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Share Paper 3400

Do You Really Mean It? Linking Lexical Semantic Profiles and the Age of Acquisition for the English Passive
Emma Nguyen and Lisa Pearl
288-295 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


English children are observed to be delayed in their understanding of the passive. While some approaches suggest this is due to either a general grammatical deficiency or verb frequency in children's input, several studies have noted that performance depends on the verb's lexical semantics. We conducted both a meta-analysis of experimental studies assessing the age of acquisition for the passive use of English verbs and a corpus analysis of English children's input. We find a striking correlation between the lexical semantic profile of verbs and the demonstrated age of acquisition for their passive usage by English children, with no relationship to individual verb frequency.

Published in

Proceedings of the 35th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Wm. G. Bennett, Lindsay Hracs, and Dennis Ryan Storoshenko
Table of contents
Printed edition: $395.00