General and Specific Effects of Lexicon in Grammar: Determiner and Object Pronoun Omissions in Child Spanish PurposeThis study explores the hypothesis that vocabulary growth can have 2 types of effects in morphosyntactic development. One is a general effect, where vocabulary growth globally determines utterance complexity, defined in terms of sentence length and rates of subordination. There are also specific effects, where vocabulary size has a selective ... Article
Article  |   April 01, 2012
General and Specific Effects of Lexicon in Grammar: Determiner and Object Pronoun Omissions in Child Spanish
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux
    University of Toronto, Canada
  • Anny Patricia Castilla-Earls
    SUNY Fredonia
  • Jerry Brunner
    University of Toronto, Canada
  • Correspondence to Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux: at.perez.leroux@utoronto.ca
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Lisa Bedore
    Associate Editor: Lisa Bedore×
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language
Article   |   April 01, 2012
General and Specific Effects of Lexicon in Grammar: Determiner and Object Pronoun Omissions in Child Spanish
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2012, Vol. 55, 313-327. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0004)
History: Received June 6, 2010 , Revised June 15, 2010 , Accepted July 25, 2011
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2012, Vol. 55, 313-327. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0004)
History: Received June 6, 2010; Revised June 15, 2010; Accepted July 25, 2011
Web of Science® Times Cited: 4

PurposeThis study explores the hypothesis that vocabulary growth can have 2 types of effects in morphosyntactic development. One is a general effect, where vocabulary growth globally determines utterance complexity, defined in terms of sentence length and rates of subordination. There are also specific effects, where vocabulary size has a selective impact on the acquisition of grammatical markers and where lexicon is a prerequisite for typological convergence. The study compares the differential effects of vocabulary in 2 measures of morphosyntactic development: omissions of object clitic pronouns and definite articles.

MethodCorrelation analysis and structural equation models were used to analyze the statistical effects of measures of vocabulary and grammatical development in 110 Spanish-speaking monolingual children ages 3–5 years.

ResultsThe data revealed general effects of vocabulary growth on utterance length and subordination rates and on the use of definite determiners and object pronouns. Specific effects of vocabulary growth were identified for object pronouns but not for determiners.

ConclusionsThe study found support for a 2-dimensional model separating lexicon and syntax and for 2 types of relationships. Vocabulary development generally determines sentence complexity and further evidence for specific effects in object pronoun use.

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