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Word order, referential expression, and case cues to the acquisition of transitive sentences in Italian

Abbot-Smith, Kirsten, Serratrice, Ludovica (2015) Word order, referential expression, and case cues to the acquisition of transitive sentences in Italian. Journal of Child Language, 42 (1). pp. 1-31. ISSN 0305-0009. ( (KAR id:36679)

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In Study 1 we analyzed Italian child-directed-speech (CDS) and selected the three most frequent active transitive sentence frames used with overt subjects. In Study 2 we experimentally investigated how Italian-speaking children aged 2;6, 3;6, and 4;6 comprehended these orders with novel verbs when the cues of animacy, gender, and subject–verb agreement were neutralized. For each trial, children chose between two videos (e.g., horse acting on cat versus cat acting on horse), both involving the same action. The children aged 2;6 comprehended S + object-pronoun + V (soprov) significantly better than S + V + object-noun (svonoun). We explain this in terms of cue collaboration between a low cost cue (case) and the firstargument = agent cue which we found to be reliable 76% of the time. The most difficult word order for all age groups was the object-pronoun + V + S (oprovs). We ascribe this difficulty to cue conflict between the two most frequent transitive frames found in CDS, namely V + object-noun and object-pronoun + V.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number:
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Kirsten Abbot-Smith
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2013 15:23 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 12:49 UTC
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Abbot-Smith, Kirsten:
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