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Wazu feels gorpy about something! Studying how children acquire emotion adjectives

Hizlaria/Intervenante : Misha Becker (University of North Carolina)
Izenburua/Titre : Wazu feels gorpy about something ! Studying how children acquire emotion adjectives
Non/Où : IKEReko Dokumentazio gela / Salle de documentation d’IKER
Noiz/Quand : 2018ko martxoaren 13a, 11:00 / 13 mars 2018, 11:00
Laburpena/Résumé : Emotion adjectives label states that we experience individually and internally, and which are sometimes (but not always) made evident through facial expressions. Recent psychological evidence points to a role for emotion words in shaping our construction of emotion concepts, but this raises the question of how the emotion words themselves are learned in the first place. The Syntactic Bootstrapping literature on word learning tells us that property-denoting words (i.e. predicates) are learned most reliably through cues from sentence structure : the subcategorization frames in which a verb occurs restricts its lexical meaning to a large degree. But very little research has examined how this word-learning process might work for adjectives, in particular those that denote internal states. In this talk I’ll describe two word-learning experiments that examined the relative impact of sentence frames and situational context cues (short vignettes) on children’s assumptions about the meaning of novel adjectives. I’ll also discuss some preliminary results from a corpus study of emotion words in Child-Directed Speech. I’ll suggest that while sentence frames do play an important role in restricting the lexical meanings of emotion words, like other predicates, we need to look more closely at how the "unreliable" situational context also provides cues to word meaning.