The Sense Development of English Preposition: A Case of ‘at’, ‘on’, ‘in’ with Loglinear Analyses of CHILDES Database

Abstract

The aim of this study is to figure out the development of spatial and temporal senses in L1 acquisition. Since ‘TIME IS SPACE' metaphor has been proposed that the temporal sense has been acknowledged as the one derived from the spatial sense. However, in the previous study on English preposition ‘on' (Jun and Lee 2009), it was found out that not all spatial senses are developed earlier than temporal senses; it reports that children acquire the sense of 'on' with the spatial meaning of ‘in contact' before the time-related senses, and among the other polysemous sub-senses, the sense for ‘geographical information', which is spatial, emerges together with temporal sense. This result appears to support the ‘space→time' mapping theory since the first acquired sense is spatial, but it also implies that not all spatial senses can be the base for temporal senses. Thus, we propose the spatial and temporal senses shape each other's domain bilaterally. To this end, we looked into the developmental patterns of English-speaking children for other English prepositions, which have the spatial and temporal senses, such as ‘at','on', and 'in'. The longitudinal transcripts of 13 children in the age range of 3 to 10 from the CHILDES (Child Language Data Exchange System) database were analyzed. Loglinear analysis is employed as the statistical support. For three variables, ‘preposition' {P}, ‘age' {A}, and ‘sense' {S}, {AP},{AS},{SP} model was selected.



Author Information
Seungah Hong, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea

Paper Information
Conference: ACLL2013
Stream: Language Learning

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