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ERIC Number: EJ890929
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0749-596X
Linking Infants' Distributional Learning Abilities to Natural Language Acquisition
van Heugten, Marieke; Johnson, Elizabeth K.
Journal of Memory and Language, v63 n2 p197-209 Aug 2010
This study examines the link between distributional patterns in the input and infants' acquisition of non-adjacent dependencies. In two Headturn Preference experiments, Dutch-learning 24-month-olds (but not 17-month-olds) were found to track the remote dependency between the definite article "het" and the diminutive suffix "-je" while no such evidence was obtained for the remote dependency between the definite article "de" and the plural suffix "-en." In a follow-up corpus analysis, the distributional statistics in children's input (i.e. frequency, forward and backward transitional probabilities, and average distance between the two elements) were found to elegantly align with the behavioral data; distributional properties of diminutive and plural dependencies differed substantially, with more advantageous patterns for diminutive than for plural dependencies. Our results thus support the notion that there is a strong link between input distributions and the ease with which children acquire sensitivity to remote dependencies. Potential implications are discussed. (Contains 1 figure and 5 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands