Events

Theories of syntactic bootstrapping propose that children can use correlations between the syntax of a sentence and conceptual categories of events they perceive in the world to draw inferences about what event the sentence is describing. In order to characterize those inferences, we as researchers need to be able to identify the conceptual structure under which children view particular events. In this meeting, we'll discuss some new data from a study attempting to diagnose whether 9-to-12 month-olds view a TAKING event under a 3-participant conceptual representation. Then, we'll introduce a study in progress that is testing whether older infants (19-to-22 month-olds) will allow a transitive description of that same 3-participant concept (e.g. "The girl blicked the truck"), even though not all participants are realized as arguments in the clause.