Chapter published in:Semantics in Language Acquisition
Edited by Kristen Syrett and Sudha Arunachalam
[Trends in Language Acquisition Research 24] 2018
► pp. 96–121
On the acquisition of event culmination
There is quite a high rate of acceptance of telic-perfective predicates as descriptions of non-culminating events in children learning Germanic and Romance languages. What causes children, much more so than adults, to accept non-culminating interpretations of telic-perfective sentences? In this review, I discuss learners’ difficulties’ in each of three grammatical dimensions that contribute to event culmination: the notion of ‘result’ as encoded in the lexical semantics of verbs, telicity of verb phrases telicity, and perfectivity of tense-aspect morphology. I conclude that telicity and perfectivity do not cause the non-culmination acceptance patterns. Instead, the learnability challenge for event culmination lies in the acquisition of verb meanings. I sketch several new angles for further research, including the role of agentivity of the subject.
Keywords: verb meaning, telicity, aspect, perfectivity, event culmination, completion entailment, L1 acquisition, scalar semantics, pragmatic inferences
Published online: 02 August 2018
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Cited by 3 other publications
Horvath, Sabrina, Leslie Rescorla & Sudha Arunachalam
Ji, Yue & Anna Papafragou
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