Title

The Role of Pronouns in Young Children’s Acquisition of the English Transitive Construction

Document Type

Post-Print

Publication Date

2001

Abstract

Two studies investigating the linguistic representations underlying English-speaking 2 1/2-year-olds' production of transitive utterances are reported. The first study was a training study in which half the children heard utterances with full nouns as agent and patient, and half the children heard utterances with both pronouns (i.e., He's [verb]-ing it) and also full nouns. In subsequent testing, only children who had been trained with pronouns and nouns were able to produce a transitive utterance creatively with a nonce verb. The second study reported an analogous set of findings, but in comprehension. Together, the results of these 2 studies suggest that English-speaking children build many of their early linguistic constructions around certain specific lexical or morphological items and patterns, perhaps especially around particular pronoun configurations.

Identifier

10.1037/0012-1649.37.6.739

Publisher

American Psychological Association

Publication Information

Developmental Psychology

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