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Schmerse, Daniel; Lieven, Elena; Tomasello, Michael – Journal of Child Language, 2015
We investigated whether children at the ages of two and three years understand that a speaker's use of the definite article specifies a referent that is in common ground between speaker and listener. An experimenter and a child engaged in joint actions in which the experimenter chose one of three similar objects of the same category to perform an…
Descriptors: Young Children, Child Language, Form Classes (Languages), Child Development
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Schmerse, Daniel; Lieven, Elena; Tomasello, Michael – Journal of Child Language, 2013
In this article we report two studies: a detailed longitudinal analysis of errors in "wh"-questions from six German-learning children (age 2 ; 0-3 ; 0) and an analysis of the prosodic characteristics of "wh"-questions in German child-directed speech. The results of the first study demonstrate that German-learning children…
Descriptors: Error Patterns, Young Children, German, Language Acquisition
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Salomo, Dorothe; Lieven, Elena; Tomasello, Michael – Journal of Child Language, 2013
Young children answer many questions every day. The extent to which they do this in an adult-like way -- following Grice's Maxim of Quantity by providing the requested information, no more no less -- has been studied very little. In an experiment, we found that two-, three- and four-year-old children are quite skilled at answering…
Descriptors: Young Children, Questioning Techniques, Responses, Child Psychology
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Grosse, Gerlind; Tomasello, Michael – Journal of Child Language, 2012
Children are frequently confronted with so-called "test questions". While genuine questions are requests for missing information, test questions ask for information obviously already known to the questioner. In this study we explored whether two-year-old children respond differentially to one and the same question used as either a genuine question…
Descriptors: Cues, Tests, Toddlers, Task Analysis
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Liebal, Kristin; Carpenter, Malinda; Tomasello, Michael – Journal of Child Language, 2011
Speakers often anticipate how recipients will interpret their utterances. If they wish some other, less obvious interpretation, they may "mark" their utterance (e.g. with special intonations or facial expressions). We investigated whether two- and three-year-olds recognize when adults mark a non-verbal communicative act--in this case a pointing…
Descriptors: Interpersonal Communication, Nonverbal Communication, Pragmatics, Toddlers
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Salomo, Dorothe; Graf, Eileen; Lieven, Elena; Tomasello, Michael – Journal of Child Language, 2011
Three- and four-year-old children were asked predicate-focus questions ("What's X doing?") about a scene in which an agent performed an action on a patient. We varied: (i) whether (or not) the preceding discourse context, which established the patient as given information, was available for the questioner; and (ii) whether (or not) the patient was…
Descriptors: Context Effect, Young Children, Role, Questioning Techniques
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Dabrowska, Ewa; Tomasello, Michael – Journal of Child Language, 2008
Rapid acquisition of linguistic categories or constructions is sometimes regarded as evidence of innate knowledge. In this paper, we examine Polish children's early understanding of an idiosyncratic, language-specific construction involving the instrumental case--which could not be due to innate knowledge. Thirty Polish-speaking children aged 2; 6…
Descriptors: Sentence Structure, Semantics, Verbs, Nouns
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Brand, Silke; Diessel, Holger; Tomasello, Michael – Journal of Child Language, 2008
This paper investigates the development of relative clauses in the speech of one German-speaking child aged 2 ; 0 to 5 ; 0. The earliest relative clauses we found in the data occur in topicalization constructions that are only a little different from simple sentences: they contain a single proposition, express the actor prior to other…
Descriptors: Word Order, Sentences, German, Case Studies
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Matthews, Danielle; Lieven, Elena; Theakston, Anna; Tomasello, Michael – Journal of Child Language, 2007
Using the weird word order methodology (Akhtar, 1999), we investigated children's understanding of SVO word order in French, a language with less consistent argument ordering patterns than English. One hundred and twelve French children (ages 2;10 and 3;9) heard either high or low frequency verbs modelled in either SOV or VSO order (both…
Descriptors: Constructivism (Learning), Verbs, Grammar, Word Order
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Liszkowski, Ulf; Carpenter, Malinda; Tomasello, Michael – Journal of Child Language, 2007
We investigated two main components of infant declarative pointing, reference and attitude, in two experiments with a total of 106 preverbal infants at 1;0. When an experimenter (E) responded to the declarative pointing of these infants by attending to an incorrect referent (with positive attitude), infants repeated pointing within trials to…
Descriptors: Infants, Nonverbal Communication, Attitudes, Responses
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Ambridge, Ben; Rowland, Caroline F.; Theakston, Anna L.; Tomasello, Michael – Journal of Child Language, 2006
This study investigated different accounts of children's acquisition of non-subject wh-questions. Questions using each of 4 wh-words ("what," "who," "how" and "why"), and 3 auxiliaries (BE, DO and CAN) in 3sg and 3pl form were elicited from 28 children aged 3;6-4;6. Rates of non-inversion error ("Who…
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Language Acquisition, Error Analysis (Language), Child Language
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Tomasello, Michael; Stahl, Daniel – Journal of Child Language, 2004
There has been relatively little discussion in the field of child language acquisition about how best to sample from children's spontaneous speech, particularly with regard to quantitative issues. Here we provide quantitative information designed to help researchers make decisions about how best to sample children's speech for particular research…
Descriptors: Language Acquisition, Speech, Child Language, Sampling
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Lieven, Elena; Behrens, Heike; Speares, Jennifer; Tomasello, Michael – Journal of Child Language, 2003
Determined the degree to which a sample of one child's creative utterances related to utterances that the child previously produced. Utterances were intelligible, multi-word utterances produced by the child in a single hour of interaction with her mother. Results suggest the high degree of creativity in early English child language could be…
Descriptors: Child Language, Creativity, Language Acquisition, Language Usage
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Wittek, Angelika; Tomasello, Michael – Journal of Child Language, 2002
Two nonce-word studies examined German-speaking children's productivity with the "Perfekt" (present perfect) from 2;6 to 3;6. The German "Perfekt" consists of the past participle of the main verb and an inflected form of an auxiliary (either "haben" "have" or "sein" "be"). In Study 1, nonce verbs were either introduced in the infinitival form, and…
Descriptors: German, Morphology (Languages), Children, Morphemes
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Tomasello, Michael; Akhtar, Nameera; Dodsen, Kelly; Rekau, Laura – Journal of Child Language, 1997
Examined young children's language productivity with newly learned forms by teaching them four new words: two nouns and two verbs. Findings indicate children combined the novel nouns productively with already known words much more often than they did the novel verbs--by many orders of magnitude and several children pluralized the new nouns,…
Descriptors: Child Language, Educational Games, Infants, Language Acquisition
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