Children's comprehension of sentences with focus particles
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SourceCognition, 89, 3, (2003), pp. 263-294
Article / Letter to editor
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We report three studies investigating children's and adults' comprehension of sentences containing the focus particle only. In Experiments 1 and 2, four groups of participants (6-7 years, 8-10 years, 11-12 years and adult) compared sentences with only in different syntactic positions against pictures that matched or mismatched events described by the sentence. Contrary to previous findings (Crain, S., Ni, W., & Conway, L. (1994). Learning, parsing and modularity. In C. Clifton, L. Frazier, & K. Rayner (Eds.), Perspectives on sentence processing. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum; Philip, W., & Lynch, E. (1999). Felicity, relevance, and acquisition of the grammar of every and only. In S. C. Howell, S. A. Fish, & T. Keith-Lucas (Eds.), Proceedings of the 24th annual Boston University conference on language development. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press) we found that young children predominantly made errors by failing to process contrast information rather than errors in which they failed to use syntactic information to restrict the scope of the particle. Experiment 3 replicated these findings with pre-schoolers.
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