Error patterns in young German children's wh-questions.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

In this article we report two studies: a detailed longitudinal analysis of errors in wh-questions from six German-learning children (age 2 ; 0-3 ; 0) and an analysis of the prosodic characteristics of wh-questions in German child-directed speech. The results of the first study demonstrate that German-learning children frequently omit the initial wh-word. A lexical analysis of wh-less questions revealed that children are more likely to omit the wh-word was ('what') than other wh-words (e.g. wo 'where'). In the second study, we performed an acoustic analysis of sixty wh-questions that one mother produced during her child's third year of life. The results show that the wh-word was is much less likely to be accented than the wh-word wo, indicating a relationship between children's omission of wh-words and the stress patterns associated with wh-questions. The findings are discussed in the light of discourse-pragmatic and metrical accounts of omission errors.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Schmerse, D; Lieven, E; Tomasello, M

Published Date

  • June 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 40 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 656 - 671

PubMed ID

  • 22631447

Pubmed Central ID

  • 22631447

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-7602

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0305-0009

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/s0305000912000104

Language

  • eng