The role of "fake" past tense in acquiring counterfactuals

Maxime A. Tulling, Ailis Cournane

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Prior research on the acquisition of counterfactuals has not considered the mapping challenges associated with past tense morphology, which refers either to the actual past or a "fake" past expressing counterfactuality. In a corpus study of children's spontaneous productions of counterfactual constructions, we found that wish-constructions are acquired before counterfactual conditionals, and that children make productive tense errors in coun-Terfactuals producing present tense marking instead of past. These errors cease around the time children start producing wish-constructions that unequivocally display counterfactual reasoning, and could reflect a stage where children are still figuring out that counterfactual past tense does not signal a past event on the timeline, but rather a present non-Actuality.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Number of pages10
    StatePublished - 2019
    Event22nd Amsterdam Colloquium, AC 2019 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Duration: Dec 18 2019Dec 20 2019


    Conference22nd Amsterdam Colloquium, AC 2019

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Computational Theory and Mathematics
    • Software


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