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ERIC Number: ED163766
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976-Dec
Linguistic Knowledge at Early Stage I; Evidence from Successive Single Word Utterances. Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, No. 12.
A study was conducted to determine whether the child expresses linguistic knowledge during the single-word period. The order of mention in 65 sets of successive single-word utterances from five children at Stage 1, two to four years old, were analyzed. To elicit speech, the children were shown line drawings representing such situations as animate agent, inanimate agent, animate object, inanimate object, agent present, agent absent, instrument present, and instrument absent. Some pictures had a focus object, which was accomplished by having one object in the picture colored--the agent, the object, or the instrument. Pictures were counterbalanced with respect to semantic factors (in some pictures cats chase dogs while in others dogs chase cats). The children's vocabulary was also tested. Results show that significantly more of children's successive single-word utterances describing reversible pictures are ordered agent/object than are ordered object/agent (the order of mention reflects English word order). Children also mention generic terms before specific ones significantly more often than they mention specific terms. Possible reasons for the appropriately ordered successive single-word utterances are discussed, as is the question of whether the single-word word stage is presyntactic. The data suggest that word order is related to cognition, and is not an aspect of syntax divorced from the child's other experiences. (SW)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Dept. of Linguistics.