Depósito Legal: B-48039-2000
3.2.2. Developmental issues
Whereas in Spanish, manner is rarely attended to at any age, in English, even the 3 year-olds use a variety of manner verbs. With regards to the path elements, there are some age related developments within the languages. In English, the youngest children, the 3 and 4 year-olds, already use directional particles, such as down, up, in, out, off, on, around, away and over. But initially, they are used mainly with the general purpose motion verbs go and get. With age they are used more frequently with verbs specifying manner of movement. Older children start using them with verbs that encode both manner and cause like tip, buck, bump, or poke. Also, younger children do not normally specify both the source and goal of the trajectories in a single clause. Only the 9 year-olds and the adults do this with any frequency.
In Spanish, where the frog stories in general are less specific with path details and manner of motion, narration of path shows a developmental pattern characterized by the following phases (Sebastián and Slobin 1994: 262-3):
Phase 1. Half of the young children use a simple verb alone or with a prepositional phrase that indicates the source or goal:
(3.50) Se ha subido (age 3)(3.51) El niño se sube al árbol (age 3)
(3.52) Sube por arriba por el tronco. (age 4)(3.53) Entonces abajo ... se cayó. (age 4)
|Adverb||3 yrs||4 yrs||5 yrs||9 yrs||Adult|
|No. of narrators||6||6||5||3||5|
|Mean adverbs per narrator||1.2||1.8||1.8||1.0||1.0|
As can be seen, the pre-schoolers use more types of adverbs and with greater frequency. The fact that 4 and 5 year-olds present a greater mean number of adverbs per narrator (1.8) than 3 year-olds might suggest that they follow a U-shaped developmental curve by which at 3 they are closer to what is the norm in the language (little information about the path), at 4 and 5 they try to provide more information than normal by inserting these adverbs, and by 9 years of age they are back to what is common in the language. Nevertheless, this U-shaped developmental curve should be taken with caution because the numeric differences are small, the sample is not very large, and these numbers might instead reflect different types of individual style, rather than a developmental sequence; or it is also possible that the adverbial overuse might pertain to an earlier phase.
Phase 3. After age 5 some developments take place. First, fewer of those redundant adverbs are observed (as seen in the table above). Secondly, there is an increased specification of source or goal, but almost never specifying both a source and a goal in a single clause. By contrast, and similar to the second clause of example (3.48) above, both source and goal are present simultaneously with just one verb in the narrations of the English-speaking 9 year-olds, as the following examples attest:
(3.54) He pushed him off the side of the cliff into water. (age 9)(3.55) They fall off the edge into a pond (age 9)
(3.56) He threw him over a cliff into a pond (age 5)
3yrs 5 yrs 9 yrs
English 4 27 13 German 15 2 0 Spanish 68 37 54 Hebrew 68 72 45 Turkish 61 44 33
Percentage of Narrators Providing Extended Locative
Language Age Group
5 yrs 9 yrs
English 8 8 German 0 17 Spanish 8 42 Hebrew 0 42 Turkish 10 42
(3.57) Lo tiró. Por suerte, abajo, estaba el río. El niño cayó en el agua.
(He) threw him. Luckily, below, was the river. The boy fell in the water(3.58) El ciervo frena delante de una montañita que da a un río y entonces los dos caen en el río.The deer brakes in front of a little mountain that faces a river and then the two of them fall in the river
(3.59) Y le tira desde un barranco. Hay un lago, y se cae encima.
And he throws him from a cliff. There’s a lake, and he falls on top
Depósito Legal: B-48039-2000