Training 2;6-year-olds to produce the transitive construction: the role of frequency, semantic similarity and shared syntactic distribution.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Childers and Tomasello (2001) found that training 2 1/2-year-olds on the English transitive construction greatly improves their performance on a post-test in which they must use novel verbs in that construction. In the current study, we replicated Childers and Tomasello's finding, but using a much lower frequency of transitive verbs and models in training. We also used novel verbs that were of a different semantic class to our training verbs, demonstrating that semantic homogeneity is not crucial for generalization. We also replicated the finding that 4-year-olds are significantly more productive than 2 1/2-year-olds with the transitive construction, with the new finding that this is also true for verbs of emission. In addition, 'shared syntactic distribution' of novel verb and training verbs was found to have no observable effect on the number of 2 1/2-year-olds who were productive in the post-test.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Abbot-Smith, K; Lieven, E; Tomasello, M

Published Date

  • February 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 48 - 55

PubMed ID

  • 15323118

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1467-7687

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1363-755X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2004.00322.x


  • eng