Development of Aspect Morphology in Korean

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2016

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Abstract

The present study examined the development of aspect marking in Korean with a focus on -ko iss- and –a iss- imperfective markers, compared with progressive and perfective markers. First, we examined the comprehension accuracy of 3-4-year-old Korean-learning children, while observing their online interpretation patterns via their eye-fixation. Second, 3-4-year-olds’ production of aspect markers was elicited, using pictures/videos that portrayed various aspects of events. Both groups of children comprehended progressive meanings better than the perfective/resultative meanings. Accuracy between the imperfective markers didn’t differ but 4-year-olds were more accurate than 3-year-olds. In production, 4-year-olds were more accurate in producing -ko iss- than -a iss-, while 3-year-olds were less accurate in using both markers. Eye-gaze patterns showed that children were faster in identifying the resultative -ko iss- than -a iss- event. Taken together, these results suggest that Korean children may begin extending the progressive -ko iss- form into the result state before they fully acquire a new resultative form, indicating polysemous extension of the existing form as the acquisition mechanism of aspect morphology.

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