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ERIC Number: EJ816441
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 31
ISSN: ISSN-0889-9401
The Role of Modeling and Automatic Reinforcement in the Construction of the Passive Voice
Wright, Anhvinh N.
Analysis of Verbal Behavior, v22 p153-169 2006
Language acquisition has been a contentious topic among linguists, psycholinguists, and behaviorists for decades. Although numerous theories of language acquisition have surfaced, none have sufficiently accounted for the subtleties of the language that children acquire. The present study attempts to explain the role of modeling and automatic reinforcement in the acquisition of the passive voice. Six children, ages 3 to 5, participated in this study. The results indicated that the children began using the passive voice only after the experimenter modeled passive sentences. Furthermore, the usage of the passive voice increased with repeated exposure to the experimenter's verbal behavior. Given that the children were not explicitly reinforced, it is proposed that their behavior was automatically reinforced for using the passive voice. (Contains 9 figures and 1 footnote.)
Association for Behavior Analysis International. 1219 South Park Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49001. Tel: 269-492-9310; Fax: 269-492-9316; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A