In the last two decades methods have been developed to investigate moment-by-moment language comprehension in children. This research demonstrates that children’s language comprehension shares two crucial features with adults’: 1) interpretation is incremental such that each word is integrated as soon as it becomes available; 2) language comprehension at every level draws on multiple sources of information. But there is much left to learn, particularly about processes by which children combine word meanings to interpret sentences. Previous work that was mostly on rigid word-order languages like English has tended to emphasize that children’s comprehension is verb-based. The crucial question is whether the same mechanism is employed in verb-final languages. Adults in such languages have been shown to use case marking cues incrementally independent of the verb. To date, it is not clear whether children follow similar patterns. The present studies explore children’s real-time language comprehension in Turkish, a verb-final language with flexible word order and rich inflection. These studies will provide information about the sources and processes employed in comprehension, how they vary from language to language, and how they develop in early childhood. The proposal presents 3 experiments in the visual-world eye-tracking paradigm, which will be employed for the first time with Turkish-speaking children, to investigate when they develop the ability to use case marking cues to (A) predict how a sentence will unfold as it is being spoken (Experiment 1 & 2); and (B) make inferences about the verbal semantics of an event (completed/ongoing) (Experiment 3a & 3b). The main training objective of this research is to equip a European researcher with an expertise about the design, implementation, and analysis of the visual-world eye-tracking paradigm to become a competent user and trainer of this advanced methodology and to increase its availability in European psycholinguistics.
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