Abstract Morphosyntax in Two- and Three-Year-Old Children: Evidence from Priming

Lilia Rissman, Geraldine Legendre, Barbara Landau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Young English-speaking children often omit auxiliary verbs from their speech, producing utterances such as baby crying alongside the more adult-like baby is crying. Studies have found that children's proficiency with auxiliary BE is correlated with frequency statistics in the input, leading some researchers to argue that children's auxiliary knowledge is item-specific and slow to develop. In a priming experiment, we investigated whether 2- and 3-year-old children represent auxiliary is and are as part of an abstract syntactic frame. We tested whether children could be primed to increase their auxiliary production when the prime and target differed by subject, verb and auxiliary type (is or are). We found these patterns of priming, indicating children represent auxiliary BE as part of an abstract syntactic frame that minimally contains is and are, despite the frequency-based effects reported in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-292
Number of pages15
JournalLanguage Learning and Development
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2013

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evidence
baby
Morphosyntax
Priming
speaking
statistics
experiment
Syntax
literature
Statistics
Proficiency
Auxiliary Verb
Experiment
Verbs
Utterance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics

Cite this

Abstract Morphosyntax in Two- and Three-Year-Old Children : Evidence from Priming. / Rissman, Lilia; Legendre, Geraldine; Landau, Barbara.

In: Language Learning and Development, Vol. 9, No. 3, 07.2013, p. 278-292.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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