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An approach to the study of determiners in early language development

Garton, A.F. (1983) An approach to the study of determiners in early language development. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 12 (5). pp. 513-525.

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The definite and indefinite articles (the and a) are usually regarded as being a contrastive system. Either the or a is required with a noun, depending on certain semantic and pragmatic considerations. Developmental research views the child as progressively attaining appropriate (adult) use of the two forms. However, both historical and recent developmental evidence indicates that the articles should be incorporated into a total system of determination, including both verbal and nonverbal determiners. A single experiment is described to show 3-year-old children's use of the articles (and other determiners). Several functions of the articles within the two conditions of the experimental context were elicited, as were other verbal (e.g., this, that) and nonverbal (e.g., a point) determiners. It is argued that instead of regarding the child's use of the articles as correct or incorrect, we should look at the form and function of those determiners used and omitted and consider why they are elicited.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Inquiry
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright: © 1983 Plenum Publishing Corporation.
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