Learning to construct sentences in Spanish: A replication of the Weird Word Order technique

AGUADO-OREA, Jose Javier, WITHERSTONE, Hannah, BOURGEOIS, Lisa and BASELGA, Ana (2019). Learning to construct sentences in Spanish: A replication of the Weird Word Order technique. Journal of Child Language, 46 (6), 1249-1259.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0305000919000448


In the present study, children’s early ability to organise words into sentences was investigated using the weird word order procedure with Spanish-speaking children. Spanish is a language that allows for more flexibility in the positions of subjects and objects, with respect to verbs, than other previously-studied languages (English, French and Japanese). As in prior studies (Abbot-Smith et al., 2001; Chang et al., 2009; Franck et al., 2011; Matthews et al., 2005, 2007;), we manipulated the relative frequency of verbs in training sessions with two age groups (3 and 4-year-old children). Results supported earlier findings with regards to frequency: children produced atypical word orders significantly more often with infrequent verbs than with frequent verbs. The findings from the present study support probabilistic learning models which allow higher levels of flexibility and, in turn, oppose hypotheses that defend early access to advanced grammatical knowledge.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 11 Medical and Health Sciences; 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences; 20 Language, Communication and Culture; Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0305000919000448
Page Range: 1249-1259
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2019 09:02
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 03:25
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/24741

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