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ERIC Number: EJ785549
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Pages: 26
Abstractor: Author
ISSN: ISSN-0749-596X
Syntactic Priming during Language Comprehension in Three- and Four-Year-Old Children
Thothathiri, Malathi; Snedeker, Jesse
Journal of Memory and Language, v58 n2 p188-213 Feb 2008
We report two sets of experiments that demonstrate syntactic priming from comprehension to comprehension in young children. Children acted out double-object and prepositional-object dative sentences while we monitored their eye movements. We measured whether hearing one type of dative as a prime influenced children's online interpretation of subsequent dative utterances. In target sentences, the onset of the direct object noun was consistent with both an animate recipient and an inanimate theme, creating a temporary ambiguity in the argument structure of the verb (double-object e.g., "Show the horse the book"; prepositional-object e.g., "Show the horn to the dog"). The first set of experiments demonstrated priming in four-year-old children (M=4.1), both when the same verb was used in prime and target sentences (Experiment 1a) and when different verbs were used (Experiment 1b). The second set found parallel priming in three-year-old children (M=3.1). These results indicate that young children employ abstract structural representations during online sentence comprehension.
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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