The Department of French and Italian

Guest Speaker: Dr. Marianne Gullberg, Lund University, Sweden

Dr. Gullberg is a professor of psycholinguistics at the Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University, and also Director/Head of Dept. of Lund University Humanities Lab. She has conducted research in adult second language (L2) and bilingual acquisition and processing, and also gesture production and comprehension in acquisition, drawing on multiple methods ranging from speech and gesture analysis to behavioural and neurocognitive techniques.

Tue, April 1, 2014 | UTC 3.112

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Guest Speaker: Dr. Marianne Gullberg, Lund University, Sweden

Il a nagé après il a traversé: Bimodal, developmental and bilingual perspectives on motion

Languages differ in what information they select for expression and how they organize it morphosyntactically and discursively. For example, building on Talmy’s (1991; 1995; 2000) influential work on motion events, many studies have shown that monolingual adults talk differently about path and manner of motion depending on whether their language typically expresses path of motion in the verb root (verb-framed, e.g. French) or in satellites (satellite-framed, e.g. English and Dutch). These choices have consequences for information distribution across clauses and for syntactic complexity. For example, in French, path verbs may combine with manner in peripheral constructions such as gerunds yielding syntactic complexity (Oscar sort en courant), but manner components may also be absent, leaving semantically light clauses of sparse complexity. In English and Dutch, manner verbs combine with path in satellites (Oscar runs out; Oscar loopt uit) forming semantically dense but syntactically tight clauses. It has been suggested that such patterns reflect language-specific event representations, linguistic conceptualizations, or thinking-for-speaking (Slobin, 1991). These differences raise questions about how and when children develop language-specific representations, whether they target the right information and organize it appropriately. Similarly, bilingualism studies ask what happens when two different systems interact in the mind of a single bilingual; whether systems converge or, if not, whether they tend towards richer or leaner representations in terms of information targeted. I will illustrate how a bimodal analysis of speech and gesture can shed new light on these questions. I will provide examples from French and English adults, and four- and six-year-old children, as well as from French-Dutch Belgian bilinguals. The results indicate overall language-specificity both in emergent and bilingual systems, but with pockets of divergence. Critically, the bimodal analysis points to general co-expressivity.

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  • Department of French and Italian

    University of Texas at Austin
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