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Korean-speaking children’s constructional knowledge about a transitive event: Corpus analysis and Bayesian modelling

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 March 2022

Gyu-Ho SHIN*
Department of Asian Studies, Palacký University Olomouc, tř. Svobody 26, 779 00 Olomouc, Czech Republic
Seongmin MUN
Department of English Language and Literature, Chosun University, 309, Pilmun-daero, Dong-gu, Gwangju, 61452, Republic of Korea
Corresponding author. Gyu-Ho Shin, Department of Asian Studies, tř. Svobody 26, 779 00 Olomouc, Czech Republic. Email:


We investigate Korean-speaking children’s knowledge about clause-level constructions involving a transitive event – active transitive and suffixal passive – through corpus analysis and Bayesian modelling. The analysis of Korean caregiver input and children’s production in CHILDES revealed that the rates of constructional patterns produced by the children mirrored those uttered by the caregivers to a considerable degree and that the caregivers’ use of case-marking was skewed towards single form-function pairings (despite the multiple form-function associations that the markers manifest). Based on these characteristics, we modelled a Bayesian learner by employing construction-based input (without considering lexical information). This simulation revealed the dominance of several constructional patterns, occupying most of the input, and their inhibitory effects on the development of the other patterns. Our findings illuminate how children shape clause-level constructional knowledge in Korean, an understudied language for this topic, as a function of input properties and domain-general learning capacities, appealing to the usage-based constructionist approach.

© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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