Miniature Language System Acquisition by Children with Different Learning Proficiencies Sixteen children, aged 7:8 to 9:10, learned two miniature languages while playing a communication game. Both languages expressed Action (Agent, Patient) meanings and incorporated a Patient suffix. They differed in word order: VSO (Language I) versus SOV (Language II). Children found the SOV language easier; they also made more suffix ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1990
Miniature Language System Acquisition by Children with Different Learning Proficiencies
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Judith Johnston
    Indiana University
  • Mary Blatchley
    Indiana University
  • Gloria Streit Olness
    Indiana University
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to Judith Johnston, School of Audiology & Speech Sciences, University of British Columbia, 5804 Fairview Crescent, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1W5.
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1990
Miniature Language System Acquisition by Children with Different Learning Proficiencies
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1990, Vol. 33, 335-342. doi:10.1044/jshr.3302.335
History: Received October 27, 1988 , Accepted January 10, 1990
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1990, Vol. 33, 335-342. doi:10.1044/jshr.3302.335
History: Received October 27, 1988; Accepted January 10, 1990

Sixteen children, aged 7:8 to 9:10, learned two miniature languages while playing a communication game. Both languages expressed Action (Agent, Patient) meanings and incorporated a Patient suffix. They differed in word order: VSO (Language I) versus SOV (Language II). Children found the SOV language easier; they also made more suffix errors and fewer word order errors in this language. The results suggest that the perceptual salience of an utterance-final particle may hinder grammatical analysis, at least if capacity limits and perseverative learning strategies intervene.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors thank the teachers and children at University Elementary School and Light and Life Day Care for their support and participation. We also thank Patricia Duncan for thoughtful data reduction, Robin Clerman and Melinda Wesling for expert language instruction, and Elizabeth Bates and Brian MacWhinney for their comments on an earlier draft.
Portions of this research were supported by a grant from the Spencer Foundation to Indiana University and the first author.
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