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Narrative assessment in patients with communicative disorders
Sara Andreetta, Andrea Marini, 2014, published scientific conference contribution

Keywords: neurolinguistics, discourse analysis, language disorders
Published in RUNG: 04.11.2021; Views: 1903; Downloads: 0
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English L2 in Italy : the role of the teacher in acquiring a second language
Greta Mazzaggio, 2016, unpublished conference contribution

Keywords: English, L2, language acquisition
Published in RUNG: 23.09.2021; Views: 1916; Downloads: 0
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Addressing the debate on pronoun reversal, caused by Theory of Mind or by Echolalia?
Greta Mazzaggio, invited lecture at foreign university

Abstract: Pronoun reversal is among the most interesting errors of early child language. It mainly consists in the substitution of I for you, and you for I; during these years, such reversal has often been associated mainly with Autistic Spectrum Disorder but recent studies have shown that the phenomena also occur in typically developing children with almost the same frequency (Evans, K.E., Demuth, K., 2012). Many theories on the cause of pronoun reversals have been proposed but the problem remains puzzling because a lot of children who reverse pronouns occasionally produce also correct forms. Moreover, it is a phenomenon which is not present in all the children (Dale, P.S., Crain- Thoreson, C., 1993). Of the two of the main hyphoteses related to pronoun reversal, one links it to a lack of a Theory of Mind (ToM), another relates it to echolalia. Based on two different surveys I conducted, I would like to address the debate. With the first study I wanted to verify whether pronoun reversals is related to a lack or to a non- mature development of ToM (Wechsler, S., 2010) testing a group of typically developing children with a series of ToM tasks ordered by a degree of complexity, from less to more complex. Then I created four tasks to verify their competence in using pronouns: focus position, pronoun with verb agreement, null form and pronouns other than first and second singular forms. We administered this experiment to a group of 17 Italian children - 38 to 70 months of age - because such tasks have never been performed before for Italian language. In this respect, Italian is more complex than English, mainly for two aspects: it’s a pro-drop language, that is a language in which some pronouns can be omitted if they are pragmatically inferable, and there is agreement between the subject pronoun and the verb, which is another factor that we must take into account. With the second study I analysed spontaneous speech uttered by a 15-years-old boy officially diagnosed with Kleefstra Syndrome and known to be a reverser, focusing on cases of pronoun reversal. At the end of the two studies I have data in favor of both ToM hypothesis and echolalia hypothesis. Further researches should verify if echolalia can be related with a lack of ToM and the differences in pronoun reversal between typically developing children and children with disorders.
Keywords: echolalia, language development, theory of mind, pronouns, pronoun reversal, autism developmental disorders
Published in RUNG: 22.09.2021; Views: 2354; Downloads: 0
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Autismo e Inversione Pronominale: l’ipotesi della Teoria della Mente.
Greta Mazzaggio, invited lecture at foreign university

Keywords: autism developmental disorder, pragmatics, language development, theory of mind
Published in RUNG: 22.09.2021; Views: 2022; Downloads: 0
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L'uso dell'inglese L2 e la correzione degli errori in due lezioni alla scuola media : laurea in lingue e letterature straniere
Greta Mazzaggio, 2012, undergraduate thesis

Abstract: In our globalized and multi-cultural society, communicating between different nationalities becomes more and more important. Language remains a paramount aspect of cultural dialogue and English as lingua franca is the undisputed medium of communication, taught everywhere at an early age. In Italy English is taught since elementary school, sometimes even in kindergarten, when children’s linguistic abilities are stronger; however, teachers usually fail to make the most out of such abilities, as their lessons are primarily in Italian and the use of English is limited to some words or expressions targeted by exercises. With such an input, the children’s progress is likely to be limited. My experiment attempts to assess the interaction student-teacher in terms of use of L2 in class by means of a comparative analysis of two middle-school lessons taught by the same teacher to different age groups. Moreover, teacher’s correction techniques will be assessed in the light of frameworks established by scholars in this field, where the positive value of errors in the development of children interlanguage emerges with clarity. Since feedback is an essential part of education, special attention was paid to the teacher’s behavior in dealing with student’s mistakes. Two entire lessons were recorded and transcribed, counting the numbers of words and turns uttered respectively by students and the teacher. When collected and analyzed, such data exhibited both similarities and differences between classes. On the teacher’s side, both lessons revealed that she adopts a rather conservative style of teaching, with limited interaction. As a result, the lessons are to be considered teacher-oriented, for the distribution of turns and the amount of words exchanged; conducted along the textbook’s lines, they offer very limited room for creative language production. Moreover, the teacher’s tendency to steadily correct the students, with the only exception of pronunciation errors, impairs student’s communicative fluency at large. However, a certain progress may be observed between the 1st and 3rd class in both the increased command of English and the number of errors, decreased by almost 50%. In both cases, though, the production of English sentences is creative only for a minimal part, as English is often read and lessons are mostly based on the correction of homework and written exercises. In conclusion, the experiment offers data that confirm several assumptions of contemporary linguistics, particularly in the field of Second Language Acquisition and Error Analysis.
Keywords: Second Language Acquisition, Error Analysis, Italian, English as L2
Published in RUNG: 22.09.2021; Views: 2216; Downloads: 0
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Uso dell'inglese L2 e correzione degli errori : corpus di due lezioni alla scuola secondaria di primo grado
Greta Mazzaggio, 2016, original scientific article

Abstract: L’obiettivo di questo studio è quello di portare nuovi dati al sempre vivo dibattito riguardante l’analisi degli errori durante la produzione linguistica in una lingua diversa da quella materna. Sono state analizzate con metodo contrastivo due lezioni svolte dalla medesima docente in due classi alla scuola secondaria di primo grado (qui per brevità scuola media): una lezione con alunni del primo anno e una con alunni del terzo anno. Si sono studiate le percentuali del parlato, sia dal punto di vista delle differenze docente-discente, sia da quello delle differenze prima-terza. Si sono cercate, inoltre, conferme delle teorie che vedono i docenti spesso intenti a correggere eccessivamente i discenti, a discapito della fluenza comunicativa.
Keywords: second language, foreign language, english as a second language, acquisition, errors
Published in RUNG: 20.09.2021; Views: 2198; Downloads: 50
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The production of pronouns and verb inflections by Italian children with ASD : a new dataset in a null subject language
Greta Mazzaggio, Aaron Shield, 2020, original scientific article

Abstract: The language of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is often characterized by difficulties with pronouns. The underlying reasons for such difficulties are still unclear. This study is the first to test the abilities of children with ASD who speak Italian, a language in which overt subject pronouns are optional but verbs obligatorily feature person-referencing morphology. We found that Italian children with ASD were less accurate than typically-developing (TD) Italian children in the production of first-, second-, and third-person singular pronouns, avoiding pronouns in favor of nouns or names more often than controls. Moreover, children with ASD produced more overt pronouns than null pronouns in marked contexts, compared to TD children. These phenomena can be accounted for by difficulties with pragmatics.
Keywords: autism, autism spectrum disorder, pronoun production, pronoun avoidance, language development
Published in RUNG: 17.09.2021; Views: 2078; Downloads: 44
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On the interpretation of scalar implicatures infirst andsecond language
Greta Mazzaggio, Daniele Panizza, Luca Surian, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: We investigated the effect of presenting items in a foreign language (L2) on scalar- implicatures computation. To ensure that L2 processing was more effortful than the pro- cessing of the native language (L1), participants were late learners of L2 immersed in an L1 environment and they were presented with oral stimuli under time constraints. If scalar- implicatures computation requires cognitive effort one should !nd that people are more likely to compute scalar implicatures in L1 than in L2. In two experiments, participants were asked to perform a Sentence Evaluation Task either Italian, their native language, or in a foreign language (English or Spanish). The task included underinformative statements such as “Some dogs are animals” that, if interpreted in a pragmatic way (i.e., “Some but not all dogs are animals”) should be rejected as false. In both experiments, we found more rejections in the native language condition than in the foreign language conditions. These results provide support for models that maintain that scalar-implicature computation is effortful.
Keywords: scalar implicatures, pragmatics, default models, non-default models, second-language comprehension
Published in RUNG: 17.09.2021; Views: 2240; Downloads: 0
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Developmental aspects of Maximize Presupposition : a view from Slovenian
Penka Stateva, 2021, published scientific conference contribution abstract (invited lecture)

Abstract: In this talk I present the results of an experimental study of young children's acquisition and use of the principle Maximize Presupposition (MP) in the context of the propositional attitude predicates (equivalent to) know and think. MP operates in the domain of pragmatics in order to distinguish among semantically equivalent propositions which have different presuppositional load in a given context (Heim 1991, Sauerland 2008). Given its nature, demonstrating a speaker’s sensitivity to MP is contingent on knowledge about presuppositional content within a relevant set of alternatives. We use a felicity judgement task to test the ability of 5- and 7-year-old Slovenian-speaking children to derive the factive presupposition of know and the pragmatic inference trigerred by think in accord with MP. The older group of children outperformed the younger group in both conditions manifesting a ceiling performance, while the younger group showed a more mixed pattern. Our results suggest that the anti-factivity inference is mastered on a par with the ability to derive the presupposition of factivity, as predicted by contemporary pragmatic theories. The discussion will also include questions about the influence of bilingualism on developing pragmatic abilities, negative transfer in the domain of pragmatics and its dependence on cross-linguistic morpho-syntactic variation among translational equivalents.
Keywords: Maximize Presupposition, implicated presupposition, early bilingualism, language acquisition, attitude verb
Published in RUNG: 15.09.2021; Views: 2327; Downloads: 49
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