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ERIC Number: EJ1163856
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Jan
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0305-0009
Acquisition of Prosodic Focus Marking by English, French, and German Three-, Four-, Five- and Six-Year-Olds
Szendroi, Kriszta; Bernard, Carline; Berger, Frauke; Gervain, Judit; Hohle, Barbara
Journal of Child Language, v45 n1 p219-241 Jan 2018
Previous research on young children's knowledge of prosodic focus marking has revealed an apparent paradox, with comprehension appearing to lag behind production. Comprehension of prosodic focus is difficult to study experimentally due to its subtle and ambiguous contribution to pragmatic meaning. We designed a novel comprehension task, which revealed that three- to six-year-old children show adult-like comprehension of the prosodic marking of subject and object focus. Our findings thus support the view that production does not precede comprehension in the acquisition of focus. We tested participants speaking English, German, and French. All three languages allow prosodic subject and object focus marking, but use additional syntactic marking to varying degrees (English: dispreferred; German: possible; French preferred). French participants produced fewer subject marked responses than English participants. We found no other cross-linguistic differences. Participants interpreted prosodic focus marking similarly and in an adult-like fashion in all three languages.
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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
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A