Development of Phrase Structure Rules Involved in Tag Questions Elicited from Children This study demonstrated another way of measuring increasing precision in generating linguistic structure by children who are beyond the age for primary language acquistion. Tag questions were elicited from normal children ranging in age from five to 11 years. Their errors in generating tag questions established that there is a ... Research Article
Research Article  |   September 01, 1973
Development of Phrase Structure Rules Involved in Tag Questions Elicited from Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Carl O. McGrath
    Children’s Orthopedic Hospital and Medical Center, Seattle, Washington
  • LuVern H. Kunze
    Child Development and Mental Retardation Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   September 01, 1973
Development of Phrase Structure Rules Involved in Tag Questions Elicited from Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1973, Vol. 16, 498-512. doi:10.1044/jshr.1603.498
History: Received November 20, 1972 , Accepted June 5, 1973
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1973, Vol. 16, 498-512. doi:10.1044/jshr.1603.498
History: Received November 20, 1972; Accepted June 5, 1973

This study demonstrated another way of measuring increasing precision in generating linguistic structure by children who are beyond the age for primary language acquistion. Tag questions were elicited from normal children ranging in age from five to 11 years. Their errors in generating tag questions established that there is a definite hierarchy of difficulty involved in the acquisition of the four linguistic operations which can account for tag question formation. These operations, from most to least difficult, are (1) addition or deletion of negation, (2) auxiliary verb selection, (3) pronoun selection, and (4) inversion of the pronoun and the auxiliary verb. This hierarchy remains constant from five through 11 years of age. Evidence is presented that younger children tend to abstract alternate phrase structure rules which are less complex (relative to the number of operations required) than the rules which can account for spontaneously generated tag questions.

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