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ERIC Number: EJ1128770
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Feb
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0142-7237
Children's Comprehension of Two Types of Syntactic Ambiguity
Zimmer, Elly Jane
First Language, v37 n1 p7-23 Feb 2017
This study asks whether children accept both interpretations of ambiguous sentences with contexts supporting each option. Twenty-six 3- to 5-year-old English-speaking children and a control group of 30 English-speaking adults participated in a truth value judgment task. As a step towards evaluating the complexity of syntactic ambiguity, the materials included prepositional phrase ambiguities (e.g., The boy saw the girl with binoculars.) and reduced relative clause ambiguities (e.g., The boy saw the girl using a magnifying glass.). Children generally accepted both interpretations of such ambiguities. This suggests that children this age have not only mastered the syntactic configurations associated with these ambiguities, but they can appropriately assign multiple possible structural analyses to an individual expression. Children did reject more interpretations than adults. This may be due to differences in the developing parser and the adult parser.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A