ERIC Number: EJ834343
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Reference Count: 22
Commentary on "Capturing the Evasive Passive"
Lillo-Martin, Diane; Snyder, William
Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics, v16 n2 p118-122 Apr 2009
Passives has been the focus of much research in language acquisition since the 1970s. It has been clear from this research that young children seldom produce passives spontaneously, particularly "long" or "full" passives with a by-phrase; and they usually perform poorly on experimental tests of the comprehension of passives, especially passives of nonactional verbs as compared with actional verbs. However, despite the attention paid to children's understanding of passives, there has not been agreement on the interpretation of such results. In this article, the authors critique the work of Stephen Crain, Rosalind Thornton, and Keiko Murasugi. Crain, Thornton, and Murasugi had found in previous studies that nonsyntactic performance factors may interfere with children's responses on certain kinds of tests (including act-out and picture verification tests of comprehension). As such, they designed a study to elicit passives, by setting up the context so that a passive form would be especially felicitous. The authors contend that the list of children's passive productions, details of the elicited production methodology, and information about the comprehension testing which was performed by Crain, Thornton, & Murasugi will be of interest to many in the field.
Descriptors: Language Research, Verbs, Performance Factors, Language Acquisition, Young Children, Semantics, Grammar, Syntax, Naturalistic Observation, Methods, Data Interpretation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A