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Conceptual event units of putting and taking in two unrelated languages

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons1169

Defina,  Rebecca
Language and Cognition Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society, Nijmegen, NL;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons119

Majid,  Asifa
Language and Cognition Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Defina, R., & Majid, A. (2012). Conceptual event units of putting and taking in two unrelated languages. Poster presented at the workshop Relations in Relativity: New Perspectives on Language and Thought, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0014-592E-D
Abstract
People automatically chunk ongoing dynamic events into discrete conceptual event units. This paper investigates one possible factor in this process, i.e., linguistic structure. This paper tests the claim that describing an event with a serial verb construction will influence a speaker's conceptual event structure. The grammar of Avatime (a Kwa language spoken in Ghana) requires its speakers to describe some, but not all, placement events using a serial verb construction which also encodes the preceding taking event. We tested Avatime and English speakers’ recognition memory for putting and taking events. Avatime speakers were more likely to falsely recognize putting and taking events from episodes associated with take-put serial verb constructions than from other episodes associated with other constructions. English speakers showed no difference in false recognitions between episode types. This demonstrates that memory for episodes is related to the type of language used; and, moreover, across languages different conceptual representations are formed for the same physical episode, paralleling habitual linguistic practices.