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Language

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Title: Language


1
Language
2
Definition of Language
  • Communicative transfer of information between
    individuals
  • Arbitrary no relationship between the symbols
    (words) used to represent an object and the
    object
  • Structured the pattern of the symbols is
    meaningful.
  • Two kinds of patterns to think about
  • Morphological structures (e.g., Latin, Arabic)
  • Syntax e.g., the boy ran from the angry dog
  • the boy ran from the dog angry
  • Generative The basic units can be used to build
    a limitless number of meanings.
  • Dynamic Languages change by word absorption, and
    grammar rules shift.

3
Definitions of Language
  • Critical period
  • Developmental stages
  • Pattern of cognitive ability
  • Recursive
  • The dog is chasing its tail
  • Its cold outside, isnt it?
  • Displaced reference Language can refer to things
    not present in the here and now
  • The ancient Greeks deduced the size of the Earth,
    Moon and Sun, and the distances amongst each,
    using simple geometry.

4
Taxonomy of Language
  • Phonemes
  • Morphemes
  • Syntax
  • Phonology (e.g., 44 sounds in English) Sounds,
    including
  • Consonants
  • Vowels
  • Suprasegmentals
  • Pitch, Tone, Cadence of sentences
  • Prosody, information conveyed through tone
  • Onomatopoeia ,
  • eg. Umph, ouch,
  • /woof/ in English, /a-wau/ in Arabic

5
Taxonomy of Language
  • Phonemes
  • the smallest units of sound that are considered
    part of the language,
  • one letter like /t/ will have several variants
    the are aspirant or percussive (or non-aspirant)
    which are called allophones.
  • English has 44 phonemes, World average is 31
  • 70 of Worlds between 20 and 37
  • Fewest is 11 (Rotakas, Indo-Pacific L.)
  • Most is 141 (!Xu, southern Africa)
  • Minimum number of vowels 3, eg. Arabic
  • Some have 24, 13 have more than 16,
  • most languages have about 5
  • English has around 11-12

6
Taxonomy of Language
  • Morphemes
  • String phonemes together and you get morphemes,
    the smallest units of meaning like /dog/ which is
    one morpheme or /doggy/ which is two.
  • There are plural morphemes like /s/, /z/, /zez/
    or tense morphemes like /t/, /d/. There are
    irregular patterns for plurals which any native
    listener would be able to recognize when hearing
    them for the first time.

7
Taxonomy of Language
  • Syntax Word order in sentences Native
    speakers know what is not grammatical even if
    they have never heard the sentence before.
    Hierarchical structure
  • Subject Object Verb (Japanese, Maninka)
  • Subject Verb Object (English, Spanish)
  • Verb Subject Object (Jacaltec, Irish)
  • Verb Object Subject (Malagasy, Madag. Huave,
    Mx)
  • Object Subject Verb (Xavante)
  • All languages have NVO, prepositions, relative
    clauses, a way of negating, forming questions,
    issuing commands, referring to the past and
    future, and there are universal semantic
    categories like animate vs human, or male vs
    female.
  • No such thing as a primitive language, all
    languages can be expanded to include new words,
    all are equally complex, all languages change
    over time.

8
In class Activity
  • Construct a Table in which each of the 25 rows
    corresponds to a phoneme (sound unit) in the
    English language. List the consonantal phonemes
    in the following order (start with for none
    then) p, t, k, b, d, g, m, n, ng, f, th, s, sh,
    ch, v, z, zh, j, l, r, y, w, hw, h. Each of the
    25 columns also corresponds to a phoneme in
    English (start with V for any vowel, then) p, t,
    k, b, d, g, m, n, ng, f, th, s, sh, ch, v, z, zh,
    j, l, r, y, w, hw, h.
  • Reminder These refer to sounds not letters.
  • Now fill in the table with an X to indicate which
    of the phonemes in the rows may be followed by
    which of the phonemes in the columns, in order to
    begin an English syllable. Place an X in each box
    in the Table that corresponds to a legal syllable
    onset in standard English.

9
In class Activity
  • Questions
  • Which are the privileged / legal phonemes?
  • Why are some combinations of phonemes allowed and
    others not?
  • How is the structure of spoken language visible
    in this chart?

10
Language Acquisition
  • What makes language hard to acquire?
  • How do you know when one syllabe starts and
    another ends? Coarticulation Phonemes overlap in
    time
  • Variability in speech signal
  • No one-to-one correspondence between the acoustic
    stimuli and the speech sounds we hear
  • How do we recognize sounds in a way so a stable
    set of phonemes is perceived?

11
Language Acquisition
Vowel formants
12
Phoneme Restoration Effect
  • Warren Warren (1970)
  • It was found that the eel was on the axle
  • It was found that the eel was on the shoe
  • It was found that the eel was on the orange
  • It was found that the eel was on the table
  • was a cough but it was heard as the missing
    phoneme implied by the context

13
Word Superiority and Neural Nets
14
Demonstration
  • Based on Reicher (1969)
  • On the next several slides, a row of six letters
    will appear.
  • You will then see two letters, one above and one
    below a letter that appeared
  • Guess which of the two letters actually appeared
    in the appropriate location

15
XXXXXX
16
JBDVLM
17
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18
XXXXXX
19
SOKDHR
20
--K---
XXXXXX
--R---
21
XXXXXX
22
FATHER
23
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24
XXXXXX
25
CGZIFW
26
----F-
XXXXXX
----G-
27
XXXXXX
28
POSTER
29
--R---
XXXXXX
--S---
30
XXXXXX
31
RCHUQV
32
--H---
XXXXXX
--U---
33
XXXXXX
34
STRIPE
35
----K-
XXXXXX
----P-
36
XXXXXX
37
CRATES
38
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39
end
40
Word Superiority Effect
  • Letters are more easily recognized in the context
    of a word than alone
  • Words are also more easily recognized after
    processing a sentence
  • This demonstrates the importance of the
    interaction between top-down and bottom-up
    processing

41
McGurk Effect
  • Lip movements to one sound ga
  • Soundtrack indicates ba
  • What do you hear?
  • McGurk MacDonald (1976) found that people make
    a comprised sound da
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?v73LE1vKGfy4feature
    related

42
Language Acquisition
  • What newborn and very young infants can already
    do
  • discriminate human speech from other sounds and
    prefer to listen to it
  • discriminate their mothers voice from that of
    other adult women
  • discriminate their language from another
    language
  • they listen longer to a story that they have
    heard read in the womb

43
Motherese
44
Stages of Language Acquisition in Infants
  • Cooing long vowel sounds (ooooooh) or consonant
    vowel combinations (gaaaaaah)
  • They are capable of generating any sound found in
    any language.
  • Babbling (6-10 m.o.) consonant-vowel
    combinations and repetitions (dadadada)
  • 12-14 mo become selective towards sounds in
    mother tongue, by 18 mo has vocabulary of 50
    words
  • 24 mo starts using two word sentences

45
Stages of Language Acquisition in Infants
Babies can discriminate the sounds of all the
worlds languages and adults cannot.
Both Hindi and English /ba/ vs. /da/ 6-8
month-old babies and adults could discriminate.
Hindi, not English, easy /Ta/ vs. /ta/ 6-8
month-old babies could discriminate. Adults could
not initially but could after 25 trials of
training.
Hindi, not English, hard /th/ vs. /dh/ 6-8
month-old babies could discriminate. Adults could
not, and never learned.
Werker et al.
46
Stages of Language Acquisition in Infants
1. Present babies with strings of elements from
an artificial grammar VOT PEL JIC RUD TAM
2. The artificial grammar has rules as to the
order of elements PEL can occur 1st
position 2nd position both 2nd and 3rd
not at all JIC can occur after VOT,
PEL or TAM but its position depended on whether
VOT or TAM was first
3. The babies listen to the strings following
these rules for 2 minutes
4. Test with strings of the same sounds but
different rules of combination
5. 12-month-old babies listened longer to new
strings from the grammar they had heard before
than to strings from the other grammars
Gomez Gerken
47
Errors Made by Infants
  • Overextension / overgeneralization
  • Doggy means all four legged furry animals
  • daddy means all grown up men who wear beards
  • Overregularization
  • Fish (pl.) Fishes run runned gogoed
  • Competence vs. Knowledge
  • Look at the Fisses
  • Its not fisses, its fish
  • Thats what I said, fisses

48
Stages of Language Acquisition in Infants
  • Babies start off by being able to produce any
    sound then they become selective towards
    mother-tongue phonemes.
  • They are powerful statistical learners
  • As a new cognitive ability comes online, the
    preceding one shows a temporary deficit

49
Animals Got Language?
  • Story of Clever Hans
  • Honeybees
  • Songbirds
  • Parrots
  • Vervet Monkeys
  • Dolphins
  • Monkeys Apes

50
Hi Honey! Im Home!
  • Honeybees
  • When a forager bee locates food it returns to
    the hive and performs a dance.
  • The number of repetitions of the dance
    communicates the quality of the food.
  • Distance is communicated by the form of the
    dance.
  • Round Dance lt 20 ft
  • Sickle Dance 20 60 ft.
  • Tail-Wagging Dance gt 60 ft, coded by rate
  • Direction is also communicated in the sickle
    and tail-wagging dances.
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?v-7ijI-g4jHg
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?v4NtegAOQpSsNR1

51
Alex the Parrot
  • Irene Pepperberg has spent 25 years teaching
    Grey Parrots meaningful use of English speech.
  • Model/Rival Training
  • Trainer Model/Rival Parrot
  • Trainer presents objects to the model/rival and
    queries them about it.
  • Correct Get the item.
  • Incorrect Get corrective feedback.
  • The only reward is the object talked about, but
    after a correct response the parrot can
  • request something it wants (e.g., a nut).

52
Alex the Parrot
  • Alex exhibits cognitive capacities comparable
    to those of marine mammals,apes, and sometimes
    4-year-old children.
  • Alex correctly labels
  • 50 objects, 7 colors, 5 shapes, quantities
    up to 6
  • He correctly uses
  • No.
  • Come here.
  • Wanna go X.
  • Want Y.
  • He combines labels to correctly identify more
    than 100 objects in his environment.
  • He surfs the internet
  • http//www.pbs.org/saf/1201/video/watchonline.htm

53
The Great Apes
  • Larynx in nasal cavity in most animals except
    during vocalizing, when it moves to oral cavity
  • Same true for human infants, but around 3 months
    moves to throat
  • Lower larynx makes an animal sound larger, it
    also happens to help vocalization and formant
    (vowel) production
  • Humans have it permanently low, and it grows even
    lower in human male adolescents

54
Great Primate
  • Sarah (Primack, 1971) vocabulary of more than
    100 words of various parts of speech. Showed
    rudimentary linguistic skills. She modeled her
    trainer and was able to use the instructions she
    received to construct what appeared to be a
    rudimentary language of her own.
  • Nim Chimpsky (Terrace, 1981) two-words
    combination
  • "Give orange me give eat orange me eat orange
    give me eat orange give me you.
  • Most of the utterances were repetitions of what
    Nim had seen and didnt show rudiment of
    syntactical expression (no preference for the
    grammatically correct form)
  • Nim give banana or banana give Nim or
    banana Nim give

55
Kanzi the Bonobo Chimp
  • Kanzi is the star of animal language studies
    today (Savage-Rumbaugh, Shanker Taylor, 1998).
  • He uses a keyboard language called Yerkish.
  • Kanzi was not formally introduced to Yerkish.
  • He sat on his adopted mothers back while she
    received lessons in Yerkish.
  • Mom never learned, but Kanzi started using the
    keyboard spontaneously.
  • Since then his training has consisted of walks
    in the woods.
  • Kanzi understands over 200 symbols.

56
Kanzi the Bonobo Chimp
  • Kanzi was faced with 310 sentences of various
    types
  • action-object sentences (e.g. "Would you please
    carry the straw"),
  • action-object-location sentences (e.g. "Put the
    tomato in the refrigerator")
  • action-object-recipient sentences (e.g., "Carry
    the cooler to Penny").
  • Of the 310 sentences tested, Kanzi got 298
    correct.
  • Savage-Rumbaugh concludes. Kanzis sentence
    comprehension appears to be syntactically based
    in that he responds differently to the same word
    depending upon its function in the sentence
  • but..many nouns are pragmatically constrained
    i.e. refridgerator in the tomato? etc.

57
Kanzi the Bonobo Chimp
  • Seems to understands the importance of word order
    (I.e. therefore has some limited syntax)
  • PUT JELLY IN MILK versus PUT MILK IN JELLY
  • He seems to understand rudimentary features of
    sentence structure such as who does what to whom
  • LIZ IS GOING TO TICKLE KANZI versus YOU TICKLE LIZ

58
People Growing up Without Language
  • Genie
  • Kept in isolation from 20 mo
  • Was discovered in 1970 when she was 13
  • Is it possible to learn language at this late
    age?
  • Genie only developed a limited syntax
  • Applesauce buy store
  • Man motorcycle have
  • Feral Children
  • Djuma, Wolf Boy
  • Found living among wolves
  • Mother dead. Father dead. Brother dead. Sister
    dead. Mother nice. Father bad.
  • The Boy from Aveyron
  • Within a few months Victor could sit in a chair,
    express his emotions without being violent, and
    he could even speak a few words, like milk, and
    Oh God, which was something Dr. Itards
    housekeeper, Mme. Guerin, often said. Victor also
    came to like Mme. Guerin, who fed and cared for
    him.

59
Creole and Pigdin
  • Creole languages develop out of nothing
  • Speakers of Pigdin use many mother tongues,
    mixing up words and syntax, usually without
    articles or prepositions.
  • Their children develop the Creole language,
    keeping the words, adding prepositions, articles.
  • The Creole vocabulary is reduced, word-order is
    variable, with little grammatical structure,
    meaning is context dependent.

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How Language Shows Elements of Thought
  • Pinker Stuff of Thought, 2007
  • Study of verbs
  • Content Container Locatives
  • Datives
  • Causative alternations, transitive and
    intransitive

69
How Language Shows Elements of Thought
  • Content Container Locatives
  • Prepositional and Double-Object Datives
  • Causative alternations, transitive and
    intransitive
  • For each of these verb classes
  • Their meaning is synonymous
  • The alternation can be applied to many verbs
  • Children apply the pattern in situations they
    could not have learnt, and adults apply it to new
    terms
  • The difference between Monogamous (only one form)
    and Alternating verbs is due to how the brain
    makes meaning.

70
Testing Language
71
Content and Container Locatives The Gestalt
Shift in Language
  • Container Locative
  • The container being changed is the focus of the
    sentence
  • Content Locative
  • The moving object is the focus of the sentence
  • Container Locatives
  • Hal is loading the wagon with hay
  • Jared sprayed the roses with water
  • Betsy splashed the wall with paint
  • Jeremy rubbed the wood with oil
  • Content Locatives
  • Hal is loading hay into the wagon
  • Jared sprayed water on the roses
  • Betsy splashed paint onto the wall
  • Jeremy rubbed oil into the wood
  • You can flip many sentences into Container or
    Content Locatives, and like a Gestalt Illusion it
    still makes sense (Bi-stable).

72
Content and Container Locatives Some Flip, Some
Dont
But
  • Content Locatives
  • Tex nailed the posters on the board
  • Serena coiled the rope around the pole
  • Ellie covered an afghan onto the bed
  • Jimmy drenched beer onto his jacket
  • Container Locatives
  • Tex nailed the board with posters
  • Serena coiled the pole with a rope
  • Ellie covered the bed with an afghan
  • Jimmy drenched his jacket with beer
  • Red sentences test as odd or incorrect in
    experiments.
  • White sentences tests as normal or correct
  • Think about how a child would learn the
    difference, and how an adult can tell the
    difference for new and novel sentences

73
Content and Container Locatives What does the
Flip Mean?
  • Changing entities are treated as moving objects
  • A change-in-state movement.
  • The physics of the change-in-state matters. Are
    they caused or allowed?
  • Verbs that can alternate caused
  • Brush, dab, daub, plaster, rub, slather, smear,
    smudge, spread
  • Verbs that do not alternate allowed
  • Dribble, drip, drop, dump, funnel, ladle, pour,
    siphon, slop, slosh

74
Content and Container Locatives What does the
Flip Mean?
  • Changing entities are treated as moving objects
  • A change-in-state movement. A state is
    conceived as a location in space of possible
    states, and change is equated with movement from
    one location to another in the state-space.
    Pinker, 2007, pg. 47.
  • Bees are swarming in the garden
  • The garden is swarming with bees
  • Juice dripped from the peach
  • The peach dripped with juice
  • Its reconstrual gets compacted into a single
    point, its internal geometry obliterated.
    Pinker, 2007, pg 49

75
Content and Container Locatives What does the
Flip Mean?
  • Alternation reflects the manner of the
    change-in-state matters.
  • Alternating verbs involve a ballistic force in
    multiple directions
  • Inject, shower, spatter, splash, spray, sprinkle,
    spritz
  • Non-alternating verbs involve forceful expelling
    from inside a volume
  • Emit, excrete, expectorate, expel, exude,
    secrete, spew, spit, vomit

76
Datives Latin to give The Gestalt Shift in
Language
  • Prepositional Dative
  • Contains preposition to
  • Double-Object Dative
  • Di-transitive contains two objects, the
    indirect and direct objects
  • Give a moose a muffin
  • Lafleur slid the goalie the puck
  • Danielle brought her vet the cat
  • Adam told the baby the story
  • Give a muffin to a moose
  • Lafleur slid the puck to the goalie
  • Danielle brought the cat to her vet
  • Adam told the story to the baby
  • You can flip Prepositional Datives into
    Double-Object Datives, and like a Gestalt
    Illusion it still makes sense (Bi-stable).

77
Datives Some Flip, Some Dont
But
  • Double-Object Datives
  • Goldie drove the lake her bus
  • Arnie lifted him the box
  • The IRS fined me a thousand bucks
  • Friends, Romans, countrymen Lend me your ears!
  • Prepositional Datives
  • Goldie drove her bus to the lake
  • Arnie lifted the box to him
  • The IRS fined a thousand bucks to me
  • Friends, Romans, countrymen Lend your ears to me!
  • Red sentences test as odd or incorrect in
    experiments.
  • White sentences tests as normal or correct
  • Think about how a child would learn the
    difference, and how an adult can tell the
    difference for new and novel sentences

78
Prepositional and Double-object Datives What
does the Flip Mean?
  • Datives that alternate are ones where causing to
    give results in causing to have
  • Annette sent the boarder a package
  • Annette sent the package to the boarder
  • Datives that do not alternate are those where
    causing to give does not result in causing to
    have
  • Goldie drove her bus to the lake
  • Goldie drove the lake her bus
  • You cannot cause a lake to possess a bus you
    cannot alternate the verb

79
Prepositional and Double-object Datives What
does the Flip Mean?
  • Physics also counts for Datives
  • To give all at once alternate, but given over
    time gradually do not
  • Bash, bat, bounce, bunt, chuck, flick
  • Carry, drag, haul, hoist, lift, lower, pull, push
  • Manner also counts for datives
  • In communication, verbs about the pragmatics
    alternate but the manner of asking do not
  • He asked the President a question
  • He asked the question to the President
  • He whispered the question to the President
  • He whispered the President the question

80
Causatives The Gestalt Shift in Language
  • Causative Transitive
  • A subject causes object to do
  • Causative Intransitive
  • The object is doing its thing
  • Bobbie boiled the egg
  • Tim bounced the ball
  • Washington marched the soldiers across the field
  • Jack jump-started the car
  • The egg boiled
  • The ball bounced
  • Danielle brought her vet the cat
  • The car was jump-started
  • You can flip Transitives into Intransitives, and
    like a Gestalt Illusion it still makes sense
    (Bi-stable).

81
Causatives Some Flip, Some Dont
But
  • Intransitives
  • The log thumped
  • The car wrecked
  • The baby is crying
  • My son came home early
  • Transitives
  • She thumped the log
  • He wrecked the car
  • The thunder is crying the baby
  • I came my son home early
  • Red sentences test as odd or incorrect in
    experiments.
  • White sentences tests as normal or correct
  • Think about how a child would learn the
    difference, and how an adult can tell the
    difference for new and novel sentences

82
Transitives and Intransitives What does the Flip
Mean?
  • Causitives can alternate if the causation is
    direct
  • The window broke
  • Darren broke the window
  • Darren broke the window by startling the
    carpenter who was installing it
  • Volitional
  • The contract was signed Bob signed the contract
  • Mary laughed Bob laughed Mary

83
Language Reflects Deep Structure
  • When cause to go ? cause to change
  • When cause to go ? cause to have
  • Cause to happen vs happen
  • The physics
  • The manner

84
Errors in Flipping the Frame
  • Can I fill some salt into the bear?
  • Im going to cover a screen over me
  • Feel your hand to that
  • Look, Mom, Im gonna pour it with water, my
    belly.
  • I hitted this into my neck

85
Eventually, Children Flip the Frame
  • The Mooping Test (A Wug Test)
  • Create a word mooping (to move a sponge to a
    purple cloth turning it green)
  • The verb describes the manner of moving
    (zigzagging) versus moving which results in the
    cloth changing colors
  • In motion condition, children and adults use
    content-locative (mooping the sponge)
  • in color changing condition children and adults
    use container-locative (mooping the cloth)

86
What Do Content and Container Locatives Tell us
About Language? Can Animals DO THIS?
  • Language has a structure that shifts depending on
    whether the emphasis is on
  • causing-to-change
  • causing-to-happen
  • causing-to-have
  • Language also Makes Metaphors out of
  • Time
  • Space
  • Matter

87
Interactive-Activation Model of Word Recognition
88
Superficial Dyslexia
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  • Neural mechanisms underlying developmental
    dyslexia
  • single or multiple?
  • Phonological representation deficits
  • General temporal processing deficits
  • Magnocellular deficits

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The Birds and the Monkeys (Insert avarian-primate
joke here)
  • Songbirds
  • Male songbirds use their songs to establish a
    territory.
  • This serves as a warning to other males and as
    an invitation to prospective mates.
  • In European Robins, the songs can vary in
    complicated ways, but the only aspect of this
    variation
  • that matters is the alternation between high
    and low-pitched notes. This communicates how
  • intensely the robin will defend this territory.
  • Vervet Monkeys
  • African Vervet monkeys live in close-knit
    social groups.
  • They use three distinct calls to signal
    danger.
  • Snake Troupe stands on hind legs and scans the
    ground.
  • Leopard Troupe climbs onto smallest branches
    of nearby trees.
  • Eagle Troupe climbs trees but stays close to
    trunk or dives into dense bushes.

95
What Do Content and Container Locatives Tell us
About Language?
  • Verbs that allow both locative shifts (e.g., load
    hay into the wagon, and, load the wagon with
    hay)
  • Brush, dab, daub, plaster, rub, slather, smear,
    smudge, spread, swab
  • Verbs that are content-loc. and do not permit a
    shift (e.g., pour water into the glass, but not,
    pour the glass with water)
  • Dribble, drip, drop, dump, funnel, ladle, pour,
    shake, siphon, slop, slosh, spill
  • Verbs that are container-loc and do not permit a
    shift (e.g., drench the shirt with wine, but not,
    drench wine into the shirt)
  • Adorn, pollute, block, bind, interlace, cover,
    inundate

96
Children Flip the Frame
  • Can I fill some salt into the bear?
  • Im going to cover a screen over me
  • Feel your hand to that
  • Look, Mom, Im gonna pour it with water, my
    belly.
  • I hitted this into my neck
  • The Mooping Test (A Wug Test)
  • Create a word mooping (to move a sponge to a
    purple cloth turning it green)
  • The verb describes the manner of moving
    (zigzagging) versus moving which results in the
    cloth changing colors
  • In motion condition, children and adults use
    content-locative (mooping the sponge)
  • in color changing condition children and adults
    use container-locative (mooping the cloth)

97
Content and Container Locatives The Gestalt
Shift in Language
  • Content Locatives
  • Hal is loading hay into the wagon
  • Jared sprayed water on the roses
  • Betsy splashed paint onto the wall
  • Jeremy rubbed oil into the wood
  • Container Locatives
  • Hal is loading the wagon with hay
  • Jared sprayed the roses with water
  • Betsy splashed the wall with paint
  • Jeremy rubbed the wood with oil

But
  • Content Locatives
  • Tex nailed the posters on the board
  • Serena coiled the rope around the pole
  • Ellie covered an afghan onto the bed
  • Jimmy drenched beer onto his jacket
  • Container Locatives
  • Tex nailed the board with posters
  • Serena coiled the pole with a rope
  • Ellie covered the bed with an afghan
  • Jimmy drenched his jacket with beer
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