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ERIC Number: EJ863702
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0388-0001
Lexical Frequency and Exemplar-Based Learning Effects in Language Acquisition: Evidence from Sentential Complements
Kidd, Evan; Lieven, Elena V. M.; Tomasello, Michael
Language Sciences, v32 n1 p132-142 Jan 2010
Usage-based approaches to language acquisition argue that children acquire the grammar of their target language using general-cognitive learning principles. The current paper reports on an experiment that tested a central assumption of the usage-based approach: argument structure patterns are connected to high frequency verbs that facilitate acquisition. Sixty children (N = 60) aged 4- and 6-years participated in a sentence recall/lexical priming experiment that manipulated the frequency with which the target verbs occurred in the finite sentential complement construction in English. The results showed that the children performed better on sentences that contained high frequency verbs. Furthermore, the children's performance suggested that their knowledge of finite sentential complements relies most heavily on one particular verb--"think," supporting arguments made by Goldberg [Goldberg, A.E., 2006. "Constructions at Work: The Nature of Generalization in Language." Oxford University Press, Oxford], who argued that skewed input facilitates language learning. (Contains 3 figures and 1 table.)
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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