ERIC Number: EJ777192
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-May
Reference Count: 0
Young Children's Difficulty with Adjectives Modifying Nouns
Journal of Child Language, v31 n2 p255-285 May 2004
In two experiments we tested the hypothesis that children have a basic problem in mastering the attributive relation because it involves a two-step logical-semantic integration process of the head-noun and the attributive adjective. Hebrew-speaking children were asked to interpret highly familiar adjective-noun combinations by selecting a photo that depicted the correct referent. In Experiment 1 there were four choices for each adjective-noun pair: correct object/correct property, correct object/wrong property, wrong object/correct property, wrong object/wrong property. 170 children (1;6-4;4) participated. Analyses of errors and spontaneous self-corrections indicated that children initially ignored the adjective and based their responses only on the noun. In Experiment 2, in addition to the 4-choice condition, there were two simpler conditions with only two choices: the correct object/correct property, and either the correct object/wrong property, or the wrong object/correct property. 30 children (1;9-4;11) were tested. The children, and in particular the lowest-scoring third of the sample, did significantly better in the 2-pictures conditions. The results suggest that young children do possess a basic adjective vocabulary and can use it in simple discriminations, but have a considerable difficulty in integrating the information furnished by the adjective with information furnished by the noun.
Descriptors: Form Classes (Languages), Nouns, Experiments, Educational Research, Semitic Languages, Young Children
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Sponsor: Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL.
Authoring Institution: N/A