English-Speaking Children's Comprehension of Relative Clauses: Evidence for General-Cognitive and Language-Specific Constraints on Development

Kidd, Evan; Bavin, Edith L.
November 2002
Journal of Psycholinguistic Research;Nov2002, Vol. 31 Issue 6, p599
Academic Journal
Children must possess some ability to process input in a meaningful manner to acquire language. The present study reports on data from an experiment investigating 3- to 5-year-old English-speaking children's understanding of restrictive relative clauses manipulated for embeddedness and focus. The results of the study showed that English-speaking children acquire right-branching before center-embedded structures. Comparisons made with data from Portuguese-speaking children suggest general-cognitive and language-specific constraints on development, and with respect to English, a “clause expansion” approach to processing in development.


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