Children's syntactic-priming magnitude: lexical factors and participant characteristics

Foltz, A. and Thiele, K. and Kahsnitz, D. and Stenneken, P. (2014) Children's syntactic-priming magnitude: lexical factors and participant characteristics. Journal of Child Language, 42 (4). pp. 932-945. DOI: 10.1017/S0305000914000488

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This study examines whether lexical repetition, syntactic skills, and working memory (WM) affect children's syntactic-priming behavior, i.e. their tendency to adopt previously encountered syntactic structures. Children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and typically developing (TD) children were primed with prenominal (e.g. the yellow cup) or relative clause (RC; e.g. the cup that is yellow) structures with or without lexical overlap and performed additional tests of productive syntactic skills and WM capacity. Results revealed a reliable syntactic-priming effect without lexical boost in both groups: SLI and TD children produced more RCs following RC primes than following prenominal primes. Grammaticality requirements influenced RC productions in that SLI children produced fewer grammatical RCs than TD children. Of the additional measures, WM positively affected how frequently children produced dispreferred RC structures, but productive syntactic skills had no effect. The results support an implicit-learning account of syntactic priming and emphasize the importance of WM in syntactic priming tasks

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Research Publications
Departments: College of Arts and Humanities > School of Linguistics and English Language
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2015 02:11
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2015 02:40
ISSN: 1469-7602
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/5536
Identification Number: DOI: 10.1017/S0305000914000488
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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