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Acquisition and cognition 2007

Themes and actions

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Team webmaster : Caroline CAUTAIN, Florence CHENU

Verb constructions in adult-child interaction : from spontaneous data to simulation

  Contact person
Florence CHENU , Harriet JISA

Scientific framework and objectives

Within the framework of studies of the impact of specificities of the language addressed to children by the adult (Sampson 1989, Goldberg 1995, Leiven et al, 1997, O’Grady 1997, Tomasello & Brooks, in press, Cartwright & Brent 1997) this research operation is currently exploring grammatical constructions containing verbs in French motherese and in children’s early productions. Two factors make French an interesting test case: 1) word order in spoken French is quite variable; 2) grammatical objects, when replaced by object clitics, move to preverbal position. The data consist of bi-monthly audio-video recordings of 8 French-speaking recorded during interaction with their mothers. The study begins when the children are 12 months and will continue until they reach 36 months.

  • Elaboration of maternal profiles for frequency, position and diversity of constructions containing verbs in discourse addressed to children at the ages of 12 to 36 months
  • Longitudinal acquisition profiles of constructions containing verbs for children at the ages of 12 to 36 months
  • Adaptation of these data for use in simulation studies

  Financial support
  • ACI Terrain Techniques Théories


  • Chenu, F., Jisa, H., 2004, "Early verb acquisition in French: syntactic frames in child directed speech", AMLAP, Aix-en-Provence, 16-18 Septembre 2004
  • Chenu, F., Jisa, H., 2006, "Caused motion constructions and semantic generality in early acquisition of French", in Constructions in Acquisition, Clark, E., Kelly, B. (eds), Stanford, CSLI, pp. 233-261
  • Chenu, F., Jisa, H., 2006, "Acquisition of putting event verbs in French", proc. of BUCLD 31, Boston, 3-5 novembre 2006, Cascadilla Press
  • Chenu, F., Jisa, H., 2009, "Les rapports entre méthodologie et théorie : le cas des corpus en acquisition", Cahiers de Linguistique de Louvain, 33:2, pp. 147-161
  • Jisa, H., Chenu, F., 2004, "The impact of language specificities in early verb usage", Stanford Child Language Research Forum: Constructions in early acquisition, Stanford University, California, États-Unis, 16-17 avril 2004

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