Over the summer, Dave Ogden gave several presentations in the UK on his and Nick Ellis's joint research about the acquisition of verb-argument constructions. He presented a paper titled "Child Acquisition of Distributional and Semantic Properties of Verb-Argument Constructions (VACs) and Its Lead in Adult Usage" at the 5th UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference in Lancaster, England. The abstract of their talk is given below. Dave also presented this research to faculty and graduate students at the University of Liverpool and the Max Planck Child Study Centre at the University of Manchester.
Child Acquisition of Distributional and Semantic Properties of Verb-Argument Constructions (VACs) and Its Lead in Adult Usage
A large-scale distributional and semantic analysis of child and parent speech from the CHILDES database shows that verb-argument constructions have characteristics that promote robust category learning: (1) a Zipfian distribution of verbs within tokens of the construction (2) selectivity of verb forms and (3) coherent semantics centered on the prototype.