German children's comprehension of word order and case marking in causative sentences

Dittmar, Miriam and Abbot-Smith, Kirsten and Lieven, Elena and Tomasello, Michael (2008) German children's comprehension of word order and case marking in causative sentences. Child Development, 79 (4). pp. 1152-1167. ISSN 0009-3920. (doi: (Full text available)

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Two comprehension experiments were conducted to investigate whether German children are able to use the grammatical cues of word order and word endings (case markers) to identify agents and patients in a causative sentence and whether they weigh these two cues differently across development. Two-year-olds correctly understood only sentences with both cues supporting each other-the prototypical form. Five-year-olds were able to use word order by itself but not case markers. Only 7-year-olds behaved like adults by relying on case markers over word order when the two cues conflicted. These findings suggest that prototypical instances of linguistic constructions with redundant grammatical marking play a special role in early acquisition, and only later do children isolate and weigh individual grammatical cues appropriately.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: ISI Document Delivery No.: 326CF Times Cited: 11 Cited Reference Count: 45 Dittmar, Miriam Abbot-Smith, Kirsten Lieven, Elena Tomasello, Michael Blackwell publishing Oxford
Uncontrolled keywords: interpretation strategies cue validity discourse knowledge language english
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PD Germanic languages
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Kirsten Abbot-Smith
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2010 16:20 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2016 10:07 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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