Publications

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5
  • Chen, J. (2008). The acquisition of verb compounding in Mandarin Chinese. PhD Thesis, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam.

    Abstract

    Seeing someone breaking a stick into two, an English speaks typically describes with a verb break, but a Mandarin speaker has to say bai1-duan4 ‘bend-be.broken’, a verb compound composed of two free verbs with each verb encoding one aspect of the breaking event. Verb compounding represents a typical and productive way to describe events of motion (e.g., zou3-chu1 ‘walk-exit’), and state change (e.g., bai1-duan4 ‘bendbe.broken’), the most common types of events that children of all languages are exposed to from an early age. Since languages vary in how events are linguistically encoded and categorized, the development of verb compounding provides a window to investigate the acquisition of form and meaning mapping for highly productive but constrained constructions and the interaction between children’s linguistic development and cognitive development. The theoretical analysis of verb compounds has been one of the central issues in Chinese linguistics, but the acquisition of this grammatical system has never been systematically studied. This dissertation constitutes the first in-depth study of this topic. It analyzes speech data from two longitudinal corpora as well as the data collected from five experiments on production and comprehension of verb compounds from children in P. R. China. It provides a description of the developmental process and unravels the complex learning tasks from the perspective of language production, comprehension, event categorization, and the interface of semantics and syntax. In showing how first-language learners acquire the Mandarin-specific way of representing and encoding causal events and motion events, this study has significance both for studies of language acquisition and for studies of cognition and event construal.
  • Dirksmeyer, T. (2008). Spatial deixis in Chintang: Aspects of a grammar of space. Master Thesis, Universität Leipzig, Leipzig.

    Abstract

    This thesis examines the semantic structures underlying the encoding of space in Chintang, a Kiranti (Sino-Tibetan) language of Nepal. It provides a short general introduction to the history of thinking and speaking about space as well as to the notions of deixis and transposition, and sketches a state-of-the-art theory for categorizing spatial semantics (Levinson 2003). Drawing on targeted elicitation with native speakers, the empirical part then relates linguistic items of Chintang to the theoretical framework, with a focus on the nominal domain. After an analysis of deictic, topological, intrinsic and absolute spatial relations and their reflections in the language, the investigation concludes by comparing sets of Chintang deictics to those found in neighbouring Belhare (Bickel 2001). Despite striking formal resemblances, the semantic differences found indicate that even across closely related languages, meaning does not generalize easily.
  • Kuperman, V. (2008). Lexical processing of morphologically complex words: An information-theoretical perspective. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Wagner, A. (2008). Phoneme inventories and patterns of speech sound perception. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Wegener, C. (2008). A grammar of Savosavo: A Papuan language of the Solomon Islands. PhD Thesis.

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