Young children's comprehension of English SVO word order revisited: testing the same children in act-out and intermodal preferential looking tasks

Chan, A. and Meints, Kerstin and Lieven, E. and Tomasello, M. (2010) Young children's comprehension of English SVO word order revisited: testing the same children in act-out and intermodal preferential looking tasks. Cognitive Development, 25 (1). pp. 30-45. ISSN 0885-2014

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cogdev.2009.10.002

Abstract

Act-out and intermodal preferential looking (IPL) tasks were administered to 67 English children aged 2–0, 2–9 and 3–5 to assess their comprehension of canonical SVO transitive word order with both familiar and novel verbs. Children at 3–5 and at 2–9 showed evidence of comprehending word order in both verb conditions and both tasks, although children at 2–9 performed better with familiar than with novel verbs in the act-out task. Children at 2–0 showed no evidence of comprehending word order in either task with novel verbs; with familiar verbs they showed competence in the IPL task but not in the act-out task. The difference in performance for familiar and novel verbs from the same children at 2–0, on the IPL task, and at 2–9, on the act-out task, is consistent with the hypothesis that early linguistic/cognitive representations are graded in strength, with early representations still weak and very task dependent. However, these representations also become more abstract with development, as indicated by the familiarity effect even in the more sensitive IPL task.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Psychology of language, Language and Linguistics, child development
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C820 Developmental Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:1319
Deposited By: Bev Jones
Deposited On:09 Oct 2007
Last Modified:04 Dec 2013 14:09

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