An event-structural account of passive acquisition in Korean.

  • Lee K
  • Lee Y
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Abstract

Some peculiar properties of children's passives have long been observed in various languages such as an asymmetry between actional passives and nonactional passives. These peculiarities have been accounted for under the hypothesis that children's early passives are adjectival, and as such exhibit properties of adjectival passives in adult grammar. Under this hypothesis, a new prediction follows, namely that children's comprehension of passive predicates will vary depending upon the event structures of predicates. If a predicate has a target/result state in its event structure, it makes a good adjectival passive, and children will comprehend the predicate more easily. By contrast, if a predicate lacks a target/result state, it does not make a good adjectival passive, and children will comprehend the predicate less easily. This paper tested and confirmed this prediction in Korean children's passives. In a picture-aided comprehension task with 67 Korean children ranging from 3;10-8;8, we have found a contrast due to the event structures of predicates. The result shows that children are sensitive to the event structures of passive predicates, and thus provides additional support for the adjectival passive hypothesis.

Author-supplied keywords

  • ADJECTIVAL PASSIVE
  • ARGUMENT STRUCTURE
  • EVENT STRUCTURE
  • TARGET/RESULT STATE

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Authors

  • Kwee-Ock Lee

  • Youngjoo Lee

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