Facilitating children's syntax acquisition

Keith E. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


Investigated how adults assist children's acquisition of new syntactic forms. In this 2-mo study, when 12 21/2-yr-olds produced sentences, adults gave replies designed to speed acquisition of particular kinds of sentence structures that were lacking before intervention. Children received intervention that was selectively directed toward acquisition either of question forms or of verb forms. The impact of intervention also was selective. Ss who encountered verb intervention sessions acquired new forms of questions. This evidence appears to provide the 1st demonstration that adults' verbal interventions with children who are learning a first language can lead the children to acquire particular syntactic forms that they lacked before intervention. (18 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-107
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 1977

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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