ERIC Number: ED338043
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
The Acquisition of Locative Constructions in Cantonese Children.
Cheung, Sik Lee
A study investigated how Cantonese children acquire word order in the locative system, which is very complex in their native language. Focus was on three semantic categories: static location, locative source, and locative goal. Subjects were 32 monolingual Cantonese children aged 2.5 to 5.9 in four age groups. Each subject performed four tasks, two to test comprehension of the three locative constructions and two to elicit production data for those three constructions. Results indicate that 2-year-olds did not use word order to differentiate among the three locatives in comprehension; older children could use word order to contrast the three kinds of locatives. Older children's errors tended to occur with test sentences that contained transitive verbs such as "push" and "throw." As expected, transitive sentences were harder for the children than intransitives. It was also found that directional verbs played an important role in the children's comprehension of spatial relations and that the 2-year-olds also did not use word order to contrast the locative forms in production. Almost all of their spontaneous locatives were postverbal. The 3-year-olds showed considerable variability here. The older children did use relevant word order contrasts in production. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: China; Locatives
Note: In: Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, Number Twenty-nine. California, Stanford University, 1990. p20-27.