Young children's use of prosody in sentence parsing.
Korean children's ability to use prosodic phrasing in sentence comprehension was studied using two types of ambiguity. First, we examined a word-segmentation ambiguity in which placement of the phrasal boundary leads to different interpretations of a sentence. Next, we examined a syntactic ambiguity in which the same words were differently grouped into syntactic phrases by prosodic demarcation. Children aged 3 or 4 years showed that they could use prosodic information to segment utterances and to derive the meaning of ambiguous sentences when the sentences only contained a word-segmentation ambiguity. However, even 5- to 6-year-old children were not able to reliably resolve the second type of ambiguity, an ambiguity of phrasal grouping, by using prosodic information. The results demonstrate that children's difficulties in dealing with structural ambiguity are not due to their inability to use prosodic information.
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