How many words, clauses and gestures do Czech and French children and adults need in order to express both of motion path and Manner?

Abstract : This topic contributes to the general discussion about development of multimodal expression of "motion" in different languages (McNeill, 1992; Talmy, 1985; Whorf, 1956). After having analysed Czech and French developmental tendencies related to the content of motion description (What kind of information is given: only path, only manner or both of them?) (Fibigerova et al., 2012), we focused now on development related to the structure of motion description (How many units are necessary to express both of path and manner: one verb/clause/gesture or more?) Our methodology is based on animated cartoons containing voluntary motion events (Gullberg et al., 2008; Hickmann, 2006; Özyürek et al., 2008), shown to and then narrated by 144 participants (French and Czech 5 and 10 year old children and adults). Three main results were obtained: 1) In order to express both of path and manner, French natives need more clauses while Czech natives produce only one. No effect of age was observed. 2) When both of path and manner are expressed in one clause, French speakers separate them into more units (only-path verb + another only-manner expression) while Czech speakers include them into one unit (one prefixed verbe where the prefix carries the path and the root conveys the manner). Although children are similar to adults, the number of clauses where the verb includes both path and manner, decreases in French, but increases in Czech. 3) Although verbal patterns are different in Czech and French, there is no effect of language on gestural patterns. But we found an interesting age effect: in both linguistic groups, older children tend to produce more gestures when expressing both of path and manner while younger ones produce only one gesture.
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Contributor : Katerina Fibigerova <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 1:01:00 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, July 9, 2019 - 10:10:31 AM

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  • HAL Id : hal-01897574, version 1

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Katerina Fibigerova, Michèle Guidetti, Lenka Sulova. How many words, clauses and gestures do Czech and French children and adults need in order to express both of motion path and Manner?. 13th International Congress for the Study of Child Language, Jul 2014, Amsterdam, Netherlands. ⟨hal-01897574⟩

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