Conceptual event units of putting and taking in two unrelated languages
Defina, R., & Majid, A.
Conceptual event units of putting and taking in two unrelated languages. In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. Cooper (Eds.
), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2012)
(pp. 1470-1475). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
People automatically chunk ongoing dynamic events into discrete units. This paper investigates whether linguistic structure is a factor in this process. We test the claim that
describing an event with a serial verb construction will
influence a speaker’s conceptual event structure. The grammar of Avatime (a Kwa language spoken in Ghana)requires its speakers to describe some, but not all, placement
events using a serial verb construction which also encodes the
preceding taking event. We tested Avatime and English
speakers’ recognition memory for putting and taking events.
Avatime speakers were more likely to falsely recognize putting and taking events from episodes associated with takeput serial verb constructions than from episodes associated
with other constructions. English speakers showed no
difference in false recognitions between episode types. This
demonstrates that memory for episodes is related to the type
of language used; and, moreover, across languages different
conceptual representations are formed for the same physical episode, paralleling habitual linguistic practices