ERIC Number: EJ777503
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Acquisition of Auxiliaries BE and HAVE: An Elicitation Study
Theakston, Anna L.; Lieven, Elena V. M.
Journal of Child Language, v32 n3 p587-616 Aug 2005
Auxiliary syntax is recognized to be one of the more complex aspects of language that children must acquire. However, there is much disagreement among researchers concerning children's early understanding of auxiliaries, with some researchers advocating a relatively abstract grammar as the basis for auxiliary syntax, while others view the acquisition of auxiliary syntax as the gradual accumulation of linguistic knowledge, initially tied to individual lexical items. To investigate the status of children's early knowledge of auxiliary syntax, two studies were carried out. In study 1, 28 children (M=3;1) were tested for their use of the auxiliaries BE and HAVE in declaratives, while in study 2, 19 children (M=3;3) were tested for their use of these auxiliaries in questions. Although overall error rates were low, there were differences between BE and HAVE in the proportion and types of errors observed in declaratives and questions, and some individual children showed very high error rates. The implications of these findings for different models of auxiliary syntax in children's early utterances are discussed.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council, Lancaster (England).
Authoring Institution: N/A