Edited by Katherine Messenger
[Trends in Language Acquisition Research 31] 2022
► pp. 15–34
Chapter 2Syntactic priming and child language competence
A critical review and methodological considerations for future research
Theories of language development differ on how the development of syntax and its mapping to semantics are conceived. An important question in child language research is about the nature and scope of children’s syntactic representations and how they develop over time. In the last sixteen years, there has been a growth in research on syntactic priming in children, testing the abstractness and development of the sentence representations of young and older children to address theories of language acquisition. In the present paper, I review existing research using the syntactic priming technique with children. As the number of researchers employing this experimental technique continues to grow, I highlight the importance to focus on understudied languages, expand the research to a wider range of syntactic structures, uncover the role of individual differences and adopt structural priming in more naturalistic settings, to elucidate further the mechanisms underlying language acquisition and development.
- What is structural priming?
- Theoretical contributions of structural priming in child language acquisition: The nature of early syntactic representations
- Other theoretical contributions
- Comprehension vs. production priming
- Structural priming as implicit learning and the lexical boost
- Structural priming and individual differences
- Conclusions and future directions