Psycholinguistic experiment as a method of studying the acquisition of case alternation of the object in Estonian Cover Image

Psühholingvistiline katse eesti keele objekti käändevahelduse omandamise uurimise meetodina
Psycholinguistic experiment as a method of studying the acquisition of case alternation of the object in Estonian

Author(s): Reili Argus
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Teaduste Akadeemia Kirjastus
Keywords: object case alternation; acquisition of aspect; experiments for studying the object case alternation; acquisition of Estonian

Summary/Abstract: Object case alternation has been considered to be the most diffi cult part of Estonian grammar. Therefore, a proper experiment for testing such a complicated area of language acquisition in Estonian is badly needed. The paper investigates the procedure of developing and piloting an experiment for the study of the acquisition of object case alternation. The experiment is designed to compare both comprehension and production of perfective vs. imperfective aspect forms (genitive or partitive case of the object) by means of video clips with complete vs. ongoing situations. Aspect distinctions can be expressed in Estonian not only by means of object case alternation but also with the help of perfective particles. Therefore, the test version with perfective particles was also used for piloting. When piloting the fi rst version of the test in a control group of adults, it appeared that the test units with perfective situations in the comprehension test required the use of time adverbials for a kind of time-reference point. Thus, the third version of the test with time adverbials was also used. The whole test has been piloted in 54 children aged 4–7 years. The results indicated that in the comprehension test the children understood better the connection of perfective situations and the objects in the genitive case than imperfective situations and objects in the partitive. In the production test they preferred to use the object in the partitive. In the test version with the time adverbial the children provided more correct answers in perfective than in imperfective situations. The results of the children were better in test units with object nouns without grade alternation. However, both time adverbials and perfective particles should be used in the future test. Also, a greater variation of object nouns with different morphophonological structures would be needed.

  • Issue Year: 2008
  • Issue No: 54
  • Page Range: 022-043
  • Page Count: 22
  • Language: Estonian