|General programme, activity sheet|
||Thursday 8 September, 2016 15:30 to 16:00
Requests, questions, or reports: Pragmatic function and person attribution with internal state verbs in early Spanish acquisitionSpeaker: Cecilia Rojas Nieto, IIFL-Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Authors: Cecilia Rojas-Nieto
Acquisition of internal states verbs includes flexibility in attributing such states to speaker or other person. Defective use of a verb in different persons is taken as evidence of children’s gradual understanding of other minds. It may also be the case that children learn internal verbs in a community of practices that induce their speakers to hold back on what mental and emotional states they can attribute to others: “Some languages […] ration the reporting of “private predicates” attributing inner sensations and feelings like “want,” “(feel) cold,” or “(feel) lonely” to those who can experience them directly” (Evans 2010: 74).
Previous reports on development of internal state verbs and person attribution do not unanimously find the same results across different children –or languages: either finding the privilege of 1st person attribution over 3rd person, or the other way round (Pascual et al. 2008; Taumoepeau & Ruffman 2006). What in general has not been considered is that utterances with internal states predicates do not adopt freely any illocutionary force. So that person and directive, interrogative and informative speech acts selectively combine in different and biased ways.
This study will present person attribution and illocutionary function combinations in internal states verbs, both in small children usage and in caretakers’ models. Naturalistic data has been obtained from one dense (2;00-2;03) and three longitudinal corpus (2:00-2;06) of early Spanish acquisition.
Results show effective interaction between person attribution and pragmatic function with particular lexical items, both in children’s and caretaker’s speech. Discussion argues that person and pragmatic function index how communities of practice induce to children to enter complex issues like privacy condition when talking about other person internal states and to pay attention on what is knowable by introspection and what is knowable by external observation.
Evans, N. (2010) “Your mind in mine”, in Dying words: Endangered languages and what they have to tell us (Ch. 4). John Wiley & Sons.
Pascual, B., Aguado, G., Sotillo, M., & Masdeu, J. C. (2008). Acquisition of mental state language in Spanish children: a longitudinal study of the relationship between the production of mental verbs and linguistic development. Dev Sci, 11(4), 454-466. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2008.00691.x
Taumoepeau, M., & Ruffman, T. (2006). Mother and infant talk about mental states relates to desire language and emotion understanding. Child Development, 77 (2), 465-481.
Discourse and pragmatic development
Place: Room B-11