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ERIC Number: EJ777541
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Aug
Pages: 39
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0305-0009
Comparing Different Accounts of Inversion Errors in Children's Non-Subject Wh-Questions: "What Experimental Data Can Tell Us?"
Ambridge, Ben; Rowland, Caroline F.; Theakston, Anna L.; Tomasello, Michael
Journal of Child Language, v33 n3 p519-557 Aug 2006
This study investigated different accounts of children's acquisition of non-subject wh-questions. Questions using each of 4 wh-words ("what," "who," "how" and "why"), and 3 auxiliaries (BE, DO and CAN) in 3sg and 3pl form were elicited from 28 children aged 3;6-4;6. Rates of non-inversion error ("Who she is hitting?") were found not to differ by wh-word, auxiliary or number alone, but by lexical auxiliary subtype and by wh-word+lexical auxiliary combination. This finding counts against simple rule-based accounts of question acquisition that include no role for the lexical subtype of the auxiliary, and suggests that children may initially acquire wh-word+lexical auxiliary combinations from the input. For DO questions, auxiliary-doubling errors ("What does she does like?") were also observed, although previous research has found that such errors are virtually non-existent for positive questions. Possible reasons for this discrepancy are discussed. [This research was funded by Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany and by an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship.]
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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
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom