Two Year Old Children Understand Complex Grammar
[Source: Medical Xpress]
Psychologists at the University of Liverpool have found that children as young as two years old have an understanding of complex grammar even before they have learned to speak in full sentences.
Researchers at the University’s Child Language Study Centre showed children, aged two, sentences containing made-up verbs, such as ‘the rabbit is glorping the duck’, and asked them to match the sentence with a cartoon picture. They found that even the youngest two-year-old could identify the correct image with the correct sentence, more often than would be expected by chance.
The study suggests that infants know more about language structure than they can actually articulate, and at a much earlier age than previously thought. The work also shows that children may use the structure of sentences to understand new words, which may help explain the speed at which infants acquire speech.
Dr Caroline Rowland, from the University’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, said: “When acquiring a language, children must learn not only the meaning of words but also how to combine words to convey meaning. Most two year olds rarely combine more than two words together. They may say ‘more juice’ or ‘no hat’, but don’t know how to form full sentences yet.
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