Ben Ambridge

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This study investigated different accounts of children's acquisition of non-subject wh-questions. Questions using each of 4 wh-words (what, who, how and why), and 3 auxiliaries (BE, DO and CAN) in 3sg and 3pl form were elicited from 28 children aged 3;6-4;6. Rates of noninversion error (Who she is hitting?) were found not to differ by wh-word, auxiliary or(More)
According to Crain and Nakayama (1987), when forming complex yes/no questions, children do not make errors such as Is the boy who smoking is crazy? because they have innate knowledge of structure dependence and so will not move the auxiliary from the relative clause. However, simple recurrent networks are also able to avoid such errors, on the basis of(More)
Participants (aged 5-6 yrs, 9-10 yrs and adults) rated (using a five-point scale) grammatical (intransitive) and overgeneralized (transitive causative)(1) uses of a high frequency, low frequency and novel intransitive verb from each of three semantic classes [Pinker, S. (1989a). Learnability and cognition: The acquisition of argument structure. Cambridge,(More)
Structural priming paradigms have been influential in shaping theories of adult sentence processing and theories of syntactic development. However, until recently there have been few attempts to provide an integrated account that explains both adult and developmental data. The aim of the present paper was to begin the process of integration by taking a(More)
The present study investigated how children learn that some verbs may appear in the figure-locative but not the ground-locative construction (e.g., Lisa poured water into the cup; *Lisa poured the cup with water), with some showing the opposite pattern (e.g., *Bart filled water into the cup; Bart filled the cup with water), and others appearing in both(More)
UNLABELLED This review investigates empirical evidence for different theoretical proposals regarding the retreat from overgeneralization errors in three domains: word learning (e.g., *doggie to refer to all animals), morphology [e.g., *spyer, *cooker (one who spies/cooks), *unhate, *unsqueeze, *sitted; *drawed], and verb argument structure [e.g., *Don't(More)
A paradox at the heart of language acquisition research is that, to achieve adult-like competence, children must acquire the ability to generalize verbs into non-attested structures, while avoiding utterances that are deemed ungrammatical by native speakers. For example, children must learn that, to denote the reversal of an action, un- can be added to many(More)
A central question in language acquisition is how children build linguistic representations that allow them to generalize verbs from one construction to another (e.g., The boy gave a present to the girl → The boy gave the girl a present), whilst appropriately constraining those generalizations to avoid non-adultlike errors (e.g., I said no to her → *I said(More)
Previous studies have shown that children retreat from argument-structure overgeneralization errors (e.g., *Don't giggle me) by inferring that frequently encountered verbs are unlikely to be grammatical in unattested constructions, and by making use of syntax-semantics correspondences (e.g., verbs denoting internally caused actions such as giggling cannot(More)
This review article presents evidence for the claim that frequency effects are pervasive in children's first language acquisition, and hence constitute a phenomenon that any successful account must explain. The article is organized around four key domains of research: children's acquisition of single words, inflectional morphology, simple syntactic(More)