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Acquiring Ergativity: Cognitive steps towards syntactic organization Helen Charters, Dept Applied Language Studies and Linguistics, University of Auckland.

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Presentation on theme: "Acquiring Ergativity: Cognitive steps towards syntactic organization Helen Charters, Dept Applied Language Studies and Linguistics, University of Auckland."— Presentation transcript:

1 Acquiring Ergativity: Cognitive steps towards syntactic organization Helen Charters, Dept Applied Language Studies and Linguistics, University of Auckland.

2 Structure of Talk 1. Syntactic Organization 1. Syntactic Organization –Syntactic Pivots: SAO –Accusativity: S/A Pivot –Ergativity: S/O Pivot 2. Tests for Subjecthood 2. Tests for Subjecthood –deceptive case –syntactic structures 3. Semantic vs syntactic Subjects 3. Semantic vs syntactic Subjects –Manning (1996) 4. Evidence of Ergativity in (TL) Samoan 4. Evidence of Ergativity in (TL) Samoan –Cook, 1991: –Mosel and Hovdhaugen, Processing the role-function interface (TL) 5. Processing the role-function interface (TL) –Feature Unification –Encoding GFs  Configurational vs non-configurational languages –Linking roles to GFs  Lexical mapping theory Bresnan (1982, 2001) –Completeness and coherence 6. GFs and Stages in SLA (Pienemann (2005) 6. GFs and Stages in SLA (Pienemann (2005) –Structural simplicity –Topic Hypothesis –Direct Alignment Hypothesis 7. Acquiring Ergativity: processes and words 7. Acquiring Ergativity: processes and words –Direct mapping: from role to discourse function –Mediated mapping: from role to GF (in f-structure) –Licensed mapping: roles and rules  C-structure rules  Grammaticalized predicates –Constructive mapping:  'Free' word order  Constructive Case-markers –Variable mapping  GF linking: functional and Anaphoric Control –Marked mapping: An ergative lexicon?  A-structure and the divided hierarchy 8 conclusions 8 conclusions

3 1. Theory and Linguistic development Samoan is an ergative language spoken in 1,000s of Auckland homes Samoan is an ergative language spoken in 1,000s of Auckland homes Little is known about developmental milestones in Samoan Little is known about developmental milestones in Samoan Processability Theory links linguistic development to processing demands of syntactic structures Processability Theory links linguistic development to processing demands of syntactic structures Contributors to processing include Contributors to processing include –agreement –assignment of case and Grammatical Functions (GFs) –marked mapping of semantic roles to GFs Bresnan's Lexical Mapping Theory (LMT) suggests that Ergative Systems are 'marked' systems. Bresnan's Lexical Mapping Theory (LMT) suggests that Ergative Systems are 'marked' systems. PT not previously applied to any ergative language PT not previously applied to any ergative language

4 Lexical Mapping Theory Thematic hierarchy: Thematic hierarchy: agent > beneficiary > experiencer> instrument > patient/theme > locative GF Hierarchy: GF Hierarchy: SUBJ > OBJ / OBL  > OBJ  [-o -r]>[+o -r] [-o +r] > [+o +r] Highest role mapped to highest GF Highest role mapped to highest GF Other roles mapped by reference to features Other roles mapped by reference to features – Patients [-r] 'Secondary patient-like roles' [+o] –All other roles are [-o] No verb can have two arguments with identical features No verb can have two arguments with identical features Default system is Accusative Default system is Accusative –Agent...instrument => SUBJ // Patient => OBJ

5 Research Qs How does Ergativity impact on Acquisition order? How does Ergativity impact on Acquisition order? What are the processing demands of Ergative structures? What are the processing demands of Ergative structures? –Skin-deep Ergativity –Ergatives as Fossilized Passives –Alternative mapping algorithm

6 2. Ergativity in Samoan Identification of Samoan Subject Identification of Samoan Subject No syntactic Subject - Mosel & Hovdhaugen, 1992 S/A (Nominative) pivot despite case-marking - Cook, 1991 S/O (Absolutive) syntactic pivot – Dukes, 1998 Tests for Subjecthood Tests for Subjecthood –Keenan (1975) –Manning (1994)

7 Samoan Verb classes Ergative Verb Nafufule(e le tama)le ta’avale PAST wash (ERG the boy) the car Absol The boy washed the car Non-Ergative Verb 'Uaalu le tama (‘i Samoa) PERF go the boy Absol (DIR Samoa) The boy has gone (to Samoa) Cook, 1991:78 - Cook, 1991:78

8 Labile Case alternations Labile Verb Sa 'ai e le teine le i'a past eat ERG the girl the fish Absol The girl ate the fish Sa 'ai le teine past eat the girl Absol The girl ate / was eaten Sa 'ai le teine i le i'a past eat the girl Absol Dir the fish The girl ate from the fish Mosel & Hovdhaugen 1992:108

9 Tests for Subjecthood - Keenan (1976) A Subject is: indispensable indispensable omitted in imperatives omitted in imperatives causer in applicatives causer in applicatives target of raising target of raising relativised first relativised first A Subject can: control equi-NP & deletion in conjuncts control equi-NP & deletion in conjuncts launch a Floating Q launch a Floating Q be cliticised be cliticised trigger Agreement trigger Agreement

10 Cook's application Agreement (Ergative) Agreement (Ergative) ‘Uaōtamaiti‘i Samoa Pastgo.PLchildren DIR Samoa The children went to Samoa ‘Uanunutiele tamafuāmoa Pastcrush.PLthe boyegg.PL The boy crushed the eggs

11 Two Relativisation strategies Gapping (Ergative) Gapping (Ergative) le teine sā moe ___ i lo’u fale the girl [PROG sleep GAP abs LOC 1S.GEN house] ‘The girl [__ sleeping in my house].’ – Chung & Seiter 1980:632 le teine sā fasi ____ e le tama the girl [PST hit GAP ABS ERG the boy] ‘the girl [the boy hit__ ]’ –Chung 1978:235

12 Resumptive pro-forms Resumptive pro-forms le tagata sa ‘aveina la‘u ta‘avale le tagata sa (ia) ‘aveina la‘u ta‘avale the person[ PST 3S drive 1S.GEN car] ‘the person [drove my car]’ ‘the person [he drove my car]’ - Chung & Seiter 1980:633 le fale‘oloa [sā ‘ou maua Ioane] le fale‘oloa [sā ‘ou maua ai Ioane] the house PST 1S live John the house PST 1S live PRN John ‘the store [I found John in ]’ ‘the store [I found John in it]’ - Chung 1978:236

13 Indispensability (Ergative) Nafufulele ta’avale PAST wash the car Absol [Someone] washed the car 'Uaalu ‘i Samoa PERF go DIR Samoa [He] has gone (to Samoa) Sa 'ai le teine past eat the girl Absol The girl ate / was eaten

14 Cook's Results in Manning's framework Semantic Accusative Pattern control in equi control in equi Imperative Imperative ?Raising ?Raising Causer in Applicative Causer in Applicative Ergative Pattern binding reflexive binding reflexive ?Agreement ?AgreementSyntactic Accusative Pattern Cliticisation Cliticisation Ergative Pattern obligatoriness obligatoriness co-referent deletion co-referent deletion relativisation relativisation launching a Floating Q launching a Floating Q Agreement Agreement

15 3. L1 Study 200+ utterances from published sources 200+ utterances from published sources –Elinor Ochs (1982 a,b,c; 1986), Ochs and Duranti (1996), Ochs and Schieffelin (1982, 1986); Kernan (1969), Schieffelin and Perry (1986); Platt (1986); Podmore (2004) 11 children, 1;7 to 5;0 years 11 children, 1;7 to 5;0 years –Most from traditional villages on Upolu.

16 Analysis Utterances parsed and assigned to a structural class. Utterances parsed and assigned to a structural class. Composite Longitudinal Observations from two girls between ages of 2,3 and 3,6 Composite Longitudinal Observations from two girls between ages of 2,3 and 3,6 –Pesio sampled at 2;3 2;4, 2;9 2;10 –Naomi sampled at 2;11, 3;0, 3;1, 3;6 Implicational hierarchy based on data from 11 children Implicational hierarchy based on data from 11 children

17 Pesio 2; word ai Alesaga Look. Alesana La ia oke LOC. 3PS hibiscus There it hibiscus Uma ai a'u Finish eat me/my Algone me 2;4 Aspect-V *ua pa pi PRT burst pee? 2;10 Tense, Agentive Poss'r sa fai makou mea'ai Tense make 1PL.excl. food We made our food Masae le (ofu)vae (o) Fineaso Ripped art pants (of) Fineaso Fineaso ripped his pants

18 Naomi Agentive Poss'r Uma Uma ai a'u Finish eat me/my my eating is finished Uma Uma mago au finish mango me my mango is finished I finished my mango 3;0 Case Ai e oe Eat Erg. You You ate it. Moe 'oe Sleep you You go to sleep

19 4. Processing Ergativity Direct arguments are separate from and higher than obliques in a-structure (Manning, 1996) Direct arguments are separate from and higher than obliques in a-structure (Manning, 1996) Modified hierarchy: Modified hierarchy: Direct: experiencer/goal > instrument > patient/theme Oblique: agent/ stimulus >beneficiary > locative In syntactically ergative languages, agentive arguments are specified as obliques in a- structure

20 Ergative and non-Ergative verbs -r+r -o SUBJOBL  +o OBJOBJ  ergative Vs: sasa 'hit' ergative Vs: sasa 'hit' togi 'throw' togi 'throw' [-r][-O] [-r][-O] –[-r] patient maps to SUBJ [-r,-o] –[-o] agent maps to OBL  [+r,-o] Non-ergative V: ata 'laugh' Non-ergative V: ata 'laugh' [-o] [-o] –[-o] experiencer maps to SUBJ [-r,-o] –[-o] stimulus maps to OBL  [+r,-o] Omission of stimulus leaves ranking, GF and case assignment unaffected. Omission of stimulus leaves ranking, GF and case assignment unaffected. This is no more 'marked' overall than a Subj/OBJ system This is no more 'marked' overall than a Subj/OBJ system

21 Application of split hierarchy Ergative Verb fufule fufule [-r] [-O] [-r] [-O] Na fufule (e le tama)le ta’avale PAST wash (ERG the boy) the car Absol The boy washed the car Non-Ergative Verb alu alu [-r] 'Uaalu le tama (‘i Samoa) PERF go the boy Absol (DIR Samoa) The boy has gone (to Samoa) Cook, 1991:78 - Cook, 1991:78 -r+r -oSUBJOBL  +oOBJOBJ  -r+r -oSUBJ -oSUBJOBL  +oOBJOBJ 

22 Labile Verbs 'ai 'eat' 'ai 'eat' [-r] [-O] Sa 'ai le i'a past eat the fish Absol ate the fish ate the fish 'ai 'eat' 'ai 'eat' [-O] [-O] Sa 'ai le teine i le i'a past eat the girl Absol Dir the fish The girl ate from the fish -r+r -oSUBJOBL  +oOBJOBJ  -r+r -oSUBJOBL  +oOBJOBJ  (agent) e le teine ERG the girl The girl

23 5. Conclusions Agency is expressed through lexical (possessive) case before syntactic (Ergative) case Agency is expressed through lexical (possessive) case before syntactic (Ergative) case Ergative case may be initially semantic Ergative case may be initially semantic Specification of agent as Oblique is typologically marked, but... Specification of agent as Oblique is typologically marked, but... Morphological marking provides direct evidence of marked ranking Morphological marking provides direct evidence of marked ranking The split hierarchy is systemic not lexically specified The split hierarchy is systemic not lexically specified Application of LMT is NOT exceptional Application of LMT is NOT exceptional Acquisitional tasks involve Acquisitional tasks involve –acquisition of split hierarchy –Assignment of Subj GF to unmarked argument.

24 Limitations The data is opportunistic The data is opportunistic –No controlled elicitation techniques were employed –Linguistic context not controlled –The child's identity not always known –data was not phonetically transcribed –orthography not standardized The results of this survey are necessarily tentative / indicative only The results of this survey are necessarily tentative / indicative only

25 Future research Adult L2 learners at University of Auckland Adult L2 learners at University of Auckland Bi-lingual children in Auckland Bi-lingual children in Auckland –4- year olds; 5 year olds –Younger age group –English dominant vs Samoan dominant ? Controlled elicitation targetting key structures Controlled elicitation targetting key structures Assessment of phonological development and syntactic development Assessment of phonological development and syntactic development Ethnography of language socialisation in Auckland environment Ethnography of language socialisation in Auckland environment Psycho-linguistic techniques for exploring relationships between phonology, morphology and syntax Psycho-linguistic techniques for exploring relationships between phonology, morphology and syntax

26 References Bresnan, Joan Lexical Functional Syntax. Chung, S Case Marking and Grammatical Relations in Polynesian. Austin: University of Texas Press. Cook, Kenneth W The search for Subject in Samoan. In Robert Blust (ed) Currents in Pacific Linguistics: Pacific Linguistics, Series C, no 117. Cancerra: ANU Duranti, A. & Ochs, E "Use and acquisition of genitive constructions in Samoan" in Social interaction, social context and language: Essays in honor of Susan Ervin-Tripp, ed. by D.Slobin, J. Gerhardt, A. Kyratzis, & Guo Jiansheng. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp Keenan, E.L Towards a Universal Definition of “Subject”. In: Li, C. (ed.), Subject and Topic. New York: Academic Press. 305–32. Kernan, K. T The Acquisition of Language by Samoan Children. Working Paper of the Language Behavior Research Laboratory, No. 21. California Univ., Berkeley. Language and Behavior Research Lab.[CIQ11410]. Manning, Christopher D Ergativity: Argument structure and Grammatical Relations. Stanford: CSLI Publications Mosel, Ulrike & Hovdhaugen, Even Samoan Reference Grammar. Oslo: Scandinavian University Press. Ochs, E. 1982a. Ergativity and Word Order in Samoan Child Language. Language, 58(3), Ochs, E. 1982b. Talking to Children in Western Samoa. Language in Society, 11(1), Ochs, E Culture and language development : language acquisition and language socialization in a Samoan village. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press. Ochs, E., & Schieffelin, B. B Language Acquisition and Socialization: Three Developmental Stories and Their Implications. Sociolinguistic Working Paper Number 105 (Research/Technical): Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.[BBB00950]. Pienemann, M Language Processing and Second Language Development: Processability Theory. Amsterdam: Benjamins Pienemann, M Cross-linguistic aspects of processability theory. Amsterdam: Benjamins Platt, M. L The Acquisition of Deictic Contrasts by Samoan-Speaking Children. Stanford Child Language Research Forum. Platt, M. 1980b. The Acquisition of 'Come' and 'Bring' by Samoan Children. Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, 19, Platt, M. 1980c. The Acquisition of "Come," "Give" and "Bring" by Samoan Children. Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, Number 19 (Research/Technical No. NSF ): Stanford Univ., CA. Dept. of Linguistics.[BBB34247]. Platt, M. L Social and Semantic Dimensions of Deictic Verbs and Particles in Samoan Child Language. Unpublished PhD, University of Southern California. Platt, M Deictic Particles in Samoan Child Language ISSN Podmore, V. S. L. a. i. M. L Transition to school from Pacific early childhood centres. SET: Research Information for Teachers, ISSN Schieffelin, B. B., & Ochs, E Language Socialization across Cultures. vii+274pp, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

27 Composite Emergence Order SpeakerI 1 KKalAn 1 SipTofP 1 I 2 P 2 Na 1 MaNa 2 Ni 1 Na 3 Ni 2 MasAn 2 AGE Simple S S V/ locXX X (V) VOAX VP loc/ AdvXX V/loc SXXX ASPP ASP (ua) V?X X VO (A =poss'r)XXXX VO (= N Adj)XX X Complex DP N Dem (lea)XX Art-Poss NXXXX IP Tense V …X XX Case E-Ergative VO e AX X X Modified S Emph PartX Because SX Adv Asp V … X


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