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ERIC Number: EJ905502
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 48
ISSN: ISSN-1525-0008
Syntactic Categorization in French-Learning Infants
Shi, Rushen; Melancon, Andreane
Infancy, v15 n5 p517-533 Sep-Oct 2010
Recent work showed that infants recognize and store function words starting from the age of 6-8 months. Using a visual fixation procedure, the present study tested whether French-learning 14-month-olds have the knowledge of syntactic categories of determiners and pronouns, respectively, and whether they can use these function words for categorizing novel words to nouns and verbs. The prosodic characteristics of novel words stimuli for noun versus verb uses were balanced. The only distinguishing cue was the preceding determiners versus subject pronouns, the former being the most common for nouns and the latter the most common for verbs, i.e., Det + Noun, Pron + Verb. We expected that noun categorization may be easier than verb categorization because the co-occurrence of determiners with nouns is more consistent than that of subject pronouns with verbs in French. The results showed that infants grouped the individual determiners as one common class, and that they appeared to use the determiners to categorize novel words into nouns. However, we found no evidence of verb categorization. Unlike determiners, pronouns were not perceived as a common syntactic class. (Contains 2 footnotes, 1 table, and 1 figure.)
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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
Identifiers - Location: Canada