>agent-specific</i> basis, rather than on spatial parameters of the scene. Findings are discussed with regard to how our understanding of interaction between non-linguistic and linguistic representations can benefit from close interdisciplinary cooperation between linguists and developmental psychologists. Keywords:&#65279;&#65279;action roles; intentional relations; prelinguistic concepts


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