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Incomplete and Continuing: Theoretical Issues in the Acquisition of Tense and Aspect

Rispoli, Matthew; Bloom, Lois

The purpose of this paper is to argue against a proposal to adopt formal linguistic theory to the psychological problem children face in acquiring the semantic domains of tense and aspect. As semantic rather than syntactic categories, tense and aspect vary between languages. Without universal statements about meaning, we have no reason to substitute a linguistic analysis for psychological theory. The only real alternative, then, is to attempt to characterize the child language data in terms of categories derived from a child's language behavior, and to search in the contextual events which relate to the child's utterance for cues to the acquisition of motivating categories and distinctions.

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Also Published In

Title
Journal of Child Language
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1017/S0305000900006553

More About This Work

Academic Units
Human Development
Published Here
May 8, 2018