Turkish mothers’ use of complement clauses in storytelling in relation to children’s comprehension of complement clauses and theory of mind abilities

Date
2022-04
Advisor
Ilgaz, Hande
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Bilkent University
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Language
English
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Abstract

This study investigates mothers’ use of complement clauses in relation to children’s comprehension of complement clauses and theory of mind among 3-to 5-year-old Turkish speaking children. 114 children were given comprehension of complement clauses task, expressive and receptive language tasks, and three ToM tasks. Wordless storybook was used to collect maternal language data during storytelling. Three forms of complement clause structures (nonfinite, finite, and bare finite) were analyzed. Three complement clause structures were analyzed in two main categories. The categories were classified according to their inclusion of mental state verbs (i.e., physiological, desire, motivation, emotion, and cognitive) and nonmental state verbs. Three mental state combinations (MSCs) were also classified according to their use of mental state verb as main verb or complement verb in three complement clause structures. In first MSC, the complement verb is mental state verb. In second MSC, main verb and complement verb are mental state verbs. In third MSC, main verb is mental state verb. The results showed that the frequency of complement clause structures was not significantly related to children’s comprehension of complement clauses. Mothers’ use of third MSC in nonfinite complement clauses was significantly related to children’s comprehension of double complement clauses and their receptive language. The frequency of complement clauses that include mental state verbs was not significantly related to ToM. Children’s comprehension of double complement clauses was significantly related to ToM whereas the correlation was not significant after controlling for children’s expressive and receptive language.

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Keywords
Maternal language, Complement clauses, Theory of mind, Turkish language
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Published Version (Please cite this version)