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Comprehension of infrequent subject-verb agreement forms: Evidence from French-learning children

Two comprehension experiments were conducted to investigate whether young French-learning children are able to use a single number cue in subject-verb agreement contexts and match a visually dynamic scene with a corresponding verbal stimulus. Results from both preferential looking and pointing demonstrated significant comprehension in 30-month-olds with no preference for either singular or plural. These results challenge previous claims made on the basis of English and Spanish that comprehension of subject-verb agreement expressed as a bound morpheme is late, around 5 years of age (Johnson, de Villiers, & Seymour, 2005; Pérez-Leroux, 2005). Properties of the adult input were also analyzed. Possible implications for theories of syntactic acquisition are discussed.



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