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Academic Paper


Title: The emergence of Dutch connectives; how cumulative cognitive complexity explains the order of acquisition
Author: Jacqueline Evers-Vermeul
Institution: Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS
Author: Ted Sanders
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS
Linguistic Field: Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: Dutch
Abstract: Before they are three years old, most children have started to build coherent discourse. This article focuses on one important linguistic device children have to learn: connectives. The main questions are: Do connectives emerge in a fixed order? And if so, how can this order be explained? In line with Bloom et al. we propose to explain similarities in the development in terms of cumulative cognitive complexity: complex relations are acquired later than simple ones. Following a cognitive approach to coherence relations, we expect positive relations to be acquired before negatives and additives before temporals and causals. We develop a multidimensional approach to the acquisition process in order to account for the variation among children. Hypotheses were tested by analyzing data from children aged 1 ; 5–5 ; 6 on the emergence of Dutch connectives. The multidimensional approach of cognitive complexity describes both the uniformity and the diversity in the developmental sequences of Dutch-speaking and English-speaking children.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 36, Issue 4.

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