The emergence of present perfect verb forms: Semantic influences on selective imitation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study investigates forms and functions of the perfect in 22 preschool children. Children retold and re-enacted two-sentence stories which modelled the perfect. Although the perfect appeared to be emerging in imitative speech, including certain ungrammatical forms, children varied in the extent to which they used it and appreciated its meaning of current relevance. Three factors were found to influence children's selective imitation and paraphrasing of the perfect: form of the verb (present perfect versus perfect progressive), semantic sense of the perfect, and duration of the lexical verb. Children's performance demonstrates the need to consider not only the developmental frequency of advanced, optional verb forms but the generality of their use and their relation to the child's lexicon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-352
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Child Language
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Psychology(all)

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