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ERIC Number: EJ777519
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-May
Pages: 23
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0305-0009
Direct Object Predictability: Effects on Young Children's Imitation of Sentences
Valian, Virginia; Prasada, Sandeep; Scarpa, Jodi
Journal of Child Language, v33 n2 p247-269 May 2006
We hypothesize that the conceptual relation between a verb and its direct object can make a sentence easier ("the cat is eating some food") or harder ("the cat is eating a sock") to parse and understand. If children's limited performance systems contribute to the ungrammatical brevity of their speech, they should perform better on sentences that require fewer processing resources: children should imitate the constituents of sentences with highly predictable direct objects at a higher rate than those from sentences with less predictable objects. In Experiment 1, 24 two-year-olds performed an elicited imitation task and confirmed that prediction for all three major constituents (subject, verb, direct object). In Experiment 2, 23 two-year-olds performed both an elicited imitation task and a sticker placement task (in which they placed a sticker on the pictured subject of the sentence after hearing and imitating the sentence). Children imitated verbs more often from predictable than unpredictable sentences, but not subjects or objects. Children's inclusion of constituents is affected by the conceptual relations among those constituents as well as by task characteristics. (Contains 1 footnote.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHHS), Bethesda, MD.; City Univ. of New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: N/A