A statistical model of the grammatical choices in child production of dative sentences

Focusing on children’s production of the dative alternation in English, we examine whether children’s choices are influenced by the same factors that influence adults’ choices, and whether, like adults, they are sensitive to multiple factors simultaneously. We do so by using mixed-effect regression models to analyse child and child-directed datives extracted from the Child Language Data Exchange System corpus. Such models allow us to investigate the collective and independent effects of multiple factors simultaneously. The results show that children’s choices are influenced by multiple factors (length of theme and recipient, nominal expression type of both, syntactic persistence) and pattern similarly to child-directed speech. Our findings demonstrate parallels between child and adult speech, consistent with recent acquisition research suggesting that there is a usage-based continuity between child and adult grammars. Furthermore, they highlight the utility of analysing children’s speech from a multi-variable perspective, and portray a learner who is sensitive to the multiple cues present in her input.

from Language and Cognitive Processes


About Callier Library

Housed at the internationally renowned Callier Center for Communication Disorders, Callier Library a branch facility of the McDermott Library at The University of Texas at Dallas.

Posted on June 15, 2011, in Research and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: