ERIC Number: EJ1084239
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
Structural Priming in Spanish as Evidence of Implicit Learning
Gámez, Perla B.; Shimpi, Priya M.
Journal of Child Language, v43 n1 p207-233 Jan 2016
This study uses a structural priming technique with young Spanish speakers to test whether exposure to a rare syntactic form in Spanish ("fue"-passive) would increase the production and comprehension of that form. In Study 1, 14 six-year-old Spanish speakers described pictures of transitive scenes. This baseline study revealed that "fue"-passives were virtually non-existent in children's spontaneous speech. Using the priming technique in Study 2, an additional 56 Spanish-speaking children were exposed to "fue"-passive or active picture descriptions; we varied whether children repeated the modeled form. With repetition, production of "fue"-passives increased past baseline usage. When not asked to repeat, comprehension and production of "fue"-passives was no different than chance. Results extend the existing literature by experimentally testing input effects on the production and comprehension of infrequently used constructions, further corroborating the relation between input frequency and language skill. Findings are consistent with the view that an implicit learning mechanism guides language learning.
Descriptors: Priming, Spanish, Spanish Speaking, Syntax, Young Children, Child Language, Comprehension, Language Skills
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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