The recognition of discontinuous verbal dependencies by German 19-month-olds : evidence for lexical and structural influences on children’s early processing capacities

  • Recent work has shown that English-learning 18-month-olds can detect the relationship between discontinuous morphemes such as is and -ing in Grandma is always running (Gomez, 2002; Santelmann & Jusczyk, 1998) but only at a maximum of 3 intervening syllables. In this article we examine the tracking of discontinuous dependencies in children acquiring German. Due to freer word order, German allows for greater distances between dependent elements and a greater syntactic variety of the intervening elements than English does. The aim of this study was to investigate whether factors other than distance may influence the child’s capacity to recognize discontinuous elements. Our findings provide evidence that children’s recognition capacities are affected not only by distance but also by their ability to linguistically analyze the material intervening between the dependent elements. We speculate that this result supports the existence of processing mechanisms that reduce a discontinuous relation to a local one based on subcategorization relatiRecent work has shown that English-learning 18-month-olds can detect the relationship between discontinuous morphemes such as is and -ing in Grandma is always running (Gomez, 2002; Santelmann & Jusczyk, 1998) but only at a maximum of 3 intervening syllables. In this article we examine the tracking of discontinuous dependencies in children acquiring German. Due to freer word order, German allows for greater distances between dependent elements and a greater syntactic variety of the intervening elements than English does. The aim of this study was to investigate whether factors other than distance may influence the child’s capacity to recognize discontinuous elements. Our findings provide evidence that children’s recognition capacities are affected not only by distance but also by their ability to linguistically analyze the material intervening between the dependent elements. We speculate that this result supports the existence of processing mechanisms that reduce a discontinuous relation to a local one based on subcategorization relations.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Barbara Höhle, Michaela Schmitz, Anja Müller, Jürgen Weissenborn
URN:urn:nbn:de:kobv:517-opus-16297
Series (Serial Number):Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Humanwissenschaftliche Reihe, ISSN 1866-8364 (paper 024)
Document Type:Postprint
Language:English
Date of Publication (online):2008/01/25
Year of Completion:2006
Publishing Institution:Universität Potsdam
Release Date:2008/01/25
Source:Language Learning and Development. - New York : Psychology Press, 2 (2006), 3, p. 277-300. - ISSN 1547-3341
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Linguistik / Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
Extern / Extern
Dewey Decimal Classification:4 Sprache / 40 Sprache / 400 Sprache
Collections:Universität Potsdam / Schriftenreihen / Interdisciplinary studies on information structure : ISIS ; working papers of the SFB 632, ISSN 1866-4725 / ISIS (2006) 05
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike 3.0 unported
Notes extern:
This is an electronic version of an article published in Language Learning and Development. - New York : Psychology Press, 2 (2006), 3, p. 277-300
ISSN 1547-3341
Language Learning and Development is available online at informaworldTM .