|dc.description.abstract||This dissertation uses children’s acquisition of adjunct control as a case study
to investigate grammatical and performance accounts of language acquisition. In
previous research, children have consistently exhibited non-adultlike behavior for
sentences with adjunct control. To explain children’s behavior, several different
grammatical accounts have been proposed, but evidence for these accounts has been
inconclusive. In this dissertation, I take two approaches to account for children’s errors.
First, I spell out the predictions of previous grammatical accounts, and test these
predictions after accounting for some methodological concerns that might have
influenced children’s behavior in previous studies. While I reproduce the non-adultlike
behavior observed in previous studies, the predictions of previous grammatical
accounts are not borne out, suggesting that extragrammatical factors are needed to
explain children’s behavior.
Next, I consider the role of two different types of extragrammatical factors in
predicting children’s non-adultlike behavior. With a new task designed to address the
task demands in previous studies, children exhibit significantly higher accuracy than
with previous tasks. This suggests that children’s behavior has been influenced by task-
specific processing factors. In addition to the task, I also test the predictions of a
similarity-based interference account, which links children’s errors to the same
memory mechanisms involved in sentence processing difficulties observed in adults.
These predictions are borne out, supporting a more continuous developmental
trajectory as children’s processing mechanisms become more resistant to interference.
Finally, I consider how children’s errors might influence their acquisition of
adjunct control, given the distribution in the linguistic input. I discuss the results of a
corpus analysis, including the possibility that adjunct control could be learned from the
input. The kinds of information that could be useful to a learner become much more
limited, however, after considering the processing limitations that would interfere with
the representations available to the learner.||en_US
|dc.title||The acquisition of adjunct control: grammar and processing||en_US
|dc.contributor.publisher||Digital Repository at the University of Maryland||en_US
|dc.contributor.publisher||University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)||en_US