01/01/2015 Medicine Psychology
DOI: 10.1017/S0305000913000421 SemanticScholar ID: 25275221 MAG: 2148029055

Word order, referential expression, and case cues to the acquisition of transitive sentences in Italian*

Publication Summary

ABSTRACT In Study 1 we analyzed Italian child-directed-speech (CDS) and selected the three most frequent active transitive sentence frames used with overt subjects. In Study 2 we experimentally investigated how Italian-speaking children aged 2;6, 3;6, and 4;6 comprehended these orders with novel verbs when the cues of animacy, gender, and subject–verb agreement were neutralized. For each trial, children chose between two videos (e.g., horse acting on cat versus cat acting on horse), both involving the same action. The children aged 2;6 comprehended S + object-pronoun + V (soprov) significantly better than S + V + object-noun (svonoun). We explain this in terms of cue collaboration between a low cost cue (case) and the firstargument = agent cue which we found to be reliable 76% of the time. The most difficult word order for all age groups was the object-pronoun + V + S (oprovs). We ascribe this difficulty to cue conflict between the two most frequent transitive frames found in CDS, namely V + object-noun and object-pronoun + V.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Ludovica Serratrice

Prof. Ludovica Serratrice

Reading University - Professor of multilingualism

Share this

Next publication

2009 Psychology

The Dynamics of Category Conjunctions

R. Hutter, R. Crisp, G. Humphreys, Gillian. M. Waters + 1 more