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ERIC Number: EJ775825
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jun
Pages: 39
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 63
ISSN: ISSN-0169-0965
Children's Use of Gender and Order-of-Mention during Pronoun Comprehension
Arnold, Jennifer E.; Brown-Schmidt, Sarah; Trueswell, John
Language and Cognitive Processes, v22 n4 p527-565 Jun 2007
Two experiments were conducted to examine the on-line processing mechanisms used by young children to comprehend pronouns. The work focuses on their use of two highly relevant sources of information: (1) the gender and number features carried by English pronouns, and (2) the differing accessibility of discourse entities, as influenced by order-of-mention in a clause. Adults use both evidential sources, as early as 200 ms after the offset of the pronoun (Arnold, Eisenband, Brown-Schmidt, & Trueswell, 2000). We find that like adults, 3-5-year-old children use a pronoun's gender to guide their choice of a referent, and that they use it rapidly on-line. But unlike adults, they show little or no signs of a first-mentioned bias, either off-line or on-line. This is consistent with a tendency for children to initially recruit reliable sources of constraint for language comprehension--in this case, the gender of the pronoun. (Contains 10 figures, 4 tables and 10 footnotes.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A