Deverbal compound comprehension in preschool children
When English-speaking children first attempt to produce deverbal compound words (like muffin maker), they often misorder the noun and the verb (e.g., make-muffin, maker muffin, or making-muffin). The purpose of the present studies was to test Usage-based and Distributional Morphology-based explanations of children’s errors. In Study 1, we compared three to four-year old children’s interpretations of Verb-Noun (e.g., push-ball) to Verb-erNoun (e.g., pusher-ball). In Study 2, we compared three- to five-year old children’s interpretations of Verb-erNoun (e.g., pusher-ball) to Noun-Verb-er (e.g., ball pusher). Results from both studies suggest that while preschool children’s understanding of deverbal compounds is still developing, they already show some sensitivity to word ordering within compounds. We argue that these results are interpretable within Usage-based approaches.
Keywords: deverbal compounds, ordering sensitivity, comprehension
Published online: 16 June 2016
Abbot-Smith, K., Lieven, E. & Tomasello, M.
Abbot-Smith, K., & Tomasello, M.
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Lieven, E., Behrens, H., Speares, J., & Tomasello, M.
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Nicoladis, E., & Yin, H.