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ERIC Number: EJ851460
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Sep
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0090-6905
Describing the Acquisition of Determiners in English: A Growth Modeling Approach
Abu-Akel, Ahmad; Bailey, Alison L.; Thum, Yeow-Meng
Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, v33 n5 p407-424 Sep 2004
This paper, based on naturalistic data, describes the acquisitional course and use of the articles "a" and "the" in young English-speaking children (18-61 months), with special emphasis on the role of individual variation. A growth modeling approach to the data reveals that children's individual acquisition schedules are similar in trend, but vary in the rate at which they omit determiners at a given point of time. This picture suggests that an analysis that presumes homogeneous development will seriously misrepresent the fluctuations between and within individuals. Interestingly, this variation does not reflect a variation in children's abilities to use determiners correctly--irrespective of the rate in which they used determiners, children seldom used determiners incorrectly. The analysis also reveals that children's optional omission of determiners in obligatory contexts, beginning at 18 months of age, gradually decreases on average by 3-4% a month until 36 months of age, and thereafter plunges by a factor of 10 to an average of 0.3% per month. At 36 month of age the majority of children use determiners at a near-mastery level (Brown, 1973). These findings provide a useful framework for theorizing about possible mechanisms underlying the nature of early language development pre- and post-36 months of age.
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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