ERIC Number: EJ917817
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Gender-Marked Determiners Help Dutch Learners' Word Recognition when Gender Information Itself Does Not
van Heugten, Marieke; Johnson, Elizabeth K.
Journal of Child Language, v38 n1 p87-100 Jan 2011
Dutch, unlike English, contains two gender-marked forms of the definite article. Does the presence of multiple definite article forms lead Dutch learners to be delayed relative to English learners in the acquisition of their determiner system? Using the Preferential Looking Procedure, we found that Dutch-learning children aged 1 ; 7 to 2 ; 0 use articles during sentence comprehension in a fashion comparable to similarly aged English learners. That is, Dutch learners' sentence processing was impaired when a nonsense ("se") as opposed to real article ("de", "het") preceded target words, much like English learners' sentence processing is disrupted by the use of a nonsense article. At the same time, however, gender cues did not help Dutch learners recognize target nouns more efficiently, indicating that gender has yet to be acquired. Thus, although Dutch-learning children aged 1 ; 7 to 2 ; 0 have not mastered all aspects of their language's article system, they nonetheless use their partial knowledge of articles during speech processing.
Descriptors: Sentences, Cues, Nouns, Indo European Languages, Form Classes (Languages), Language Acquisition, English, Child Language, Contrastive Linguistics, Language Processing
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
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