Are the Mental State Verbs Important For Roma Children’s Understanding of False Belief Task
Objectives. The aim of the paper is to analyze the process of acquisition of mental state verbs in Romani and in Bulgarian langauges simultaneously by bilingual Roma children. The mental state verbs help the children to understand the Fals Belief Tasks, which predict the Theory of Mind. The theory of mind from other side is important for understanding the intentions, desires, jokes, motivations of others and what are the factors influencing the development of theory of mind
Research methods and techniques. Two Roma children from Bulgaria (1 boy and 1 girl) aged 1;0 – 3;0 years were audiorecorded longitudinally in their natural home environment. According to M. Taumoepeau and T. Ruffman (2006), the mental state verbs can be grouped in different categories, showing different states: mental states, physical states, emotions, perception and cognition. The acquired verbs are analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively.
Results. The data shows that some mental state verbs are acquired in Romani and others in Bulgarian. The factors influencing the acquisition of part of the verbs in Romani and the other part in Bulgarian are analyzed. Mental state verbs are important for the cognitive development of the children. The results show that the the boy uses 100% Romani mental state verbs: very high number of verbs are related to (1) mental states, e.g.: mangav (want), dehav (love), arakhav (care about), džanav (know); (2) emotions: xavxoli (angry), khanile (feeling bad); (3) physical state, e.g.: dukhal (hurt), rovav (cry); (4) sense, such as: dikh (look). The girl uses 89.0% mental state verbs in Romani and 19.0% in Bulgarian language. The learned verbs by her are related to mental state from Romani: mangav (want), džanav (know), darav (be afraid) and from Bulgarian: obicham (love), znam (know), iskam (want). The other verbs from the field of emotions, physical state and sense are from Romani.
Conclusions. The resreach although limited has shown that sentences with mental state verbs in a combination with a noun phrase in a simple sentence are acquired around the age of 1;6. The more complex sentences with mental state verb and complementizer phrase are acquired around the age of 2;6 years old.
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