The Conceptual Origins of the Transitive/Intransitive Distinction

Rispoli, Matthew; Bloom, Lois

Evidence is presented to support the claim that two-year-old children learning English acquire the transitive/intransitive distinction from their developing knowledge about action events, consistent with cognitivist theories of language development. Their temporal perspective on an action–when a child planned, requested, or otherwise anticipated an action–was a critical factor. Thus, acquiring the transitive / intransitive distinction was influenced by the volitionality of the locus of change in addition to the distinction between an actor and the object affected.


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Also Published In

Papers and Reports of the Child Language Research Forum
Stanford University Department of Linguistics

More About This Work

Academic Units
Human Development
Published Here
May 8, 2018