The Acquisition of Auxiliary Syntax: A Longitudinal Elicitation Study. Part 2: The Modals and Auxiliary DO PurposeThe study of auxiliary acquisition is central to work on language development and has attracted theoretical work from both nativist and constructivist approaches. This study is part of a 2-part companion set that represents a unique attempt to trace the development of auxiliary syntax by using a longitudinal elicitation methodology. ... Article
Article  |   December 01, 2009
The Acquisition of Auxiliary Syntax: A Longitudinal Elicitation Study. Part 2: The Modals and Auxiliary DO
 
Author Notes
  • Contact author: Caroline F. Rowland, University of Liverpool, School of Psychology, Liverpool L69 7ZA, United Kingdom. E-mail: crowland@liverpool.ac.uk.
Article Information
Development / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language
Article   |   December 01, 2009
The Acquisition of Auxiliary Syntax: A Longitudinal Elicitation Study. Part 2: The Modals and Auxiliary DO
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2009, Vol. 52, 1471-1492. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0037a)
History: Received February 13, 2008 , Revised October 3, 2008 , Accepted April 1, 2009
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2009, Vol. 52, 1471-1492. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0037a)
History: Received February 13, 2008; Revised October 3, 2008; Accepted April 1, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 7

PurposeThe study of auxiliary acquisition is central to work on language development and has attracted theoretical work from both nativist and constructivist approaches. This study is part of a 2-part companion set that represents a unique attempt to trace the development of auxiliary syntax by using a longitudinal elicitation methodology. The aim of the research described in this part is to track the development of modal auxiliaries and auxiliary DO in questions and declaratives to provide a more complete picture of the development of the auxiliary system in English-speaking children.

MethodTwelve English-speaking children participated in 2 tasks designed to elicit auxiliaries CAN, WILL, and DOES in declaratives and yes/no questions. They completed each task 6 times in total between the ages of 2;10 (years;months) and 3;6.

ResultsThe children’s levels of correct use of the target auxiliaries differed in complex ways according to auxiliary, polarity, and sentence structure, and these relations changed over development. An analysis of the children’s errors also revealed complex interactions between these factors.

ConclusionsThese data cannot be explained in full by existing theories of auxiliary acquisition. Researchers working within both generativist and constructivist frameworks need to develop more detailed theories of acquisition that predict the pattern of acquisition observed.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by Economic and Social Research Council Grant RES-000-23-0673. A great deal of thanks is due to Jess Butcher and Debbie Anderson, who carried out the extensive data collection for this study. We also thank the parents and children who gave up their time to take part in this research.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access