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Morphological constraints in children's spoken language comprehension - a visual world study of plurals inside compounds in English

  • Many previous studies have shown that the human language processor is capable of rapidly integrating information from different sources during reading or listening. Yet, little is known about how this ability develops from child to adulthood. To gain insight into how children (in comparison to adults) handle different kinds of linguistic information during on-line language comprehension, the current study investigates a well-known morphological phenomenon that is subject to both structural and semantic constraints, the plurals-in-compounds effect, i.e. the dislike of plural (specifically regular plural) modifiers inside compounds (e.g. rats eater). We examined 96 seven-to-twelve-year-old children and a control group of 32 adults measuring their eye-gaze changes in response to compound-internal plural and singular forms. Our results indicate that children rely more upon structural properties of language (in the present case, morphological cues) early in development and that the ability to efficiently integrate information from multipleMany previous studies have shown that the human language processor is capable of rapidly integrating information from different sources during reading or listening. Yet, little is known about how this ability develops from child to adulthood. To gain insight into how children (in comparison to adults) handle different kinds of linguistic information during on-line language comprehension, the current study investigates a well-known morphological phenomenon that is subject to both structural and semantic constraints, the plurals-in-compounds effect, i.e. the dislike of plural (specifically regular plural) modifiers inside compounds (e.g. rats eater). We examined 96 seven-to-twelve-year-old children and a control group of 32 adults measuring their eye-gaze changes in response to compound-internal plural and singular forms. Our results indicate that children rely more upon structural properties of language (in the present case, morphological cues) early in development and that the ability to efficiently integrate information from multiple sources takes time for children to reach adult-like levels.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Renita Silva, Sabrina Gerth, Harald ClahsenORCiDGND
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2013.08.003
ISSN:0010-0277 (print)
ISSN:1873-7838 (online)
Parent Title (English):Cognition : international journal of cognitive science
Publisher:Elsevier
Place of publication:Amsterdam
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2013
Year of Completion:2013
Release Date:2017/03/26
Tag:Compounding; Developmental morphology; Eye movements; Morphological processing; Visual world paradigm
Volume:129
Issue:2
Pagenumber:13
First Page:457
Last Page:469
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Linguistik / Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
Peer Review:Referiert