Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2017 Fund Drive.

Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

Subject: Passive Voice and Children
Question: How old are children when they begin to comprehend passive verbs? Specifically, when are they able to correctly parse the relation between actors and verbs so that, given the sentence ''The lion was being chased by the tiger,'' they know that the tiger was doing the chasing?
Reply: As Professor Fischer points out, passive constructions vary quite a lot. This is true both within and across languages, which impacts age of acquisition including in child simultaneous multilingualism. These two books have some discussion on variation and age of acquisition of passives in (mostly monolingual) child English: Eve V Clark, _First Language Acquisition_ _The Blackwell Handbook of Language Development_ Madalena
Reply From: Madalena Cruz-Ferreira      click here to access email
Date: 09-Apr-2014
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Passive Voice and Children    Susan D Fischer     (06-Apr-2014)
  2. Re: Passive Voice and Children    James L Fidelholtz     (24-Jun-2014)

Back to Most Recent Questions