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Where are the cookies? Three-year-olds use number-marked verbs to anticipate upcoming nouns

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Title: Where are the cookies? Three-year-olds use number-marked verbs to anticipate upcoming nouns
Author(s): Lukyanenko, Cynthia
Advisor(s): Fisher, Cynthia
Department / Program: Psychology
Discipline: Psychology
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.A.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): language acquisition comprehension sentence processing prediction subject-verb agreement number agreement eye-movements morphological development morphosyntax
Abstract: This study examines the development of incremental parsing processes in language comprehension by testing 3-year-olds' use of a particular morphosyntactic dependency: number agreement between a subject and verb in English. Using a looking-while-listening paradigm, we show not only that children make use of this dependency during online comprehension, but also that children use it predictively to anticipate the number features of an upcoming noun. Children were both faster and more likely to switch gaze away from a mismatching distractor picture when they heard an informative agreeing verb (is/are). This is both one of the earliest demonstrations that children are able to use verb agreement alone as a cue to the semantic number of the subject, and one of the first pieces of evidence that children engage in predictive processing of language.
Issue Date: 2011-05-25
Rights Information: copyright 2011 Cynthia Lukyanenko
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-25
Date Deposited: 2011-05

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