Motion event cognition and grammatical aspect: evidence from Afrikaans
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Research on the relationship between grammatical aspect and motion event construal has posited that speakers of non-aspect languages are more prone to encoding event endpoints than are speakers of aspect languages (e.g., von Stutterheim and Carroll 2011). In the present study, we test this hypothesis by extending this line of inquiry to Afrikaans, a non-aspect language which is previously unexplored in this regard. Motion endpoint behavior among Afrikaans speakers was measured by means of a linguistic retelling task and a nonlinguistic similarity judgment task, and then compared with the behavior of speakers of a non-aspect language (Swedish) and speakers of an aspect language (English). Results showed the Afrikaans speakers’ endpoint patterns aligned with Swedish patterns, but were significantly different from English patterns. It was also found that the variation among the Afrikaans speakers could be partially explained by taking into account their frequency of use of English, such that those who used English more frequently exhibited an endpoint behavior that was more similar to English speakers. The current study thus lends further support to the hypothesis that speakers of different languages attend differently to event endpoints as a function of the grammatical category of aspect.