What preschool children do and do not do with ungrammatical word orders

Abbot-Smith, Kirsten and Lieven, Elena and Tomasello, Michael (2001) What preschool children do and do not do with ungrammatical word orders. Cognitive Development, 16 (2). pp. 679-692. ISSN 0885-2014. (Full text available)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0885-2014(01)00054-5

Abstract

Akhtar [J. Child Lang. 26 (1999) 339.] found that when 4-year-old English-speaking children hear novel verbs in transitive utterances with ungrammatical word orders (e.g., Elmo the tree meeked), they correct them to canonical SVO order almost all of the time. However, when 3-year-olds and older 2-year-olds hear these same utterances, they waver between correcting and using the ungrammatical ordering. In the current study, we adapted this task for children at 2;4, using an intransitive construction. The major finding was that children corrected the noncanonical word order less than half as often as Akhtar's 2-year-old subjects who were approximately 4 months older. At the same time, however, children showed in several ways that they had some implicit understanding of canonical SV order; for example, they used the novel verb which they heard used in grammatical word order more often than the novel verb which they heard in ungrammatical word order, and they consistently used pronouns and the progressive -s auxiliary in appropriate ways. The current findings thus contribute to a growing body of theory and research suggesting that the ontogenetic emergence of linguistic categories and schemas is a gradual process, as is the emergence of categories in other domains of cognitive development. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: ISI Document Delivery No.: 498FZ Times Cited: 7 Cited Reference Count: 21 Elsevier science inc New york
Uncontrolled keywords: productivity
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Kirsten Abbot-Smith
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2010 14:40
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2014 10:23
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/25330 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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