Chapter published in:Three Streams of Generative Language Acquisition Research: Selected papers from the 7th Meeting of Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition – North America, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Edited by Tania Ionin and Matthew Rispoli
[Language Acquisition and Language Disorders 63] 2019
► pp. 85–105
Parsing, pragmatics, and representation
Children’s comprehension of two-clause questions
How do young children comprehend wh-questions from two-clause sentences? Is it via parsing heuristics like first resort, or different grammars, or the question-under-discussion? Fifty preschool children and twenty-three adults gave answers to nine adjunct wh-questions from sentences with false complements. The effects of verb and wh-question were tested on the type of answer children give: short distance, long distance, and reality answers, which link the wh only to the embedded verb. Neither children nor adults preferred to fill the first gap, but adults and children differed in the likelihood of a reality answer. This answer type was linked to children’s language skill assessed by another index. The disparities in various theoretical positions and research findings are then discussed. Differences in the form of the sentences used across the laboratories point to a new explanation for the disparity between the different results.
Keywords: Wh-questions, long-distance-movement, parsing, first-resort, comprehension
Published online: 15 April 2019
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Cited by other publications
de Villiers, Jill, Jessica Kotfila & Tom Roeper
Lutken, C. Jane, Géraldine Legendre & Akira Omaki
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